You need sturdy sea legs and nerves of steel to watch "The Deadliest Catch." Near-death experiences are commonplace with surging waves, freezing temperatures and multiton equipment tumbling haphazardly across ships. Viewers are treated to a new form of terror and anxiety in a third season episode titled "The Unforgiving Sea," which focuses on near misses and close calls at sea, as well as the unfortunate fate of far too many fishermen.
In the episode's opening moments, we get a firsthand look at the Coast Guard's search-and-rescue mission for a sunken ship's four-man crew. After finding an empty survival suit and life raft floating forebodingly in the frigid water, the Coast Guard spots a single survivor clinging to debris. He's pulled to safety, but the shaking, barely-conscious man has hypothermia, and viewers are informed that he's dying. The rescuers continue their search for survivors until they spot two dead crewmen floating in the water. The fourth crewman is never found, and though the single survivor lives to sail again, his story serves as a harrowing reminder of the mortal danger commercial fishermen face on a daily basis.