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UFO Means Something Completely Different On Deadliest Catch

It's been nearly two decades since Discovery debuted the seafaring docuseries known as "Deadliest Catch," and even with more than 300 episodes under its belt, the show remains every bit as thrilling today as it was when it first began airing in 2005. That's saying a lot for a show that basically just follows a bunch of fishermen out to sea in search of a lucrative King Crab score. But as "Deadliest Catch" fans can attest, no two expeditions are ever quite the same — and a new sort of peril seems to arrive with every single journey.

Indeed, over the years fans of the show have watched with bated breath as captains and crews have ventured to the heart of the Bering Sea to battle everything from rogue waves and 700 lb. crab pots, to barely livable weather conditions and on-deck scuffles. They even endured a lengthy shutdown of the crabbing industry. But in one Season 17 episode of "Deadliest Catch," matters got even tricker when Captain Johnathan Hillstrand and the crew of the Time Bandit found themselves staring down a real-life UFO.

UFOs are not all that uncommon in the fishing game

That term 'UFO', of course, carries a different meaning on a fishing vessel, so the Time Bandit crew didn't actually come face to face with a flying saucer. Per the series' official Twitter account, it actually refers to unidentifiable objects floating in open waters. And that's exactly what the Time Bandit came across in Season 17. 

In this particular case, the Unidentified Floating Object turned out to be a massive bit of tree trunk estimated to weigh about 2,500 pounds. While spotting such objects may not be quite as thrilling as an alien spacecraft, water-bound UFOs can actually be pretty dangerous to a fishing vessel if they happen to drift into the hull, or get tangled up with a propeller. As such, Captain Jonathan Hillstrand and his crew take the discovery very seriously. In fact, they do their best to bring the potentially dangerous bit of driftwood aboard so it wouldn't endanger any other ships.

That endeavor includes over-the-top efforts from daredevil deckhand Freddy Maugatai, who braves the icy waters against the Captain's orders in hopes of helping lasso the UFO. Unfortunately, Freddy is unsuccessful in that endeavor, and after several more attempts to rope the floater and get it on deck, Capt. Hillstrand eventually opts to leave the tree behind. Nonetheless, the moment proved one of the more unusual close encounters "Deadliest Catch" fans have seen to date.