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Are Jake Anderson And Sig Hansen From Deadliest Catch Friends In Real Life?

Part of the ongoing appeal of "The Deadliest Catch" on the Discovery Channel is the people, who risk it all on the high seas every season in order to catch the king crabs that make up their livelihoods. The show focuses on the captains, of course, who are in charge of these dangerous expeditions. But the show has also told the stories of the deckhands and others who decide to take on this unrelenting lifestyle. Sometimes the people in this industry are in conflict, but often there's camaraderie of a very intense kind, developed in life-threatening situations that throw people together and test their trust immediately.

Captain Sig Hansen of the F/V Northwestern is one of the captains who has been in the spotlight since the first episode of "The Deadliest Catch" aired in 2005. Jake Anderson, on the other hand, started out as a Greenhorn with the Northwestern — but over the show's 18 seasons, he's experienced a lot of growth, both bad and good. After some time away with another boat (the F/V Kiska Sea), he asked for his job back and eventually became the Northwestern's deck boss. In 2015, though, he left Hansen's care to become the captain of the F/V Saga. Since then, the two have been competitors. 

Given their long history together and Sig's mentorship, as well as their later battles, are Hansen and Anderson friends in real life? 

Anderson and Hansen were once as close as family

In an interview Jake Anderson did with Pop Culture Principle back in 2011, the captain was asked about his relationship with Sig Hansen. Anderson likened it to a father-son relationship, evoking the idea of family numerous times: "It's not as close as his relationship was with his father, but it's similar," he explained. "His father was a lot tougher on him then he is on me, which I can't quite imagine because he is tough on me." He went on to say that his relationship with Hansen's real-life daughter, Mandy, has resembled a sibling rivalry because he craves the positive attention Hansen would give her. "I could never do anything right or never do enough and I would think he would never be proud of me," Anderson said. 

He added that the Northwestern, where he spent so many years, was a family boat where the crew fought like siblings. "But at the end of the day, we would die for each other and that's why people love us," he said. In a 2013 episode during which he said goodbye to his Northwestern crewmates, he likened his situation to leaving home rather than quitting a job. And in 2015, he told Hollywood Soapbox that the boat would always be his home, even though viewers understood very clearly by then that he wanted his own command. 

Time has soured their working relationship, however

Anderson did become captain of the Saga in 2015, and the relationship between Hansen and him has changed as a result. They've clashed more than once now that they work on different boats. Sometimes this appears to be due to ego and personality clashes between one person with more ambition and another with more experience. The situation is also complicated by the fact that the two have also had to deal with competing business interests. 

In the show's 14th season, for example, Anderson suggested teaming up for the 2017 crab season, but the discussion escalated into a fight as Hansen told his former protege, "You can't ask for help every single season because then you're gonna be reliant on somebody else every season, whereas if you do it yourself, then you're self-reliant." When Anderson pointed out that the more experienced fisherman had the contacts and knew where the fish were, Hansen took offense and threw Anderson off his boat — which led Anderson to yell that he's a better fisherman than Hansen. 

Meanwhile, in a 2015 episode, Hansen wanted Anderson to move away from an area where Anderson's boat was pulling up full pots — and while Anderson clearly wanted to help his former captain, he now worked for someone else who felt differently. One commenter on YouTube pointed out that Hansen probably would not have done the same thing for Anderson, but others sympathized with Anderson being caught between his current partner and his mentor.

The relationship between the two has recently seemed complicated

More recently, the relationship between the two captains has seemed like it was evolving into something more transactional and also fraught, considering their past ties. During the 16th season's "Like Father, Like Daughter" episode, the show made some waves when Hanson referred to Anderson as his puppet, someone he could manipulate and use, which didn't sit well with fans. He and his daughter Mandy used Anderson to help them prospect for better hauls.

In the show's 17th season, when Mandy took the wheel for a while, she gave Jake a call because he owed her a favor and she was looking for good crab fishing spots. Anderson told her to go west, but her father was skeptical, asking her if she trusted Jake's intel and saying he didn't know if he did. She expressed faith in Anderson, saying that he wouldn't lie to her, so they went west. The Northwestern's first catch was full of female crabs, with an angry Hansen telling Mandy, "I don't know if his information was real." She replied, "If it was one of your friends, you would be all over it." The catch ended up successful, however.

Of course, the cast members of "The Deadliest Catch" wouldn't be the first to realize that family relationships — related by blood or not — can be complicated. Drama sells, and this reality series isn't immune to that fact. So the true relationship between Anderson and Hansen is possibly not exactly as depicted on TV — and fans will need to keep watching for further clues.