Deadliest Catch fans know that crews and captains aboard the fishing vessels put their lives at risk every time they set to the rough, turbulent waters of the Bering Sea off the coast of Alaska. Being followed by TV crews can't make their jobs any easier, but somehow the captains featured on the Discovery Channel series have stolen hearts across America.
Whether fighting monster waves, coming head-to-head with arctic hurricanes or simply carrying out lighthearted pranks on one another, fans have reason to adore each captain in his own way.
Read on to see some of Deadliest Catch's most beloved captains among fans.
Although Captain Phil famously died of a stroke in 2010 at the young age of 53, he remains a favorite among longtime Deadliest Catch viewers. At the time of his death, he had been the captain of the Cornelia Marie for more than 20 years.
Longtime fans of the show will remember that Captain Phil thought he had broken his ribs when he was thrown from his bunk during a 2008 storm and spent several hours coughing up blood. Doctors determined that he had suffered a pulmonary embolism and he wasn't able to fish for almost a year.
Known for his chain-smoking habit, many fans worried about Phil's health during his time on the show.
Fans loved how much Captain Phil adored his sons, Jacob and Josh, who gave a touching statement at the time of his death.
"It is with great sadness that we say goodbye to our dad — Captain Phil Harris. Dad has always been a fighter and continued to be until the end," they said in their statement. "For us and the crew, he was someone who never backed down. We will remember and celebrate that strength. Thanks to everyone for their thoughts and prayers."
While Captain Sig may be a bit difficult to warm up to at first, the Northwestern is in the most capable hands with him. Known for his pearls of wisdom and sense of humor (as well as his "Norwegian Fisherman's Diet of coffee, chocolate and cigarettes), he's one of the best in the business — and one of the longest running. He's been featured on the show as captain of the Northwestern since 2006, just one year after the show began, and is even a technical advisor for the Discovery series.
While viewers have seen him man the Northwestern for over a decade, he's actually been running the vessel full-time since he was 24 years old — almost 30 years. Since then, the boat has never seen a single death and consistently earns an excellent safety record.
Another Deadliest Catch vet, Captain Jake Anderson has been featured on the series since 2007 mainly aboard the fishing vessel Saga. Hired as a greenhorn by Captain Sig on the Northwestern, many fans of the show's hearts ache for Captain Jake, who has faced adversity both on and off camera.
During a season 5 episode, he learned of his sister's unexpected death. Then, in season 6, viewers watched as he learned that his father, Keith Anderson, was mysteriously missing and presumed dead after his truck was found abandoned in rural Washington. In 2012, his father's skeletal remains were found by a hiker about a mile away from where his truck was abandoned.
That same year, Jake Anderson was promoted to deck boss of the Northwestern, obtaining his mate and captain's licenses later that year as well.
A recovering alcoholic, Captain Jake's autobiography, Relapse, delves into his adverse history and became a best seller when it published in 2014.
Not only is Captain Johnathan good to his crew and loyal to his family, together with his brother Andy, he makes one of the world's most dangerous jobs look like a blast. While they're Deadliest Catch veterans, their adventurous and happy-go-lucky attitudes give them the feel of much younger crabbers. Plus, you gotta love Captain Johnathan's pranks.
After Captain Josh Harris stepped away from the Bering Sea last season to take care of his family after the death his grandfather, fans were excited to see him back aboard the Cornelia Marie this season — even though he battled some of the biggest waves the Bering Sea had seen in 150 years, thanks to the recent supermoon event.
“Well I picked one hell of a season to come back to," Harris told PopCulture. "You know, we had this supermoon event and it caused all these massive tides, which in turn meant we had a lot of injuries and a lot of craziness, and it was hard to catch crab and all this random stuff that’s happened this year."
In particular, fans love that Captain Josh brings a bit of levity to his ship. During the season premiere, Captain Josh's "ninjas" expanded an inflatable life raft in the galley of the Saga — only to be pelted by eggs by the Saga crew in return.
Captain Wild Bill can be summed up by his unconventional methods to keep his crew aboard the Summer Bay motivated. He's made quite the impact with viewers, having been on the show since its sixth season in 2010.
A former Navy man, Captain Bill worked in the Bering Sea for 20 years until 2005, when he semi-retired to run sports-fishing tours out of Costa Rica and Mexico. But he couldn't stay away from the drama and danger of the Bering Sea and returned to crab fishing in 2010.
Captain Bill has manned his fair share of ships. On Deadliest Catch, he captained the Kodiak for three seasons, then moved on to Cape Caution before eventually landing on his current vessel, Summer Bay.
Fans can't help but admire his hardy attitude — especially when he fought some of the worst tidal surges resulting in swells as tall as buildings this season. Wild Bill tried to keep the boat from hitting every wave head-on while his crew pulled up crab pots in the six seconds in between ice-cold waves.