Just because Deadliest Catch features a lot of rough-and-tumble fishermen doesn't mean it can't pull your heartstrings every now and then. Here's some of those moments:
Sig assuring Jake that he'll have a job when he gets back from his personal issues.
Combined with Tear Jerker and Un Funny Aneurysm Moment: Deadliest Catch was still filming when Phil suffered his stroke. The film crew debated about continuing, but when Phil woke up from his medically-induced coma he gave them a note that the season "needed a big finish". Producer Thom Beers found it amazing, hilarious, and eventually heart-rending that Phil was "producing the show" from his hospital bed. And prior to that, the last time we see the Harris family together, they're reminiscing over some very old photos in their own way ("Aw, who's this ugly m[BLEEEEEP]er?").
Perhaps the most Crowning Moment of all so far comes after Phil's stroke and hospitalization. When Josh informed the rest of the captains, it went like this: Josh called the Time Bandit, with Andy expressing a stunned disbelief. Andy called the Northwestern, with Sig losing his temper and tossing his cigarettes aside (though he was smoking again by the next episode). Then Sig called the Wizard, which led to Keith (who was one of Phil's oldest friends) breaking down in tears and asking God to "cut him (Phil) some slack".
Their response also extended to the crew. The Wizard rang the ship's bell for Phil, the crew of the Northwestern manned the rails (a traditional way of rendering honors in the world's navies) while passing the Cornelia Marie in harbor, and the Time Bandit, naturally, shot off a crapload of fireworks.
After The Catch IV has an empty bar-stool for Phil at the round table, takes place in New Orleans, "Phil's kind of town", and opens with Mike and the Captains taking a shot of "Duck Farts" in Phil's honor ("We never liked these!").
ANY of Captain Keith's conversations with his daughter. Seriously, this kid is freaking adorable...and prescient: she startles her dad by calling to see how his quitting chewing tobacco is going just as he puts a plug of it in his mouth.
Jonathan Hillstrand and Sig Hansen in the most recent episode of After The Catch IV saying that, if something happens with the Cornelia Marie, if the Harris boys for some reason can't make a go of it, then the Hillstrands will take Josh as a deckhand on the Time Bandit and Sig will take Jake on the Northwestern. No matter what happens, they're going to make sure that Phil's boys are taken care of.
In Season 8, the Harris boys couldn't afford to take the Cornelia Marie on King Crab fishing. True to their word, The Hillstands and Sig both accepted Josh and Jake, respectively as deckhands.
The end of the second-to-last sixth season episode, "Valhalla". The Time Bandit paying tribute to Phil with their fireworks; Sig telling about the old fisherman's tale of how seagulls are fishermen passed on and how the seagull sitting on his bow at that moment just might be Phil; and Keith ringing the bell as his crew splashed a loaded crab pot, with the buoys in the pot, so he'd "always have a full one to come back to."
At the end of the final episode, "Endless", the final shot of the series is the Cornelia Marie (still fishing in April, the absolute end of opilio season when the crab is worth the least, because they simply didn't fish for so long when Phil was in the hospital), slowly heading back to harbor in clear skies and relatively calm seas, with several seagulls on the railing.
The Seagull legend is mentioned again in "A Wing and a Prayer." Keith has been doing everything possible to rid the Wizard of bad juju, to no avail. Numbers finally pick up after a huge seagull makes its way into the ship's galley. CMOH comes in when Keith mentions the effort it must have taken the seagull to get into the galley. This Troper likes to think it was Phil dropping in on an old friend.
When they got around to the Northwestern's actual tribute in the final sixth season episode, "Endless", all the crew, including Captain Sig, threw several flaming hooks in Phil's honor. Their last pot came up completely stuffed with crab.
In "Cashing In," Phil suddenly going from boasting over how he beat his son Jake in a hand-coiling contest to saying how proud he is of him, which of course is followed immediately by the reason he can't tell him that.
Phil: I haven't been out on deck in 20 years, and I haven't coiled a pot in 20 years, and I won 200 bucks. And I'm making the little bastard pay. He will pay. You know, I'm certainly proud of him. He's gotta be the best kid that I've ever had on the crab boat, and I'm not saying that because he's mine. But he is the best that I've ever had on the boat. I think I've come to the conclusion that although he's not a full share guy, I'm going to give him a raise. Because I don't want him to leave. I enjoy having him on the boat. So, I'm really proud of Jake. I just can't tell him that, because then his head gets so big he can't make it in the door of the boat."
