With all the stress, tension, and drama that happens on the Deadliest Catch, you might find yourself wondering what makes those crew members stick around. Well, if we’re being real, crab fishing can take tons of exertion - both physically and mentally. And the pay you get will be directly proportional to the effort you put in.
But what if you’re being broadcast to a worldwide audience all at the same time? It’s no secret that the captain of a crab boat makes the biggest bucks. But how much do captains on Deadliest Catch make, considering the fact that they’re also being paid for their TV appearance? The numbers just might make you consider a career change.
The Average Salary of a Deadliest Catch Captain
There are lots of different streams on income for a Deadliest Catch captain. So aside from what they catch, they stand the chance to earn way more especially if they play their cards right and increase in popularity.
How Much Do They Make by Crab Fishing?
For starters, let's talk about the haul. Of course, they’re going to make money off of the crab they bring in. According to reports, crab boat captains earn a percentage of the crab they bring in. With greenhorns (the lowest ranking crew member on a crab boat) making 8% of the total earnings, captains can make up to four or five times that.
That said, a crab boat captain can make upwards of $200,000 during a single crab fishing season. But of course, the money they make will depend on how well they can lead their fishing boat and their crew to maximize the haul they bring back.
What Do They Earn for TV Appearances?
But what about the captains on Deadliest Catch? It’s not entirely clear how much they make, and sometimes, it even depends on their popularity on the show. But some reports claim that Deadliest Catch captains can earn up to $50,000 per episode.
Considering the fact that a season of Deadliest Catch can have as many as 20 episodes, it’s clear to see that these guys get paid more than enough for their time and hard work.
Other Sources of Income
Aside from their TV appearances and the money they make off of their haul, Deadliest Catch cast members have also gained enough popularity to land endorsement deals. These deals have been known to pay out millions in a single lump sum.
Then finally, there are their personal projects. For instance, Andy and Jonathan Hillstrand wrote a book about their experiences on a crab boat. The show has also been produced as a video game, which did pay out to crew members for allowing their characters to be generated in game.
Estimated Net Worth of Deadliest Catch Captains
Although they might not be full-on celebrities, the guys on the Deadliest Catch definitely have their fair share of fame and fortune. The most popular captain to have been featured on the show - the late Phil Harris - had a net worth of about $2 million at the time of his death.
Sig Hansen, another well-known captain on the show, has an estimated net worth of $4 million. Keith Colburn on the other hand, has slightly less under his belt at a collective worth of $1.5 million.
Needless to say, these guys are pretty well paid. But if we’re being real, a crab boat fisherman who doesn’t have any other gigs might earn around $200,000 a year by crab fishing alone. The guys who manage to catch more in a single crab fishing season can earn a maximum of $300,000 to $400,000, but that’s typically unheard of.
As for their crew members, they definitely won’t make as much as their captains. However more experienced deckhands and engineers can easily make several hundreds of thousands of dollars crab fishing as well.
For their TV appearances, beginner deckhands can earn up to $15,000 per episode, which definitely isn’t a bad deal. This can increase with time, experience, and popularity, but they’re not likely to be paid as much as the captains on the show.
Time for a Career Change?
Although life on a crab boat might not seem like such a glamorous job, Deadliest Catch makes sure that all of the crew members are well-compensated for their time, effort, and for putting their lives on the line. So how much do captains on Deadliest Catch make? More than enough to keep them living in the lap of luxury off camera, that’s for sure.
*You may also be interested in: How to Get a Job on a Crab Boat and How Do They Count the Crab on Deadliest Catch?
But before you consider changing careers, it’s worth mentioning that plain and simple crab fishermen won’t make as much. But hey, if you think you’re cut out for the job and you feel like you could wiggle your way up to the position of captain, then you might want to consider hanging out at your local crab fishing dock to learn more about the prospects.