‘Deadliest Catch’: One Star Had a Career in the Navy

by Maria Hartfield
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Discovery Channel’s Deadliest Catch wouldn’t be the same without characters like Captain “Wild” Bill Wichrowski. The gripping reality series follows the lives of crab fishermen in the Bering Sea. It takes more than just work to go crab fishing, it takes skill.

Deadliest Catch made its debut on the Discovery Channel in 2005. According to the platform, crab fishing is the “deadliest job in the world.” If you’ve seen the show, you know they aren’t lying. After all, facing extreme weather conditions including freezing rain, unforgiving winds, and up to 20-foot tall waves, isn’t exactly for everyone. Not to mention crew members are slinging crab pots upwards of 750-pounds. To put it into perspective, that amount of weight is enough to cost you a limb or even your life.

The long-running series spans a total of 17 seasons and hasn’t been without its fair share of tragic incidents. For example, in 2017 the Deadliest Catch ship F/V Destination sank along with its entire crew on board. Also, the series has claimed several of its cast members’ lives.

It’s for all these reasons and more that crab fishing is only for fishermen with lots of experience, like Captain “Wild” Bill Wichrowski.

Captain ‘Wild’ Bill Wichrowski has extensive fishing experiece

Veteran fisherman Captain “Wild” Bill Wichrowski appears in Season 6 of the reality series. According to his website, the Deadliest Catch star joined the Navy shortly after graduating from high school in 1975. Four years later, he hopped aboard a crabbing boat in Alaska. He quickly became friends with members of the crew.

“They were so full of life and excitement. They also had a pocketful of cash and new cars,” Wichrowski told Military.com in 2020. “I thought to myself, ‘It’s time for all my training, schooling, and background to kick in.’ I landed in Alaska and that was the beginning. That was 41 years ago.”

Since then Wichrowski has gone from working as a greenhorn, or rookie to captain. Except for a short break he took from the precarious profession in 2005 in which he ran sportfishing tours. There’s no doubt that Wichrowski’s experience as a naval engineer and boat electrician has aided him as a crab fisherman. Especially when boats have technical failures when the crew’s out to sea.

Season 17 of Deadliest Catch just wrapped with more drama than ever before thanks to the pandemic. In an interview with Looper, Wichrowski said, “This is probably the most difficult season I’ve ever endured, and I’ve been coming up here since ’78.” He continued saying, “Everything was so difficult, just to get off the ground and get out of town.”

The official synopsis for the reality series’ latest season reads: “Facing a global pandemic, half the fleet is tied up leaving a handful of boats to catch the fleetwide quota or face closure of the fishery. At sea, seven fiercely independent captains must work together to save their way of life and the American dream.”

Outsider.com