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As Deadliest Catch enters its eleventh season, there’s no question what keeps viewers coming back: It’s the bond between crewmates — and the Bering Sea crab fleet at large — when its man vs. Mother Nature in a fight for their livelihoods and lives. As the Northwestern’s Jake Anderson says in the opening of the April 14 season premiere, which you can watch exclusively above, “In the beginning, I came up here for the money. It was just a job. But I learned pretty quickly it was a lot more than that. There’s camaraderie, honor, loyalty. All’s you got is the guy next to you. When you go through hell, something about that just makes you closer. That’s a brotherhood. It’s not an easy life, but when you can stare death right in the face and you look to each other and you smile, and you keep goin’…”
That brotherhood will be tested in Season 11 as the captains rush to catch their King crab quota so they can go after the more elusive and lucrative Bairdi crab, and as big weather — including last fall’s Typhoon Nuri, seen in our sneak peek — once again finds the fleet. “The boat feels like a tin can. You can hear the wind coming through the wheelhouse. It just echoes,” Northwestern captain Sig Hansen tells Yahoo TV.
"If it looks bad on camera, you know it’s three or four times that when you’re out there lookin’ at it yourself,” Anderson says. “It’s like a horror movie.”
Jeff Conroy, executive producer for Original Productions, says these are some of the biggest waves we’ve seen in the entire series. “On top of that, we see a wave knock a boat on its side. They recover, but there’s almost a near mutiny following,” he adds.
Joseph Boyle, executive producer for Discovery Channel, is quick to note that there’s another storm later that’s also one of the worst the fleet’s faced in decades. “I know what happens, I’ve seen the raw footage, but then I see it again and I’m still chilled to the bone,” he says. “What these guys go through is amazing — both the captains and the crews that are out there capturing it… Everything that you see on camera means that somebody was capturing it, and that alone is sort of astounding.”
It’ll be a big season for fan favorite Anderson, who’s out to prove himself as a fisherman, father, and captain. “When I have Jake in the wheelhouse, I’m just trying to mentor, but at the same time, teach him the way my father would have taught me, I suppose,” Hansen says. “Nobody says you have to be nice up there. That’s about as nice as I can be, because I want him to understand that it’s very serious and it’s not a joke, and you are responsible. And if you hurt somebody, you’ll never forget it.”
The new season of Deadliest Catch premieres April 14 at 9 p.m. on Discovery.