It’s easy to forget just how dangerous the sea can be for those of us not in the commercial fishing industry. The recent disappearance of the F/V Destination is a sad reminder of how easily things can go wrong out on the ocean, even for people who’ve grown up on a boat.
When word began to spread that a crab boat had gone down on the Bering Sea, the community that the “Deadliest Catch” comes from were shocked. These people lost six colleagues that they’ll never be able to see again. Colleagues really doesn’t even begin to properly describe it, the people in this tight-knit community are more like family than anything else.
“You don’t want to give up hope, but the reality is that, an instantaneous capsizing — the survival rates are less than 1 percent,” said Capt. Keith Colburn, one of the stars of the Discovery channel show. “It’s a miracle if someone gets out alive.”
“Deadliest Catch” highlights the different aspects of what the life of a crabber is like. The success, the failure, the danger, they’re all there. But even though we know what they’re going through is real, it’s easy to forget that these are real people in real danger when watching through a screen. It’s grim reminders like this that remind us that it’s all very real.
The Destination was never actually featured on the show, but it was a part of that community nonetheless. After sending out a distress signal early Saturday, it hasn’t been heard from since.
In the blink of an eye, the ships crew – Charles Glenn Jones, Larry O’Grady, Raymond Vincler, Darrik Seibold, Kai Hamik and Jeff Hathaway – vanished without a trace.
“Jeff has been a close friend for the past 23 years. He’s a true leader and not a follower. I’ve learned a lot from him and know for a fact that he is calm under pressure,” Sig Hansen, captain of The Northwestern said. “When the Northwestern hit the beach a few years ago, there was only one boat in the area that had a tow. I was in a state of panic and thought we were done. It was Jeff who walked me through this ordeal on what to do over the radio. I did exactly what he told me and sure enough, the stern came around and we got off the beach. It’s what saved us.”
Despite their experience, the crew had a short window for survival once the ship went down.
“A window of life is 18 or 20 hours — that window of life evaporated very quickly,” Colburn told Fox News. “You’ve got a very good, safety-conscious crew on a really good boat, and something catastrophic happened.”
“This is a warning to never get complacent — to always be vigilant at sea,” he continued. “The grand sea is a very wicked place to work — my heartfelt condolences to the families and the children associated with the boat. We’re going to miss them.”