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Why Deadliest Catch Fans Were So Divided Over This Terrifying Moment

"Deadliest Catch" got its name for a reason. Between operating heavy machinery and contending with the rough conditions of the Bering Sea, the work that the crab fishing crews on the show carry out can be extremely dangerous and it's all enough to make even the veteran "Deadliest Catch" stars seasick. Some lapsed fans have criticized the show for manufacturing drama or framing certain events, but viewers can rest assured that, at least, all of the pure crab catching action is real.

Due to the tough conditions of life on the sea, there's almost always an underlying current of tension on the show as the crews attempt to keep their operations running smoothly. However, there are some occasional moments where things go too far off the rails and get a little too intense. One such scene involves an unfortunate turn of events on the F/V Saga, one of the original "Deadliest Catch" fishing vessels. The incident in question is nothing short of terrifying, but it also divided the fan base for a very interesting reason.

Massive waves hit the Saga

A lot happens to the F/V Saga on "Deadliest Catch," but things get too close for comfort during a certain moment in Season 11. Rocked by a turbulent sea, the boat's deckhands are slammed by two 40-foot waves in quick succession and nearly fall overboard. They subsequently snap at the ship's deck watcher Clarence Helgevold for endangering them. The tense exchange divided many fans in terms of who they thought was at fault.

Some fans felt Helgevold didn't provide proper support for his crewmates. "The wave was not [Helgevold's] fault, but his panic revealed him to be unsuited for his job," user Bob Riedel commented on a YouTube clip of the scene. "Can't imagine Phil Harris or Sig freaking out like that."

Other watchers felt that the hostility the deckhands held towards Helgevold was unwarranted. "Big guy was out of line!" user Zayd Shakur commented. "I get it he was scared but wtf can you do to dodge rogue waves? Give the guy a break, he was obviously also shaken up!" 

Still, the possibility of crew members being thrown overboard by turbulent waves is a very real risk. "Don't ever fall over out there," "Deadliest Catch" star Jonathan Hillstrand said in an interview with Hollywood Soapbox. "I'm more afraid of the water, going in the water than anything else. If you're not in that survival suit, and you don't get into that life raft, you're not making it through the night."