The Deadliest Catch
Roughly 300 fishing boats make up the Alaskan crab fleet, catching anywhere in the region of 10- 15 million pounds of crab every year. For the fishermen, it’s a challenge to maintain reliable satellite communications with dry land while in the midst of ex
300 boats count on satellite dispatch radio in Northern Alaska for one of the most dangerous jobs in the world.
While most folks opt for jobs that are safe and free from danger, there are others that choose careers such as mining, law enforcement, fire rescue, crabbing, and more. It may come as a surprise to learn that Alaskan crabbers top the list of people with the most dangerous job. Crabbers are the men and women that take to the frigid waters north of 60° for a few weeks at a time in search of prized Alaskan king crab. This is considered by many to be the most dangerous job out there, with 20+ hour work shifts and an unforgiving sea some of the issues they have to face. Combine that with subzero temperatures and 40- foot waves and you have a recipe for extreme danger. It seems strange to most of us that people would put their lives at risk in order to put a delicious crab on our plates, but crabbers see the potential rewards as well worth the risk. The small town of Dutch Harbor, Alaska sees an influx of crabbers in the week leading up to the start of fishing season. They load up on pots, supplies, fuel and bait, all whilst trying to prepare themselves for the arduous work schedule ahead of them. Of the satellite carriers that operate in the area, Lightsquared's dispatch mobile satellite radio service is the one most used by the Pacific fishing community. This is largely due to the flat rated, person- to- person and one- to- many services that enable efficient satellite push- to- talk connectivity in even the most remote parts of North America. The captains that steer the fleet often refer to the Lightsquared dispatch mobile satellite radio phones as
‘ TAG’ phones. This is in reference to talk- groups where one captain might let another know that he will be available to call on TAG1. This is often the only way crabbers are able to communicate when out at sea. When you are out in the middle of nowhere, a simple push- to- talk service can be the difference between life and death. Most captains would never think of heading to sea without it. Each season, be it crab, cod, halibut or pollock, requires fishing quotas to be met, which has driven the Pacific fleet to over 1400 MSAT G2 satellite systems. For these brave workers, the MSAT dispatch radio has become almost as popular as a standard cell phone. This mobile satellite radio has become the way in which maps are downloaded, weather reports picked, e- mails sent and calls to loved ones on dry
land made. It’s clear that Lightsquared's satellite
network has become an essential part of
t h i s i n d u s t r y ’ s d a y t o d a y operations. Without it the job just couldn't get done.