Discovery Channel reality show Deadliest Catch has that name for a reason. The popular reality television series premiered on the Discovery Channel in April 2005. The show follows crab fishermen aboard fishing vessels in the Bering Sea during the Alaskan king crab and snow crab fishing seasons. The show's title is derived from the inherent high risk of injury or death associated with this line of work.
That became all too real with the sinking of the Destination, the Seattle-based crab boat that went down on an early Saturday morning in February 2017. The sinking took the lives of all six of the crew members, including Captain Jeff Hathaway, captain of the Destination.
Captain Jeff Hathaway was lost at sea with the Destination accident.
Captain Jeff Hathaway, along with crew members, were 150 miles from St. George Island Alaska fishing on the F/V Destination, a 98-foot crab boat.
On Feb. 11, the U.S. Coast Guard received signals from an automatic emergency locator beacon. Upon arrival at the scene, the Coast Guard identified the EPIRB belonging to Destination. Debris was recovered including a life ring, buoys, tarps, and an oil sheen was visible on the water.
According to Anchorage Daily News, “Hathaway, 60, was one of the most savvy, experienced skippers of his generation. He nimbly made the transition from a fiercely competitive race for the crab to a new era that began in 2005, when each boat was assigned a share of the total Alaska harvest.”
Captain Jeff Hathaway did not make a mayday call on the Destination.
It was said that the late captain was known for his no-nonsense approach to fishing especially on the Bering Sea. At the time of the sinking, the Destination was fishing for snow crab. It was also reported that he did not make a mayday call to signal that they were in distress.
Some even place the blame on Captain Hathaway for the boat’s demise. The Coast Guard investigative report concluded the boat was overloaded when it left port; the captain set out in freezing spray with a fatigued crew that failed to remove a heavy buildup of ice on the hull and gear, and an open hatch would have allowed rapid flooding. The vessel started to capsize within a matter of minutes, leaving the crew very little time to react, the report said.
Jeff Hathaway was admired by fellow captains on ‘Deadliest Catch.’
According to TVShowsAct, “Although the Destination was not part of the Discovery show, the captain and crew were friends with the captains of the reality show. When the Destination went missing, Outdoors 360 interviewed Northwestern captain Sig Hansen and Captain Keith Colburn of the Wizard. Both men knew Captain Jeff Hathaway well. He was so well respected that Captain Keith said that he would not even put his boat on the show, he was so serious about fishing.”
“They looked up to Captain Jeff. The late captain’s expertise was second to none. Sig even shared that a few years before, Jeff had helped him through a difficult maneuver on the beach, instructing him over the airwaves. Most of all, the captains were reminded just how dangerous their jobs are. Captain Keith admitted that this tragedy was a warning to all. ‘This is a warning to never get complacent — to always be vigilant at sea.'"