Inside 'Deadliest Catch'

Viewers' Guide

It's clear when you watch "Deadliest Catch" that these fishermen are the real deal. They work hard -- really hard -- and don't often have the time to explain everything that's happening.

When deckhands are spitting out jargon, it can be difficult to discern their meaning. Some of the terms they use are standard boat lingo: The aft is the rear end of the boat, or stern. The bow is the front of the boat. Starboard and port are, when you're facing forward, the right and left hand sides of the boat, respectively. Winward and leeward are toward and away from the wind, respectively. The head is the boat's bathroom, and the galley is its kitchen.

Other crab fishermen vocabulary is a little more unique to the biz. Here's a handy viewers' guide to help explain some of those terms used on the show:

  • Clean crab: crabs that are free of barnacles. They fetch the premium market price.
  • Cleaning house: getting rid of ice buildup on the boat
  • Deck: the main outdoor area of the boat where the fishing takes place. The workers are called deckhands and are led by the deck boss.
  • Engine room: the room below the deck and sleeping quarters that houses the boat's engine
  • F/V: short for fishing vessel. In print, F/V precedes the name of the boat.
  • Fleet: all the boats fishing for crab in the Bering Sea
  • Greenhorn: a new or inexperienced deckhand. Greenhorns have it rough and are heavily featured on the show.
  • Honey hole: a secret spot where a captain knows there are a lot of crab.
  • IFQs: individual fishing quotas, or the amount of crab each boat is allowed to catch per season
  • King and opilio (opie): the two varieties of crab that are fished on "Deadliest Catch." The boats can only catch these, per their permit. You might know opies better as snow crabs.
  • Pot: the crab cage. It weighs roughly 800 pounds (363 kilograms) empty and costs about $1,000 to replace.
  • Setting back: when a crab pot is pulled, emptied and dropped back in the same location
  • Wheelhouse: also called the bridge, it's the area where the captain drives the boat. There's a camera mounted here to record the captain's take on each situation.

Now, if you hear, "That greenhorn is so bad, he couldn't drop a pot in a honey hole," or, "If the guys don't clean house faster, it'll take weeks to get our quota," you'll know exactly what they're talking about.

Kick the greenhorn out of the wheelhouse and click ahead to the next page, where we'll take a look at the boats and crews featured in the show.