In season 3, Sig doesn't seem too amenable to the idea of giving greenhorn Jake Anderson a Northwestern jacket, something Anderson has been hoping to get all season. In the end, however, Sig simply takes off his own jacket and asks Anderson, "You wanna swap?"
The premiere episode of Season 7 opens with the fleet out on the open sea, at dusk, with the Cornelia Marie encircled by all of the other boats as Phil's ashes are scattered into the Bering Sea.
Whenever an injured crew member returns, he can be sure to get a warm welcome from his shipmates.
One of the "After The Catch" specials ended with the deck boss of the Northwestern (Edgar, Captain Sig Hansen's brother) "re-proposing" to his wife, complete with suit, boutineer, bouquet, and ring (which she didn't have), with the promise of a "proper" wedding. "I had big a speech prepared but I'll just speak from my heart (tears up)." Awww.
Combined with Funny: Jake Anderson, who really really wants to be a captain someday, feels he's being belittled by the Northwestern crew. The final straw is when Sig allows him to set the pots, which come up almost completely empty. Jake unleashes a Cluster F-Bomb on Edgar while Sig thinks he's taking this way too seriously. Later, Edger appears holding a sign that says "I'm sorry and I love you" and "with that, the tension is gone". Additionally, before he apologized Edger referred to Jake as his replacement, which shows how much the guy actually likes him.
Jake's "knighting" ceremony aboard the Northwestern at the end of Opilios 2011, complete with a pretty authentic-looking cutlass. All hail Sir Jake of Northwestern, Deckboss Northwestern!
Aboard the Northwestern, at the end of the 2011 king crab season Edgar let Jake Harris throw out the flaming hook to snag the last pot. Tied to the hook were four gloves, two white, one black and one green. The two white gloves were in honor of Edgar's father and of Phil Harris, the black was in honor of Edgar's mother-in-law who had just passed and the green one was in honor of Jake H. himself.
Combined with Awesome and a bit of Funny: The Time Bandit deckhands participate in a competition to see who can set a five-pot string and catch the most crab. Josh Harris wins it by relying on his father's favorite method: sniffing out crab farts.
Jake Anderson, shut up and let Sig praise you!
At Jake Anderson's wedding, Sig's fixing up Jake's tux and telling him that he couldn't be prouder of him - and then Sig officiates the wedding!
Two from Edgar on Revelations: he decided to get sober after being so high and paranoid for days that the drugs showed him he was going to die. He called his wife to pick him up and was overwhelmed because even when he felt so alone there were still people who cared about him. Later he he became emotional recalling the letters he's gotten from young cancer patients who endured their treatments because they're inspired by the Deadliest Catch crews' devotion to a job they love despite all the stress, injuries, awful weather, and high chance of death.
Greenhorn Chris of the Wizard had to be medevac'd in the middle of the season due to his body giving out, nearly suffering a heart attack in the process. All the regular crew, especially Freddy, wondered if they'd been too hard on the kid—Freddy in particular wanted to apologize for him. On After the Catch, however, he spoke with his crewmates on the Wizard, and said that, yes, they'd been hard on him, but they were right to be hard on him—it was a demanding job, and his body just wasn't up to it. They had nothing to apologize for. (Freddy's "I'm not sorry" falls into this category as a result, especially since Chris laughed about it.)
Freddy announces to the crew that his fiancee is pregnant and asks Captain Keith if he would be his child's godfather; additionally he tells the crew they're like family. Keith gets positively choked up at the honor. CMO-Funny comes in when the guys realize Freddy's probably never changed diapers before (and assume that in Samoan culture fathers probably don't anyway) so they decide to give him a lesson with a modified teddy bear, a squirt bottle ("It's a boy!"), and a can of beans.
Mike Fourtner of the Time Bandit, in the July 30, 2013 episode, talking about his decision to leave the boat to have time to take care of his wife and kids.
Mike: I want to be Mike The Good Husband and Mike The Good Dad, not Mike From The Time Bandit.
Edgar's words for Sig (who's not present) when he captains the Northwestern to good fishing on their last trip of Opilio Season 2013:
Edgar: Sig, you may not realize it, but you taught me a lot. And I thank you for that.
Edgar pays Captain Elliott a visit after the latter has just exited rehab, letting Elliott know that You Are Not Alone.