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Aleutian Lady: Deadliest Catch's New Boat & Her Captain Explained

"Deadliest Catch" might be all about highly dangerous crab fishing, but the people who do the fishing are far more important to its charm than the rough seas. Alaskan crab fishing is massively demanding even when you don't have a reality TV camera crew following you every move, so the long-running show has seen plenty of captains and crews come and go over the years. The former cast members of "Deadliest Catch" have gone on to do a great many things — some of them heartwarming, the others considerably less so. This has, of course, left many openings for new boats, captains, and crews to join the show — and the newest of them all is Rick Shelford, who captains the F/V Aleutian Lady. 

To know Captain Rick is to know his family company, Shelford Fisheries. The "Deadliest Catch" star's father is also called Rick Shelford, and acts as the owner and president of Shelford Fisheries, the enterprise he founded all the way back in 1995. This was the same year Rick Sr. bought the Aleutian Lady to replace his old vessel, the Polar Lady. Built in 1980, the Aleutian Lady is a 125-foot fishing vessel with a crew of five to eight people and a cargo-carrying tonnage of 189.

Rick Jr. joined Shelford Fisheries in 1997, but as anyone who's seen him in the show might suspect, he didn't exactly jump into a cushy captain position. Instead, he started as a novice "greenhorn", and worked his way up the ranks to captain the Aleutian Lady and become the man "Deadliest Catch" fans are rapidly learning to know.

Rick Shelford is an experienced fishing boat captain with expertise in many things

Ever since Rick started in the business in 1997, he's maintained an upwardly mobile career path. From his initial greenhorn position, he worked his way to a deckhand and engineer — and soon enough, he was the captain of the Aleutian Lady. That's not all he is, though. In fact, he's worked as the fleet manager for Shelford Fisheries since 2012, which means he's the guy who's responsible for overseeing not just the Aleutian Lady, but also the three other vessels in the Shelford Fisheries fleet: F/V American Lady, F/V Alaskan Lady, and F/V Constellation. Apart from his fishing, captaining, and management skills, the Shelford Fisheries website also lists hydraulics, refrigeration, and propulsion systems among his areas of expertise. 

Apart from Ricks Sr. and Jr. there's also a third Shelford working for their family company: Shelford Fisheries Vice President Mike Shelford, who has worked in the company since 2005 and heads its marketing and sales. As such, Captain Rick is not only a capable "Deadliest Catch" cast member, but he also has plenty of family firmly in his corner.