Deadliest Catch: What Happened To The Destination?

In one of the worst disasters to hit a reality TV show already seen by some as cursed, the fishing vessel F/V Destination capsized and sank in 2017The Seattle Times reported. All six crewmen aboard, including Captain Jeff Hathaway, were killed. In its 19th season as of 2023, "Deadliest Catch" is a popular series focused on the difficult king crab fishing conditions in the Bering Sea. Since it premiered in 2005, a number of current and former stars have lost their lives.

News that something went horribly wrong with the Destination was shared in a Season 13 episode of "Deadliest Catch" called "Lost at Sea." At that point, the boat and its crew had simply disappeared. According to Anchorage Daily News, the ship's last movements were recorded by the boat's transponder. Inexplicably, the Destination seemed to turn in a near complete circle before it vanished. The bodies of all those aboard were never found. 

Shortly after the accident, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) released its findings about what might have happened. According to the NTSB, there were a number of factors at play, such as a failure on the crew's part to account for over-ice buildup on the boat in especially rough conditions.

Captain Hathaway may have made some fatal mistakes

In addition to an NTSB investigation into the F/V Destination disaster, the Marine Board of Investigation released a report about what might have gone wrong aboard the boat. The findings concluded that the Destination was overloaded when it left port, and heavy ice was not adequately managed by the crew. There was also a hatch mistakenly left open that led to flooding and the eventual sinking of the boat. According to the Coast Guard Marine Board's report, the Destination went down in a matter of minutes, and the crew had "very little time, if any, to react."

The findings also suggest that existing regulations could have helped prevent the sinking of the Destination. According to Coast Guard Captain Lee Boone (via The Seattle Times), "The missing piece here was compliance." No criminal charges were recommended. The Destination sent one distress call from the boat's emergency position-indicating radio beacon (EPIRB) as it made its final turn. In the aftermath of the accident, the Destination was found via sonar at the bottom of the sea. A life ring, miscellaneous debris, and the EPIRB were also recovered. Evidence suggests that the Destination's life raft did not launch properly.

The boat's owner may have also been negligent

As well as Captain Jeff Hathaway's failure to address ice buildup on the boat, Coast Guard findings recommended that F/V Destination's owner, David Wilson, could also be held civilly liable for the wreck, National Fisherman reported in 2019. According to the Coast Guard, Wilson failed to inform Captain Hathaway that the boat's weight had increased after a number of renovations, additions, and changes. He also reportedly failed to disclose that the crab pots used on the vessel were heavier than they were in the past, leading to "weight creep" — a subtle increase in a boat's overall weight with deadly consequences, Seattle Met writes.

Based in Seattle and built in Texas, the Destination began life in 1981 as the Compass Rose, according to the NTSB. As of 1992, the Destination was nearly 100 feet long and around 32 feet wide. In 2011, more than 3,000 pounds of steel plate were added to the vessel, and NTSB investigators found no evidence that this was accounted for when gauging the boat's stability. At the time it went down, the boat had an estimated 10,000 pounds of crab pots on board. In addition to Captain Hathaway, crew members Darrik Seibold, Kai Hamik (pictured), Larry O'Grady, Raymond Vincler, and Charles G. Jones all died in the wreck.