Take a dozen down-on-their-luck people and send them to the edge of the world to mine for gold then mix in the fact that the gold is hiding under the Bering Sea and you get Bering Sea Gold. Produced by the same people who brought you Deadliest Catch and clearly inspired by Gold Rush!, This Docu Soap Reality TV show first aired on The Discovery Channel in January of 2012. Season 13 began on April 30, 2021.
Each summer the crews of a flotilla of floating dredges put to sea from Nome, Alaska to mine gold from the floor of the Bering Sea. The winter mining season results in the crews using lightweight sled-mounted suction dredges positioned over holes cut in the sea ice.
See also Deadliest Catch for crab fishing in the deep open Bering Sea and Gold Rush! for inland gold mining in Alaska and Canada.
This series provides examples of the following:
- Alaska: The entire series takes place in and around Nome, on the west end of the Alaskan mainland.
- The Alleged Boat: These machines are custom-built by way of being cobbled together from whatever bits and pieces the operators can find. Remember, there are no roads overland connecting Nome with the rest of the world. Everything must come in by plane or barge.
- The Bet: Near the end of season 3, Steve Pomrenke and Shawn Schimschat bet an ounce of gold on who can get more gold during the end of the season. Shawn's excavator blows a hydraulic hose, ending his season prematurely, costing him the bet.
- Cool Boat: The Cristine Rose and later the AU (Gold) Grabber are medium sized barge mounted bucket dredges and qualify much more than the smaller suction dredges.
- Failure Is the Only Option: Some of the crews have closed out their seasons with barely enough gold to cover the palms of their hands. Some have ended their seasons deeper in debt than when they started.
- Giant Wall of Watery Doom: This one's all about perspective.
- To a sub-25 foot pontoon boat suction dredge, 2 foot waves can be a problem. A 5 foot wave can swamp your dredge boat, but a 10 foot wave might capsize and / or sink it.
- To the 100 foot bucket dredges, it takes slightly rougher seas to convince the captain to pull the plug and make the 5 mile run back to port. Although a 10 foot wave can still be a problem.
- Misfit Mobilization Moment: The start of the mining season in sping might count, but not all of the dredges are ready at the same time. The morning after a storm blows out will see this trope played out at the wharf / mouth of the harbor.
- Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: Not only the possibly mismatched crews of the dredges, but the dredges themselves hardly look like they're capable of getting the job done.
- "Well Done, Son" Guy: At the end of season 3, Steve Pomrenke finally congratulates his son Shawn for his improved gold-catching performance that year, in spite of their normally contentious relationship.