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Deadliest Catch Crew Is in a 'Race Against Time' as Capt. Sig Hansen Says 'Expect the Unexpected' in Season 20

Client: Captain Sig Hansen – Talent

Captain Sig Hansen is ready to tackle season 20 of Deadliest Catch!

When Deadliest Catch first premiered on Discovery Channel in 2005, Hansen could have never predicted that it would still be filming today. He tells PEOPLE he thinks the authenticity of the series is what keeps viewers coming back, especially as they prepare to usher in the landmark 20th season on June 11.

“I mean, we're fishing anyway — we’re not going to do anything else — and for me, it's kind of fun to do the show as well because with fishing, one year or one season to the next, you just don't know what's going to happen,” he says. “Expect the unexpected, right?”

That certainly appears to be the case in a teaser for the upcoming season, which PEOPLE can exclusively debut. "This is more than just fishing to make money, it's a race against time," Hansen can be heard saying in the clip as the crew prepares to set sail on the rocky waters of the Bering Sea.

From the challenges they're expecting to face — "This year, we have to fish like every string is the last string we're ever gonna set," another Captain can be hear saying in the clip — to factors out of their control, the new season is sure to bring everything from "dog-eat-dog" drama and injuries to a fire outbreak, lots of tears and unexpected twists.

"Every split second could mean the difference between life and death," Hansen says as the clip ends on an intense note.

Speaking to PEOPLE about his time on the show, Hansen jokes that reaching the 20th season makes him “feel old,” but it's also introduced him to a lifestyle he never expected to live.

“Before the program, my life was strictly fishing, that's it,” the F/V Northwestern captain recalls. “I mean, I didn't know how the world existed around me at all. It just showed me differences in the world, and even in the television industry, I get to see how things work.”

Still, the fandom and award shows come with added stress. Hansen admits having an additional crew on the boat while doing an already intense and dangerous job can weigh on him.

“It's a love-hate relationship, because it's not easy having camera guys on the boat,” he says. “It's not easy to do that job. It's very difficult and it's stressful.”

The life of crab fishermen is unique, and Hansen says he thinks viewers have become invested in the show not only because of the excitement, but also to keep up with the people on it.

“I think that's one of the main reasons we’ve been on there for 20 years, they haven't replaced us or looked for other boats,” Hansen says. “I think it's because my recipe’s always been fishing first, cameras second. That priority, I think, is what really helped me.”

From experiencing a heart attack on camera to welcoming his granddaughter, Hansen says the show has been a time capsule of so many personal memories in his life. He admits it isn’t always pleasant to rewatch certain moments, but having so much of his life documented is special.

“I love the word the time capsule because that's what it is,” he says. “You look back and you think, ‘Man, did that happen? And it happened that way.’ There's a lot of good memories and a lot of painful ones too, that you get to relive all the time.”

As for the upcoming season, Hansen says the “derby-style” fishing and former greenhorn Jake Anderson rejoining him on his boat brings a new energy to the show. He also experiences a first in his career, and it is all caught on camera.

“El Niño was really rough this last fall,” he explains. “We had a man overboard, and for me, that never happened. But it happened this time.”

He adds: “Derby [race] is not easy. Derby is very dangerous. You don't stop, and so every minute counts.”

In addition to Hansen and Anderson, this season will feature Keith Colburn facing life-threatening emergencies on F/V Wizard; Wild Bill Wichrowski fighting for his legacy on the F/V Summer Bay; and Johnathan Hillstrand coming out of retirement on the F/V Time Bandit.

Steve Harley Davidson and Jack Bunnell will also risk it all with an upgrade to the 126-foot F/V Pacific Mariner; Sophia “Bob” Nielsen is set to honor her late father on the F/V Seabrooke; and Jacob Hutchins will make a play for relief captain on Rick Shelford’s F/V Aleutian Lady.

Looking ahead, Hansen says he would never leave the docuseries and doesn't see it ending anytime soon. "It's just been a quite a run," he says. "I think it's going to go for a lot longer. I really do."

Season 20 of Deadliest Catch kicks off with a two-hour premiere on Tuesday, June 11 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Discovery Channel.


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