“Deadliest Catch”’s Jake Anderson Tragic Family Loss

April 18, 2024
8 mins read

Not many things are as intriguing as the sea, yet it couldn’t be said that the ship crews featured in “Deadliest Catch” have it easy while working on Alaska’s Bering Sea. It’s not only the usual difficulties related to the weather and hardships of the job which make it hard for the seamen, but also the tragedies occurring on board the ships, being witnesses to big losses at sea, and the illnesses and life problems faced by many crew members.

While all of the aforementioned issues have been lived by the Saga’s Captain Jake Anderson as well, his case is even quite tragic, considering the many personal hardships he’s gone through since his debut in the show in 2008.

So what are the family misfortunes faced by Jake Anderson from “Deadliest Catch”? Stay here to know all!

What Happened To Jake’s Sister?

While “Deadliest Catch” crews aren’t strangers to misfortunes, Captain Jake Anderson has especially endured a number of losses throughout the last decade.

As many loyal fans of the show remember, his sister Chelsea Dawn died in February 2009, succumbing to a long and enduring illness. The news of her death was announced in the season five episode “Bitter Tears”, in which a heartbroken Jake was told about her passing when working as a deckhand on board the Northwestern.


According to Chelsea’s online obituary, she was born in 1971, and was promptly diagnosed with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis, a disease which includes symptoms such as swelling of the joints, so limiting physical movements and producing stiffness: ‘her body did not allow her to do all the things she wanted, but it didn’t stop her from doing all that she could’, as the website reads.

As her family described her, Chelsea was an active person, whose hobbies included singing, writing, and ‘chasing tornadoes’ so ‘there was little in life that she feared’. However, Chelsea’s life came to an abrupt and unfortunate end when she was only 37 years old, resulting from complications of pneumonia, survived by her parents and five siblings.

Jake’s Tribute To His Sister

Despite all the years which have passed since Chelsea Dawn’s tragic death, Jake Anderson still remembers his older sister with a warm heart. On the eighth anniversary of her passing in 2020, Jake told his Facebook followers some of the enduring times his sister went through, such as having her ‘body (taken) away from her at age 2’ due to her illness: ‘Growing up she was looked at funnily, and constantly taken advantage of. She didn’t care, she remained happy’, he recalled.


According to Jake, when 34-years-old, Chelsea started suffering from seizures and developed abscess, also growing addiction to pain relievers soon afterwards: ‘(it) added to the mental degeneration, she became schizophrenic,’ he wrote. In the same post, Jake affirmed that despite claiming not needing medical attention for her phenomena, Chelsea died only 20 minutes after being brought to the hospital.

While the whole story is heartbreaking to say the least, Jake stated that Chelsea had taught him ‘what strength is’ due her attitude while facing all the enduring situations life threw at her. Although Captain Jake doesn’t often show this sensible side of him, it’s heartwarming to read his short tribute post for Chelsea, and see how deeply he loved his sister.

What Happened To Jake’s Father?

Not long after his sister Chelsea’s death, Jake faced another family tragedy, with the death of his father.

The first sign that something wasn’t right with Jake’s father Keith was revealed in January 2010, when it was reported that he had been missing since early that month. The last known trace of Keith was in Snohomish County, in eastern Washington State, where Jake’s father was visiting the day of his disappearances, as his son Chris affirmed in an interview with Perez Hilton: ‘He came to my house that morning, and we had our regular cup of coffee together’, he said, recalling his father told him about meeting an acquaintance later that day.

Image source

Given how out of character it was for Keith not to come back home, his family reported his disappearance right away. As authorities looked out for him in the areas surrounding Snohomish, some of Keith’s belongings such as his mobile phone and 1999 Ford Ranger were found in the next two weeks. However, nothing hinted at Keith’s possible location regardless of how hard authorities and family searched for him.

Then on a fateful day in June 2012, a hiker found human remains in Skagit County, the same town where two years prior Keith’s truck was found, but previous research had already taken place, according to Komo News.

After a thorough examination, it was determined that the remains belonged to Keith, leaving the Anderson family heartbroken.


Jake’s Thoughts On The Case

A couple of months after Keith Anderson’s disappearance, his family was so desperate about finding him that they looked for help from the media, and used Jake’s popularity from “Deadliest Catch” to spread word about the case.

As Jake said in a 2010 interview with Perez Hilton, he was willing to search for his father no matter how long it took: ‘He wouldn’t give up on us, and I’m not going to give up on him. I just don’t know what to do. We need help’, he admitted.

Although the remains of Keith were found after a year and half of tireless search, his disappearance is still an open wound for the Anderson family, who never found who was responsible for Keith’s death, or had any idea of what really happened on that fateful day in January 2010 when he disappeared. Due to that, in 2022 Jake traveled to Norway to film “Deadliest Catch” spin-off “The Viking Returns”, which in the Captain’s words could help him honor his father’s memory: ‘I’m realizing I’m getting to do something that my father would have always wanted me to do’, he said in the show, about the prospect of fishing in the Scandinavian country of his ancestors.

Whether Jake will ever heal from the hurt of his father’s passing is unknown, but he’s clearly doing his best to keep moving forward.

Other Losses In Jake’s Life

Besides the family tragedies, Jake Anderson has endured, despite also going through other tragic personal losses related to his life on high seas.

Jeff Hathaway & Larry O’Grady

Although the Destination was never officially part of the show, many “Deadliest Catch” fans know about said fishing vessel due to the 13th season episode “Lost At Sea”, which shows the tragedy surrounding its sinking and the death of its six crew in February 2017.

Regarding the reasons for its sinking, a Coast Guard’s investigation department determined the vessel had surpassed its weight limit, thus losing stability and ending in disaster: ‘The loss of the Destination with six persons aboard was a tragic and preventable accident’, the report reads.

