The state’s most famous living fishing boat captain will be featured on the upcoming season of the popular reality television series, “Deadliest Catch.”
Linda Greenlaw, a Surry resident and author with decades of commercial fishing experience, will appear as captain of the vessel Summer Bay, one of roughly 10 Alaskan crab boats featured on the show, according to Entertainment Weekly. The show’s 19th season is scheduled to start airing on Discovery next month.
Greenlaw’s appearance is expected to enhance her profile as one of the best-known fishing boat captains in the country, and will make her only the second woman to captain a crab boat on the long-running show, which began airing in 2005. Mandy Hansen, who co-captains the vessel Northwestern with her father Sig Hansen, has been featured on the show the past several seasons.
“Deadliest Catch,” which documents the working and personal lives of men and women who fish crab in the rough waters of the Bering Sea, is one of Discovery’s more popular programs. The show has a loyal following in Maine, thanks to the state’s robust lobster fishing industry, and captains from the show have occasionally come to Maine for speaking engagements.
Greenlaw said Friday that she went to Alaska last fall with “a positive attitude, strong work ethic and the good sense to know what I didn’t know” about the particular challenges of fishing for Bering Sea crab.
She said she learned a lot from ‘Wild’ Bill Wichrowski, the notoriously grumpy captain and owner of Summer Bay who has appeared on the show for 13 seasons.
“I wanted to learn from the best — and I did,” she said. “Wild Bill is not the most patient teacher, but his safety record and fishing ability are second to none. We are sort of like the odd couple. He’s all gruff and negative while I’m sheer optimism.”
Greenlaw did not go into detail about what happens in the 19th season, but added she is “honored and excited” to be on the show.
Greenlaw became well known 30 years ago after being written about in “The Perfect Storm,” a nonfiction book by Sebastian Junger about a powerful Nor’easter storm that sank the swordfishing boat Andrea Gail in 1991. Greenlaw, who was portrayed onscreen in a subsequent film adaptation of the book, was captaining another swordfish boat and was the last person to have contact with Andrea Gail’s crew.
Since then, Greenlaw herself has penned 11 books — cookbooks, mysteries, and nonfiction books about her fishing experiences — and was featured on three seasons of the Discovery swordfishing show “Swords: Life on the Line.” She also fishes for lobster, grows oysters, and has a charter tour boat business.
Greenlaw is not the first Mainer to appear on “Deadliest Catch.” Jon McDaniel of Gorham worked as a deckhand on the vessel Time Bandit during Season 11, while Manchester native Crosby Leveen appeared for a few seasons as a deckhand on Wizard.
Details have not been released about to what extent Greenlaw is featured on the show. In what it says is an exclusive piece about the upcoming season, Entertainment Weekly mentions the Surry resident in only one sentence.
“East Coast legend Linda Greenlaw, the only female swordfishing captain and survivor of The Perfect Storm, sets her sights on America’s Last Frontier and brings more than 40 years of experience to Captain ‘Wild’ Bill Wichrowski’s F/V Summer Bay,” EW reported.
Wichrowski briefly chimed in on Facebook about the news that Greenlaw would be on the show as captain of his boat.
“Don’t let her size fool ya,” he posted below a heavily shared photo of him and Greenlaw standing on the deck of his boat. Greenlaw’s eyes are level with Wichrowski’s armpit in the photograph.