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Humor Is Crucial On Deadliest Catch To Keep The Cast From Going Nuts

For 18 thrilling seasons, viewers have tuned into "Deadliest Catch" for an unfiltered look at crab fishing, one of the world's most dangerous industries. Between 1992 and 2008, the industry reported 128 deaths per 100,000 people. Among all U.S. workers, the average number is just 4 out of 100,000 (via CDC). Indeed, the mariners on "Deadliest Catch" must contend with treacherous weather, hand-numbing temperatures, and dangerous equipment.

Despite the perils of life on an Alaskan fishing vessel, fishermen will tell you that the sheer amount of time spent at sea, and the sleepless nights that come with it, are the real toll of the job. "I've been home [for] like eight weeks in the last 14 months," wrote Lady Alaska engineer James Gallagher on Reddit. "They keep me pretty busy." With so much time spent away from home and in close quarters, it's no surprise that the mariners on "Deadliest Catch" spend an outsized amount of time pranking and razzing one another.

Jokes and pranks help break up the monotony at sea

A few things are crucial when spending weeks at a time at sea: functioning equipment, a hot meal, and a sense of humor. According to Edgar Hansen, humor goes a long way in breaking up the monotony of crabbing. "Crab fishing becomes such a monotonous job," the fisherman told Viera Voice. "You're hauling 150 to 280 pots a day. Lots of pots, they're all the same. Crabs inside, they're all the same. You go through a 30, 40-hour stint of sorting the same crab over and over again. You've gotta have a little humor to break up the monotony. If not, you just go nuts."

As such, pranks and joking around become a lifeline at sea. "So, out comes the fire, or out comes the seal bombs to scare somebody, or you're making a dummy," said Hansen. "Anything to lighten the mood just a little bit." Fans of "Deadliest Catch" should be familiar with some of the crew's pranks, including a fake pirate attack on the F/V Northwestern, or arranging pots in the shape of a, uh, walrus appendage on the F/V Wizard. Johnathan Hillstrand's favorite ship prank involved replacing a crab pot with a pickup truck. Hazing the greenhorns is another popular option.

Joking around is especially crucial since the fishermen can't pass the time listening to music — an unfortunate by-product of having cameras on board (via Dockwalk). Who needs music when you're hauling in a nice truck?