It’s impossible to catch a crab without a trap, and these giants weigh about 700 pounds (via HowStuffWorks). Due to its weight, the crab trap must be lifted with a hydraulic crane, guided by the fisherman himself to the platform at the edge of the vessel, and then released into the water. After the set soaking time, the trap is removed.
However, there are many unforeseen factors that can turn a crab trap workday into a disaster. With the rough, swaying seas that are the norm in the Bering Strait, keeping these traps steady is next to impossible. The trap can easily slide across the deck and crush anyone in its path. In the 18th season, episode 2 of “Deadly Catch” (“Crushed at Sea”), Francis Katongan, sailor on Patrick Lee, was pinned and crushed by a potleading to an emergency rescue of the helicopter.
According to NBC News, another hazard associated with crab traps is getting caught on the rope attached to the food trap. When a 700-pound trap falls into the water, the rope comes off with it, and the risk of it wrapping around a fisherman’s leg could mean a one-way ticket to the bottom of the seabed. Even when not in use, these crab traps can be a hazard to fishermen. According to HowStuffWorks, ice buildup during severe storms can add up to 45 tons to a boat’s weight, which can cause the boat to capsize. This is just one of the many hazards brave fishermen in the Bering Strait face every day.