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

OffComm News - - WINTER 2013 -

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.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from International

© PressReader. All rights reserved.