If like me you are a massive fan of the Deadliest Catch TV series, you’ve probably watched in amazement at how these guys work, and the crab boats that they use in the Alaskan waters. One thing that I have always wondered is how much does a crab boat cost. This is what I found out.

Crab boats can cost several million dollars to manufacture and build. One of the largest crab boats ever made was the 150-foot Alaskan Enterprise which cost more than $2 million dollars to build. Small crab boats can cost $80,000 to $160,000 on the used market. 

Each large commercial crab boat will cost thousands of dollars to maintain and operate each year.

It’s not unheard of for some crab boats to cost as much as $5 million dollars new. The engines can sometimes cost up to $2 million.

The crab boats seen on the Deadliest Catch TV series are quite old, some of them being registered up to 30 years ago. If I was to estimate, the costs of the ones on TV could be around 2 to 3 million dollars.

How Much Does a Crab Boat Cost

It can cost a lot of money to catch red king crabs off the coast of Alaska.

And that’s not the only cost.

The licenses for fishing for crab in the Alaskan waters featured in the show can be as much as $7 million dollars. And then the crab pots used can cost a thousand dollars each too.

Add in the salaries of the captain and deckhand, and you’re looking at a very expensive, but profitable industry. 

How much does it cost to buy a crab boat?

That’s an example of how the really big commercial crab boats cost, but what about the smaller ones? 

I took a look on some boat broker websites to see how much it might cost if you wanted to buy a smaller crab boat.

From what I can tell, you could spend anywhere between $80,000 and $160,000 but that’s for crab boats of 22 to 28 foot in length. 

Related questions

When researching this article into how much a crab boat costs, I also came across a lot of related questions on a similar topic. I’ve decided to list those below too so you can learn even more about this awesome TV series. 

#1: What is the biggest crab boat in the world?

It’s not easy to find 100% accurate information on what the biggest crab boat in the world is, but I did stumble across a press release on the New Wave Media website which referenced the 150-foot Alaskan Enterprise.

They say that it’s one of the largest and biggest crab boats ever built for the Alaskan crab fishing industry.

You can read the full specification of this large crab boat on the Marine Traffic website. 

#2: How much does a crab boat owner make?

The captain of the crab boat is usually the owner, and it’s been reported in the press that they can earn as much as $200,000 each year, with that income supplemented by other activities in the off-season. 

#3: How much do King crab fishermen make per pound?

Red king crabs are the biggest of all the crab species and can weigh between 6 and 10 pounds. The current price at time of this article is said to be $4.50 per pound. In the previous year, the price per pound was set at $3.90 dollars.

That means that king crab fishermen could make between $27 and $45 with each king crab that they manage to catch and take back to the harbor.

#4: How much do deckhands make on Deadliest Catch?

A deckhand salary can be very high, but the season for king crab fishing is only 3 months in total. However, during that period they can make as much as $15,000 a month.

Many deckhands will then work in the snow crab fishing industry outside of the peak season to supplement their income, whilst others will only work 3 months of the year.

For more information on their salary and earnings, read this other blog post I published recently.

#5: How long are crab boats out to sea?

Commercial crab fishing boats can set their own schedule during the Alaskan king crab season, with many staying at sea for days or even weeks.

#6: How long does Deadliest Catch stay at sea?

According to the Discovery website, the Deadliest Catch boats can stay at sea for a couple of weeks at a time at most. 

#7: Which boat sank on The Deadliest Catch?

In January of 2019, three fishermen died when the Mary B II crab fishing boat capsized in rough seas whilst crossing the Yaquina Bay bar in Newport, Oregon.

However, whether this boat was ever featured on the Deadliest Catch is open to dispute a spokesperson for the show said it never appeared, despite the report published by the TMZ website. 

#8: How do they count crab on Deadliest Catch?

To count crabs on the Deadliest Catch, the crabs are put onto a sorting table, with only the keepers being kept.

The females and smaller ones are thrown back into the water, with the good ones counted and placed into holding tanks. They have an average weight that they apply to each crab used to calculate quotas.

To see the process in counting crabs step by step, read this guide to counting crabs.

More facts about crab fishing and the Deadliest Catch TV series

  • The Alaskan king crab fishing season can last as few as just 4 weeks, with high-season months being October and January.
  • Deadliest Catch is based on crab boats that work from the Dutch Harbor in Alaska.
  • The sizes of the boats in Deadliest Catch range between 40 to 200 feet.
  • There can be as many as 10 crew on-board; 1 captain and up to 9 deckhands.
  • The crab fishermen on Deadliest Catch use 700-pound crab pots which will go as deep as 400 feet underwater.

The last word…

It’s not been easy finding out how much a crab boat costs, as it really depends on what size and type you want. The commercial ones featured on the TV series Deadliest Catch will range into the millions.

However, if you want something smaller that’s under 30 feet in length, you can buy a used one for less than $100,000 dollars sometimes.