The Deadliest Job in America is, claimed to be crab fishing on the Bering Sea. A good season can make one man a year’s salary in just a few days! With forty-foot waves, 700 pound crab pots, freezing temperatures and your mortality staring you in the face…this job ranks as one of the deadliest.
At the age of 22, Keith left behind his life as a Lake Tahoe ski bum to seek his fortune up north. He jumped on a plane with his best friend and landed in Kodiak, Alaska with no experience, a tent and $50. With only a hazy, but romantic vision of working at sea and the rumor of big paydays, Keith was determined to try something new and exciting. He started as a true greenhorn on the crabber Alaska Trader.
Keith was instantly hooked by the fishing lifestyle and the camaraderie of being part of a crew working together against the elements. While initially looking only for adventure in Alaskan waters, Keith decided to make it a career.
In 1988, three years after he arrived, he became a full-share deckhand on the Wizard. He earned his U. S. Coast Guard license in 1990 and moved from the deck to the pilothouse. Two years later, he received his masters (captain) license and has remained there as the skipper.
In 2002, Keith purchased the crabber Sirene (pronounced Sea-Wren), but continued to operate the Wizard. In 2004, he sold the fishing rights for the Sirene in a government run fleet reduction program. When this program led to a reduction of the crabbing fleet from 250 to 80 crabbers, Keith went ahead and purchased the Wizard to secure his stake in the crabbing industry.
He and his wife Florence have shared a special bond as partners in both life and business for more than 25 years. She manages much of the business end of their boat's operations and together they balance their time to raise their son Caelan and daughter Sienna.
Keith Colburn - Captain Photos
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