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How Sanitary Are The Deadliest Catch Boats?

Nobody ever said that being a crab fisher was the cleanest job in the world. In a 2014 Q&A on his Facebook page, Time Bandit Captain Johnathan Hillstrand revealed that the crews on "Deadliest Catch" don't always get to shower as often as they'd like. The reason being because things like showering require the boat to have a desalination system, which removes salt from the water to make it into freshwater. Hillstrand explained that desalination systems are expensive to maintain and break down easily, and because of that, not every boat has a desalination system. The Time Bandit doesn't have a desalination system, but instead keeps 5,000 gallons of fresh water on board.

According to an article in Waterborne Magazine, desalinators for a cruising boat cost anywhere from $3,500-$11,000 and require constant upkeep because, if not used consistently, the organisms in the water can die and rot and then clog up the membrane and filters. Replacing the membrane alone can cost $200-$700. Because of this, it's pretty apparent why so many crab fishing boats don't even bother with desalination systems.

So showering at sea might not be the easiest thing in the world, but how clean do they keep the rest of the boat?

The boat has to be kept very clean

In a 2014 joint interview for Family Review Guide, with Johnathan Hillstrand and "Wild" Bill Wichrowski — captains of the Time Bandit and the Summer Bay, respectively — the two captains were asked, "After a long trip, which smells worse: the bait locker or the crew's cabin?" The captains probably surprised the interviewer with their answers. Hillstrand explained that the quarters are kept very clean and that the crab is kept live so it doesn't stink. Wichrowski chimed in and explained why cleanliness on the boat can't be taken for granted. "As far as cleanliness, you have a lot of people in a confined space, so if you don't keep the galley area clean, and the head, aka bathroom clean, any kind of cold or flu or anything will spread like wildfire, so it's in our best behalf to keep the boat clean," Wichrowski explained. He also explained that crew have started using hand sanitizer on the boat more frequently to keep up cleanliness.

According to the official website of Mike Rowe, who is both the narrator of "Deadliest Catch" and the host of the Discovery series "Dirty Jobs," captains from "Deadliest Catch" have been trying to convince him for years that their job is "dirtier" than any of the jobs featured on "Dirty Jobs." Rowe didn't quite believe them until the captains sent him a video of a crew member's boil being lanced, a sight that Rowe said he started watching over breakfast but was unable to finish his meal.