‘Deadliest Catch’: Here’s the ‘Worst’ Mistake Captains Make According to Keith Colburn

by Amy Myers
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(Photo by Rommel Demano/Getty Images)

Even though the show is called Deadliest Catch, the captains and stars of the show take extensive measures to keep the situations on the sea from turning fatal.

Of course, some circumstances, like freak storms, are out of their control. But according to the captain of The Wizard, Keith Colburn, most of the time, emergency situations are the result of one major oversight.

“There are so many mistakes, but the worst is not preparing for a worst-case scenario, be it anything from bad fishing to mechanical failures,” Colburn explained to Boating Magazine. “If you don’t have contingency plans, things can get tragic. Boaters can apply this by having a float plan so someone knows where you are.”

And the measures that the Deadliest Catch captains take on the docks are just as important on the water. While at Dutch Harbor, Colburn makes sure to go through his list of safety procedures before casting off.

“Also, make sure you have a safety talk before you depart to point out safety gear, fire extinguishers, operating basics, and how to use the electronics. What happens if the captain hits his head? The crew can’t respond if they don’t where the safety gear is located.”

Colburn knows that he can’t rely on the fact that he’ll always be able to lead the crew out of difficult situations. So, he ensures that every deckhand is just as knowledgeable as him about safety. After all, a chain’s only as strong as its weakest link.

Which Safety Device Does the ‘Deadliest Catch’ Think Is Most Important?

While the Deadliest Catch stars often have several fail-safes on board in case of emergencies, there’s one component that Colburn will always prioritize whenever someone new steps onto The Wizard.

“I am also a huge advocate for wearing life jackets,” he explained. “Ask if everyone knows how to swim. If not, make sure they wear a life jacket. ‘Safety First’ is not just a billboard. It’s a way of life, and it inspires confidence in the skipper.”

Although it’s not always obvious on the show, the Deadliest Catch crews don’t take safety lightly. Often, it’s not until the stars experience some sort of injury or dangerous situation that we see their protocols in action. Fortunately, the crews are almost always prepared to take action or shut down operations, and that’s likely because of how captains like Colburn prepare their employees.

Take, for instance, the bizarre week in which several Deadliest Catch vessels saw detrimental injuries that took out several crucial deckhands. In each scenario, the crews knew exactly what they needed to do in order to prevent dangerous situations from turning deadly. Sometimes, the injury required some help from a first aid kit and much-needed R&R. But other times, the crews had only seconds to shut down the appropriate machinery before someone lost an appendage.

Who would’ve thought that the safest component on Deadliest Catch would be the catch themselves?

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