Who Is Linda Greenlaw From Deadliest Catch?

Season 19 of "Deadliest Catch" featured a few new cast members, among them Linda Greenlaw. Though new to the Discovery reality TV series about commercial crabbing in the Bering Sea, Greenlaw is no stranger to the East Coast swordfishing industry. According to Greenlaw's official website, she is an award-winning author and America's "only female swordfishing captain." Fans of Discovery's maritime-themed programming may also remember her from the 2009 series "Swords: Life on the Line," or from a number of high-profile TV appearances promoting her books on shows like "Good Morning America" and "CBS News Sunday Morning." 

Most notably, though, Greenlaw was featured in Sebastian Junger's 1997 nonfiction book "The Perfect Storm: A True Story of Men Against the Sea" and portrayed by Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio in the 2000 film adaptation starring George Clooney. As the former records, Greenlaw was captain of the Hannah Boden in 1991 when she tried to warn Captain Billy Tyne and his crew on the Andrea Gail, the Boden's sister vessel, of the incoming storm. Unfortunately, Tyne — played by Clooney in the movie adaptation — went down with his crew in the confluence of three massive East Coast weather fronts that Gloucester Daily Times called the "storm of the century."

Greenlaw is 'one of the best captains, period,' Junger wrote

In his book "The Perfect Storm," author Sebastian Junger describes Linda Greenlaw as not just "one of the only women in the business, she's one of the best captains, period, on the entire East Coast." After the "Perfect Storm" catastrophe, Greenlaw chose to retire from the Hannah Boden when the owners switched it over to crab rigging, as she recalled in 2010 to Maine Magazine. "I ran the boat red-crabbing for a year and I just didn't enjoy it," she said. "It required me to have a bigger crew and hauling traps is just not as interesting as fishing hooks."

Greenlaw explained that she was approached to write books of her own to capitalize on the success of "Perfect Storm." Since then, she's written a number of bestselling nonfiction books about her life in the fishing industry, such as 1999's "The Hungry Ocean: A Swordboat Captain's Journey." She has also co-authored cookbooks with her mother and created the Jane Bunker mystery novel series. As she explained to Maine Magazine, "My heart says I'm a fisherman, but my checkbook says I'm a writer."

Despite her literary success, Greenlaw never completely gave up fishing. "I'm definitely keeping my line in the water," she told Bookreporter.com in 2007. "I've been fishing for a long time and don't have any plans to give it up. I'm still lobster fishing more or less part-time and have 150 traps in the water now."

She co-captained the F/V Summer Bay

After joining "Deadliest Catch," Linda Greenlaw co-captained the F/V Summer Bay alongside longtime cast member Captain "Wild" Bill Wichrowski. On the decision to join the Summer Bay, she told Bangor Daily News, "I wanted to learn from the best — and I did. 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."

Shortly before Season 19 premiered in April 2023, Greenlaw told Spectrum News, "Transitioning to the crab fishery was not too difficult for me — I have been involved in the offshore red cred fishery here in New England and have been fishing fixed gear on and off since I was a kid." But it wasn't all smooth sailing: "Finding crab was the biggest challenge," she said. "This was my first experience with Bairdi crab and also my first trip on the Bering Sea."

Greenlaw also touched on her off-screen life. "I write books, grow oysters, fish lobster traps, run charters, deliver boats, etc.," she said. "Being featured in 'Deadliest Catch' will not change my schedule. But I imagine it will increase people's awareness of me and my life. All good! None of this changes my perspective on fishing." Per Distractify, she married her current husband, Steve Wessel, in 2012. They live in Maine.