From the latest issue of “Outdoor Life“, Captain Johnathan Hillstrand of the F/V Timebandit speaks a bit on being a Bering sea crabber…
CAPT. JOHNATHAN HILLSTRAND
COMMERCIAL FISHERMANYou want high-paying danger? Work a Bering Sea crab boat.“There’s like a ninety-nine percent injury rate,” says Captain Johnathan Hillstrand, 45. “We’ve got a guy onboard who already broke an ankle. I hurt my arm really bad. There’s so many ways to get hurt out here. A lot of ways to die, too.”Based out of Dutch Harbor, Alaska, on the Aleutian Islands, Hillstrand captains the Time Bandit, a 115-foot crab boat that has a crew of six and was featured on the TV show Deadliest Catch. They work in any condition-roaring seas, wicked winds, snow squalls-to haul up and empty crab pots, steel cages about the size of a collapsible camper that, when full of squirming king crabs, can top 1,000 pounds. It’s treacherous work. But on a good boat, a crew member can make $20,000-a month.
Broken bones? Real common.
“We’ve lost fingers, too,” Hillstrand says. “But nothing big. No broken backs, anything like that.”