'Deadliest Catch' Season 7: Danger and Death

Reality show grapples with death in seventh season.

ByMichael Milberger
April 13, 2011, 10:14 AM

April 13, 2011— -- The reality show "Deadliest Catch" is back for a seventh season but with a decidedly more somber tone as the seafarers deal with the death of two crew members.

In the season premiere Tuesday, the show's crabbing boat crew said goodbye to Capt. Phil Harris of the "Cornelia Marie," who died of a stroke last year, honoring him with a burial at sea, scattering his ashes in the seas where he worked.

"We lost Capt. Phil last year," said Sig Hansen, captain of the "Northwestern," on "Good Morning America." That was tough."

The crew members will also mourn the death of another seamate this season. Justin Tennison, 33, a deckhand known as J.T. on the "Time Bandit," died in February of complications related to sleep apnea in Homer, Alaska -- four days after he returned from the sea.

The seventh season would have been the first appearance on the show for the father of two.

The Emmy-winning show on Discovery chronicles the real-life perils of king crab fishing on the Bering Sea. Crew members fight harrowing weather conditions as they try to make a living doing what they consider "the most dangerous job in the world."

The rough seas and frigid water temperatures make going overboard the biggest danger for the mariners.

"If you don't get in your suit in three or four minutes, you're dead," said Capt. Johnathan Hillstrand of the "Time Bandit." "If you don't get in your suit and you don't get in a raft you won't live through the night."

The conditions may be tough and uncomfortable for the crews, but they hold major appeal for the audience.

"The worse the weather is for us, the more the audience enjoys it," said Hansen.

'Deadliest Catch' Crews Face Danger

Aside from battling the tough conditions, the cast members can meet with other accidents. In season seven, Nick Mavar of the "Northwestern" broke his nose.

"He kept working," said Hansen. "When we got home -- I had to buy him a new nose. Is it going to be a George Clooney? A Brad Pitt? We didn't know what we were going to buy him."

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