'Deadliest Catch' Heroes Reveal When They Call off a Rescue Mission

The Deadliest Catch crews are only one misstep away from a life-threatening situation while fishing for crab. And while there have been heartbreaking losses on the Bering Sea over the year, the fishermen always have the United States Coast Guard ready to step in and save the day.

Tuesday, during a brand new Deadliest Catch: Coast Guard Heroes special, the Discovery stars gave credit to the men and women who are called in during the most horrifying and scary moments at sea.

"That's what's most amazing about the Coast Guard," Saga Captain Jake Anderson said. "They come in when all hell breaks loose. That's where they thrive. That's their bread and butter."

But there are times where there's little to do, such as the 2006 loss of the Ocean Challenger, which claimed three lives, and the 2017 loss of the Destination, which killed six.

"The decision to call off a search is never taken lightly, because there's always someone who's lost potentially their loved one," Ret. Captain John W. Pruitt III of the U.S. Coast Guard said. "When it comes to death, you deal with the fact that you've done your best. You put forth everything you could do to try and help that person. If it was your family member in that situation, you'd want someone to do the best they could too."

It doesn't make the threat of an accident at sea any less scary.

Captain of the Brenna A, Sean Dwyer said, "It's a small community, you know, we all know each other. And the guys who are out there working away, you know that they might not come back."

During an exclusive interview with PopCulture in April, Anderson opened up about the lingering feelings he has while dealing with the loss of the Destination and his mentor, Captain Jeff Hathaway.

"It gets scary when you have to pass by that area," he told PopCulture.com exclusively prior to the season premiere, revealing that once-in-a-lifetime bad weather put him about 60 miles east of where the Destination was found. "I was constantly passing it when I had to anchor up, [which] people will see. And when you’re running from weather and you’re around that area, it’s chilling, you know?”

In addition to being an eerie reminder of the Bering Sea's danger, the site was a reminder of the loss of dear friends, including Hathaway.

“The funny thing is that everyone calls me a screamer, but my hero was ‘Hollering Jeff Hathaway,’ who was the captain of the Destination," Anderson told PopCulture. "So it was a big hit for the fleet; it was a big hit for me personally, along with [the loss of] my good friend Larry [O'Grady]."

Anderson continued, "It’s really hard, because Hollering Hathaway … he was the first person to ever offer me a real job as a captain. ... So I miss him dearly and the whole fleet does.”


Deadliest Catch airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET on Discovery.

Photo credit: Discovery