Deadliest Catch Star Wild Bill Reveals One Moment Where He Feared For His Life
Since 2005, fans have tuned into "Deadliest Catch" to gain insight into one of the world's most perilous professions: commercial fishing. The popular Discovery series gives viewers an intimate look at life aboard crabbing vessels, showing everything from high-pressure fishing scenarios to day-to-day maintenance to games the crew plays while shooting.
As much as "Deadliest Catch" showcases the generalities of an entire industry, it's the magnetic and highly specific main characters who capture the audience hook, line, and sinker. Fan favorite captain Sig Hansen is a longstanding presence on "Deadliest Catch," having been around since the show's inception, and fans are still mourning the death of Captain Phil Harris, who passed away in 2010.
When Captain "Wild" Bill Wichrowski joined "Deadliest Catch" in Season 6, he was an ornery presence, applying his tough-but-fair philosophy even when it meant firing deckhands. The Navy-vet-turned-fisherman endures plenty of hardships on "Deadliest Catch" — not that you could tell looking at his stoic, steely visage. Here's one time that Wild Bill feared for his life.
Wild Bill's boat lost power while battling hurricane force winds
In the open waters of the Pacific, you're only as safe as your boat. Circumstances that feel ordinary on land, like a power outage, are an entirely different matter altogether on a fishing vessel. Add hurricane-force winds, and the whole ordeal can turn deadly.
In an interview with Hollywood Soapbox, "Wild" Bill Wichrowski revealed, "The most afraid for my life I've ever been was transiting a boat to Seattle in 85-90 knot winds with gusts to 120 knots." For you landlubbers, that's roughly 138 miles per hour — or the wind speed of a Category 4 hurricane. "The boat broached coming down the back side of a wave where the wheelhouse windows were in water," said Wild Bill. "One main engine quit and we lost the generator, so we were without power until I could start another generator. Scariest 15 minutes of my life."
That the experience rattled a seasoned sailor like Wild Bill speaks to the unforgiving whims of life at sea. On "Deadliest Catch," the captain has navigated his deckhand going overboard into icy water and nearly capsizing. Still, Wild Bill maintains that it's the captain's job to show composure in front of the crew. "Because when all goes wrong, when the boat is about to sink, everybody is going to look to the captain for the answer ..." he told Larry King. "And you can't really show them fear. You have to look at them and just go, 'What are you guys doing up here? Get back to work.'"