Skip to Content

Deadliest Catch season 17 will air episodes early on Discovery+, and focus on these boats

Deadliest Catch season 17 will air episodes early on Discovery+, and focus on these boats
Sig Hansen in Deadliest Catch season 17, which will be on both Discovery Channel and Discovery+ (Photo by Discovery)

Deadliest Catch season 17 is premiering later this month—and then again one month later—for what Discovery describes as a season where the cast of captains and crab boat crews face “an existential threat” to their industry.

The double premieres are because the first episode will be streaming for Discovery+ subscribers on March 19. However, unlike shows that have moved from cable to streaming, Deadliest Catch will also be on regular old cable TV one month later, premiering April 20 on the Discovery Channel, and airing Tuesdays at 10.

Tuesday, April 20, is also the day that episode two will start streaming, as Discovery+ viewers will get episodes one week early. (I am too old for this kind of schedule.)

In season 17, Discovery says that “half the crab boats of the Bering Sea fleet are tied up in Seattle” while “an existential threat faces the fishermen who make the long-haul trip to Dutch Harbor, Alaska,” because they face “a potential closure of the entire fishery” for the 2021 season.

The crab survey conducted during the summer by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game didn’t happen because of C0VID-19, and that means “the captains will be fishing blind with no charts or guidance on where to find crab on the grounds—making an already challenging season even more difficult,” according to a press release.

Watch the first few minutes of the new season in the video below.

Deadliest Catch season 17’s boats and captains

Deadliest Catch

Who are the captains and crews that will be “facing even more challenges than ever before” during the 2021 crab season and on Deadliest Catch season 17?

Here they are, with Discovery’s summaries of the challenges they’ll face:


Spearheading their defense is Captain Sig Hansen from the F/V Northwestern – who proposes a two-pronged plan to save the fishery. First, Sig needs someone who isn’t afraid to stick his neck out. And there is only one person that comes to mind – his good friend and legendary crabber Johnathan Hillstrand.

Time Bandit

Johnathan would bring a massive operation, as commander of the F/V Time Bandit, and could provide a lifeline to help catch the fleet’s towering 5-million-pound fall season quota. But will Johnathan agree to come out of retirement? And leave behind everything and everyone he loves during such difficult times? Sig’s second strategy goes against everything the old-time crabbers have ever done before – working together as a pack. It’s a huge risk and requires honesty and cooperation from everyone. But can the captains put the good of the fleet ahead of their own interests? Some of them have their doubts.


Just days ahead of the season launch, Captain Keith Colburn of the F/V Wizard has his own set of problems. His WW2-era boat is in need of maintenance, and the captain desperately needs a fruitful season to pay for his upcoming shipyard.

Lady Alaska

Enter Captain Scott Campbell Jr. of the F/V Lady Alaska. Scott believes he has secret intel on where to find crab. Scott hatches a plan to share his intel with longtime rival Keith in exchange for quota. However, when he approaches him, things don’t go exactly as Scott had hoped.


On the F/V Saga, Captain Jake Anderson is back and aiming to secure more quota. But will this young captain be able to pull off a successful season when he’s come up empty in the past? Or will F/V Northwestern’s reserve captain, Mandy Hansen, enlist Jake in her own plan to tank their combined share of the total crab quota? 

Cornelia Marie

Also returning this year are Captains Josh Harris and Casey McManus of the F/V Cornelia Marie. This year, they struggled to find a strong crew and must call upon their business partner Jeff Silva from Hawaii to join them. Though Jeff proves that he puts the green in greenhorn shortly after setting sail.

Summer Bay

Finally, rounding out the fleet this year is Captain Wild Bill and the F/V Summer Bay. His crew has faced incredible loss this past year including the passing of deckhand Mahlon Reyes, who suffered a deadly heart attack at the young age of 38 years old. Bill and his crew honor Mahlon’s memory by giving him a proper fisherman’s burial at sea before setting off on the new crabbing season. But just as they attempt to leave the dock, crew member Nick McGlashan suddenly falls ill with a fever. Will Bill even be able to leave in time? Or will he be out of the fishing game for good this season as his crew must isolate from each other?

All reality blurred content is independently selected, including links to products or services. However, if you buy something after clicking an affiliate link, I may earn a commission, which helps support reality blurred. Learn more.

More great stories

About the author

  • Andy Dehnart is the creator of reality blurred and a writer and teacher who obsessively and critically covers reality TV and unscripted entertainment, focusing on how it’s made and what it means.


I value our community at reality blurred, which connects people through open and thoughtful conversations about the TV we’re watching and the stories about it.

Comment rules: My goal is for us to be able to share our perspectives and exchange ideas in a welcoming, supportive space. That’s why I’ve created these rules for commenting here. By commenting below, you confirm that you’ve read and agree to them.

Happy discussing!