The 'Deadliest Catch' Captains Can Make $150,000 in One Season

The captains and crew on 'Deadliest Catch' put themselves in danger for these gigs, but how much can they make from their hauls on show?

Sara Belcher - Author

Jun. 1 2021, Published 8:07 p.m. ET

Captain Keith Colburn 'Deadliest Catch'
Source: Discovery

Working on any of the boats on Deadliest Catch is a strenuous and dangerous job, but being the captain of one of those boats is even harder. In one episode, the crew members of those boats face insane weather conditions while battling other fishing boats to bring home the most crab for the biggest payout — but how worth it is working on those boats? How much do the captains of the Deadliest Catch boats make a season?

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How much do the captains and crew members make in a trip on 'Deadliest Catch'?

While the work is dangerous, the crew members have made it clear that the payout for these trips is often worth it. While there is no set hourly rate for being on board, a six-week trip can bring each of the crew members a payday of tens of thousands of dollars.

"We don't get paid a wage or a salary, we get paid based on what we catch and what we deliver," captain Kenny Ripka told People. "We've had years ... where I've made upwards of $150,000 to $170,000."

The Wizard on 'Deadliest Catch'
Source: Discovery
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Of course, the payout is dependent on how much you bring back, which captain Gary Ripka said can be the problem on some of these trips.

"One mistake can be tens of thousands of dollars, and you can never catch up ... It's a race for the crabs," he told People.

But these payouts from the trip are added to their payment per episode. While there is no official number that has been shared to reveal just how much the cast members are paid, they're reportedly paid tens of thousands per episode.

This means the payout for one fishing trip could easily amount to more money than many people make in a calendar year, depending on the size of their haul. Add to that the amount per episode and it's understandable why so many crew members want to be part of Deadliest Catch, despite the dangers.

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Source: Discovery

Some 'Deadliest Catch' captains claim to have made millions from the gig.

While one season can equate to hundreds of thousands for some captains, others have claimed that their hauls bring in millions. Jake Anderson, a captain of one of the boats on the show, claims that he's made as much as $2 million in days.

“You’ve watched the American Dream unfold through me,” he told FOX in 2018. “There I was, a bum on the street, and now 14 years later … I’m managing a multi-million dollar company.”

“I think I grossed $2.5 million in 11 days,” he said.

Jake isn't even the richest captain on the show. Sig Hansen is reportedly the richest captain, with a net worth of around $3.5 million.

Of course, these paydays don't always make up for some of the horrors the crew has to see, and there are a fair number of cast members of the show who have died on these trips. But for those who know what they're doing, it can be a lucrative gig.

Deadliest Catch airs on Discovery on Tuesdays at 8 p.m. EST.

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