Deadliest Catch's Captain Sean Dwyer shares 'heartbreak' at boat tragedy

Captain Sean Dwyer is part of the Discovery show Deadliest Catch.

Captain Sean Dwyer is part of the Discovery show Deadliest Catch.

It isn't titled Deadliest Catch for nothing. Any viewers with doubts about the danger the Bering Sea fishing fleet faces to bring prime Alaskan crabs to the table are about to have a harsh reality check.

The 33-metre boat Destination was lost at sea with its six crew while filming for season 13 was under way in February.

Although not part of the show, the incident had a profound effect on the crews still out at sea, says Captain Sean Dwyer.

The boat Time Bandit in rough seas filming Deadliest Catch.
Discovery Channel

The boat Time Bandit in rough seas filming Deadliest Catch.

"For me as a fisherman it was a true tragedy. It was heartbreaking.

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"I was friends with some of those guys and to be out there and learn the news was quite a challenge.

"I just had to block it out so I could focus on my crew and their well-being," says 24-year-old Dwyer, who is the youngest captain in the crab fleet.

"It was a great boat, a great crew and it just goes to show what can happen. If it had been preventable, the crew would have prevented it. They were very talented and it just goes to show how quickly things can happen.

"For me, I've done 30 feet waves and I don't want to do it again," he says. Dwyer and his crew were caught out by a freak storm during filming for season 12.

"In about eight hours it went from flat calm to 30-35 feet waves. I knew the boat was OK, the crew were totally capable and we weren't in any immediate danger but to see how quickly things change really humbled me. It scared me."

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Season 13 has other challenges, too. The Bering Sea was its warmest on record, forcing the crab fleet to look for new grounds.

Dwyer has no doubt that climate change is to blame.

"Fisheries are changing and we have to change with them."

But he is confident in the Bering Sea fleet's future. "If the crabs can adapt, then we can adapt."

Deadliest Catch, Discovery, Wednesday.

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 - TV Guide

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