The Destination tragedy was the biggest one on the Bering Sea since 2005, and deeply affected the families and loved ones of those involved. For Jake Anderson it meant losing of a mentor and a friend at the same time, as he confessed in an interview with Pop Culture: ‘The funny thing is that everyone calls me a screamer, but my hero was “Hollering” Jeff Hathaway, who was the Captain of the Destination’, he said, adding that he not only admired the lost-at-sea Hathaway, but was also a close friend of Larry O’Grady, another late crew member: ‘it was a big hit for the fleet; it was a big hit for me personally’. As seen in the show, Northwestern Captain Sig Hansen was also a close friend of Captain Hathaway and his crew.


Hannes M. Huswick

2017 was a year of big losses for Captain Jake Anderson, who lamented the death of the Saga’s deckhand Hannes M. Huswick. According to the memorial by the vessel’s crew, Hannes died at home from a heart attack aged just 34.

While not many details about Hannes’ unexpected death were revealed, he was apparently very close to Jake. According to the Saga Captain’s statement, Hannes was not only one of his best friends, but also ‘loyal, charming, hilarious, very quick-witted, sharp as a razor, overqualified for his previous job, and yes, usually a big pain in my ass’, he wrote.

Though the Captain surely had many stories to tell about Hannes, he mostly remembered him for his loyalty and hard-working attitude, as Jake had recently bought the Saga and struggled to make a living out of it.

Given the unexpectedness of Hannes’ passing, his family set up an online funding campaign to cover the cost associated with his funeral, and to financially support his wife and five-year-old daughter. Through the generosity of fans and other people close to the Huswick family, the campaign fortunately surpassed its goal.

How Did Jake Start In Fishing?

While Jake Anderson’s job history includes working in restaurants and being a skateboarder in his free time, by the time he was in his early 20s he was pushed to take fishing as his main activity to support himself. Being a fourth generation fisher meant Jake wasn’t new to the job, thus quickly scaling the ladders in the industry to take the greenhorn spot on board the Northwestern at 26 years old.

As seen in the third season of “Deadliest Catch”, Jake was guided by his Northwestern Captain through his first years in the crew, who became a family figure for him, and gave him a second family: ‘you see us fight like brothers and sisters. We will yell, scream and fight with each other, but at the end of the day, we would die for each other’, he said in an interview with Pop Culture Principle in 2015.

Sure enough, the family environment in the Northwestern made Jake feel welcome despite the usual criticism Captain Sig Hansen threw his way. As years passed, Jake was named deck hand and then relief boss, taking a more important spot in the vessel before he felt it wasn’t enough. Acquiring his Captain license in 2010, Jake left Northwestern in search of new adventures.


Start In The Saga & Feud

After abandoning the Northwestern in the early 2010s, Jake Anderson co-captained the fishing vessel Kiska Sea under the command of Captain Mike Wilson. However, problems with the Kiska Sea’s crew prompted Jake to return to the Northwestern not long afterwards, staying under the command of Sig Hansen for a couple of years more before leaving in 2015 to take the Saga’s skipper position.

Although Captaining the Saga was a dream come true for Jake, the accomplishment didn’t come to him without complaints. According to the vessel’s former Captain and “Deadliest Catch” cast member Elliott Neese, Jake’s position on the Saga was a coverage for TV, and that he remained the true skipper.


Despite Elliott’s infamous statements, Jake not only became the Saga’s official Captain, but also remodeled the vessel and erased all the traces of the former skipper: ‘I made every change that I possibly could with the money that I had at the time. The first thing I changed is this frickin’ captain’s chair and the crew’, as the Inquisitr reported in 2017, when the remodeling had already finished.

While Jake’s start in the Saga was difficult to say the least, he has been honoring his position as a Captain for many years now.

Current & Future Projects

After almost a decade in the show, it’s for sure that the Saga has already become a staple in “Deadliest Catch”. However, having a seemingly secure spot in such a famous show doesn’t stop Jake from giving a try to other exciting adventures.

That’s why in late 2022, Jake joined the crew of the spin-off series “The Viking Returns”, centered on him and Sig Hansen as they travel to Norway to discover their respective families’ history, and connect with their Scandinavian ancestors.


By traveling to his family’s home country, Jake hoped to honor his father the best way possible: ‘He was most proud of being a Norwegian American. I’m sure I would have come here a lot sooner if it wasn’t for what happened to my dad’, as Jake said in the show, referring to his father’s Keith tragedy.

Jake is also currently doing well in his business endeavors, as besides the wide variety of merchandise available on the Saga’s website, Jake started his own coffee brand Kaptein Coffee in association with Scott Sperbeck, a former Bering Sea Captain-turned-businessman.

While it’s unclear what other projects he might have in mind, one thing about Jake Anderson is that he’s always moving forward despite, all the difficulties life has put his way.

Martha Clifford

As an Author at Net Worth Post, I guide a dedicated team in the art of revealing the stories behind the world's most influential personalities. Fueled by a relentless curiosity and a knack for uncovering hidden stories, I immerse myself in the intricacies of our subjects' lives, weaving together accurate data and compelling narratives. My involvement spans the entire editorial process, from the seed of research to the final flourish of publication, ensuring that every article not only educates but also captivates and motivates our audience.

At Net Worth Post, we are committed to providing thorough investigations into the net worth and life achievements of innovators across diverse sectors such as technology, culture, and social entrepreneurship. My method merges meticulous research with eloquent storytelling, designed to bridge the gap between our readers and the remarkable individuals who redefine our tomorrow. Through spotlighting their journeys to success, the hurdles they've surmounted, and their contributions to society, we aim to give our readers a deep and inspiring insight into the luminaries who are paving the way for progress and ingenuity in the modern era.

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