‘Deadliest Catch’ Stars Reveal What It Takes to Survive the Bering Sea and You Probably Shouldn’t Sign Up

by Keeli Parkey
(Photo by Daniel Zuchnik/WireImage)

If you have ever been watching an episode of “Deadliest Catch” and thought, “I could do that,” one of the show’s captains has a message for you.

And that message is a simple one, “No, you can’t – unless you have the right qualities.”

One of the brave men of the popular reality television series filmed on the Bering Sea talked about the dangers of their job in a special featurette released in 2014 by Bloomberg Quicktake. This man is Keith Colburn, the captain of the Wizard.

As a reminder of how dangerous the work the stars of “Deadliest Catch” perform can be, the video begins with a reminder. That reminder is that as of 2014, commercial fishing had the second-highest fatality rate of all jobs in the United States.

“There’s something about being on the water working with and against Mother Nature. The teamwork that goes into being on a boat gets your heart pumping,” Colburn explained.

Keith Colburn is known as “The Wizard.” And he has been very successful in his commercial fishing career. In fact, in just one day he once earned $200,000. That payday might make you think that fishing for crab is the career for you. But those who do it say that’s not the case, unless you are brave and resilient enough.

“If I was going to make a list of the qualities I’m looking for in a greenhorn, first of all, you’ve got to have common sense,” Colburn also said. “Someone that’s going to take the time to actually think something through as opposed to just react, because it may be the difference between having five fingers and having three fingers.”

‘Deadliest Catch’ Captain Said a ‘Cool Head’ and ‘Toughness’ Are Necessary to Make It On His Ship

A “cool head” is also a quality “Deadliest Catch” star Keith Colburn is looking for in the people who join his crew.

“You need a guy that’s willing to blow his top, not lose his cool,” Colburn also explained. “In the Bering Sea where you use about nine words total and five of them get bleeped out, so let that roll off your back is a real good character trait.”

Another quality “Deadliest Catch” captain Keith Colburn also said you have to have to survive on the Bering Sea isn’t all that surprising. This quality is toughness.

“They have to be both mentally and physically tough,” he shared. “I’ve seen the biggest, burliest guys basically fold up and fall apart instantly. I’ve seen the wiry, little, scrawny guy that can work his way through the pain and discomfort.”

If you don’t have the qualities this “Deadliest Catch” captain is looking for, chances are you won’t stay long on his boat. In fact, Keith Colburn had a dropout rate of 95 percent as of 2014.

“Everybody will talk a good story on the dock. But once it gets down to game time, all of the things that go into the job will break a guy really quickly,” the captain also said.

You can watch the “Deadliest Catch” captain talk about the dangers of their jobs below.