You only have to watch Deadliest Catch for a few minutes to realize a couple things. One, crabbers love the f-bomb. And two, Wizard captain Keith Colburn speaks his mind (see clip at bottom). These days he’s running his mouth on boat safety. He’s partnered with Crown Royal to urge boaters to wait until they’re back on dry land before kicking back with a cold one. “Have the greatest day on the water,” he advises. “But don’t be one of those bad statistics.” As the hit Discovery Channel show chugs toward its Season 7 finale, Colburn talks expensive timepieces, smooth whiskey and the myriad parallels between life and crabbing.
MADE MAN: What item do you never leave home without, and why?
KEITH COLBURN: My watch. It’s a Submariner Rolex. It probably goes for four or five grand. My wife surprised me with it in 1999, as a gift for finishing as the number-one boat in the fleet and catching 129,000 pounds of king crab. It’s been on my wrist for well over a decade now.
MM: What’s your drink of choice after a tough day at work?
KC: Crown Royal on the rocks [Editor’s note: duh]. It’s a very smooth-sipping whiskey. It’s something you can sit down with, on land, tell a few stories and just enjoy with some buddies at a nice leisurely pace.
MM: What grooming, style or fitness thing can a guy do in the morning to look good all day?
KC: You’ve got the wrong guy for this one! I’ve never used mousse or cologne or anything like that. I mean, come on, I’m a fisherman, man. But I’d say brush your teeth, that’s kind of crucial.
MM: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received about women, and who gave it to you?
KC: Well, the Wizard is a woman, and when the owner first handed me the keys, he said, “Good luck on this next trip. Don’t let the crew run the boat.”
MM: What can Deadliest Catch teach guys about being better men?
KC: At the end of the day, perseverance and desire are two things that every crabber has to have in order to survive and succeed. And, you know what, perseverance and desire are two things that will help you in pretty much anything that you do in your life. The other thing is, life’s full of forks in the road, and driving a boat is the same way. When you head out, you don’t know right where to go and catch crab. You have to work at it to find them. And then once you find them, you have to work to stay on them. And once you stay on them, you have to work to fill the boat. And once you fill the boat, you gotta work to get back in town to get rid of the crab. So it’s an ongoing process. You never know what’s behind that next wave, and you never know what’s going to be in that next pot. And I’ll tell you what: if you’re a single guy, make like a crabber and just keep setting gear, because eventually you’re going to hit the mother lode.
MM: Wow, that was deep. Any parting words of wisdom?
KC: Yeah. I think Thomas Edison said that every failure is not a setback, but one step forward in achieving success. And I think when you get older you start to realize that. You know, you don’t always have to hit a home run to be successful. You keep hitting singles and doubles, and pretty soon you’re going to start bringing guys in.