‘Wicked Tuna’: The Meaning Behind the Name of Dave Marciano’s Boat ‘Hard Merchandise’

by Taylor Cunningham
(Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

The name of Dave Marciano’s boat on Wicked Tuna has two meanings. One has to do with fishing, and the other is sort of a family secret.

The fishing boats on Wicked Tuna are the captains’ livelihoods. So when they buy their vessels, they put a lot of thought into the names. And when Dave Marciano named his boat, he came up with something that represents two of the most important things in his life—his career and his daughter.

During a 2016 interview with Points East, the captain spilled the beans about Hard Merchandise and revealed that the name has “a double meaning.”

The first meaning is the more obvious of the two. Marciano catches hard merchandise on the job, so tuna became a namesake.

“The fish I always sell at the auctions are hard, firm, and fresh,” he shared. “That’s what the buyers are looking for, the hard merchandise, and we have it – the good stuff that fetches the highest prices.”

The other meaning represents a shared interest he has with his daughter.

“The second reason is kind of a hidden or personal meaning – my daughter Angelica and I are into sci-fi and “Star Wars” books and movies: Hard Merchandise is something Star Wars nerds and book fans who have read the series will understand.”

‘Wicked Tuna’: Does Captain Dave Marciano Actually Have Issues with Other Captains?

Dave Marciano isn’t on Wicked Tuna to make friends. He’s there to make money, and that’s the “bottom line.”

During an interview with Boston Magazine, Marciano talked about the apparent rivalries between the captains of Wicked Tuna. And he admitted that those rivalries aren’t staged. “They’re real.”

“We kind of get along on shore,” he said. “But the bottom line is: it’s all about money.”

Because so much money is on the line, Marciano is straight business when he’s doing his job. His family’s livelihood depends on it.

“Fishing is my sole source of income for my family,” he said. “That’s how I put my daughters through school and my son. When you get out there, we’re talking fish that could be anywhere from $10,000 to as much as $20,000, for one fish.

So Dave Marciano can’t help but tap into his competitive side while filming episodes.

“When you’re talkin’ that much money, yeah, we seem to get along fine on shore, but when you get out there, and there’s that kind of paycheck involved, the elbows go up,” Marciano said. “It’s human nature.”

No other captain has been on Wicked Tuna as long as Marciano. He has been with the series since its inception in 2012. And during his time on-screen, he’s proven himself a worthy fisherman by racking up one overall win and three second-place finishes.