Captain Sig Hansen is the long-time Norwegian-American captain of the commercial fishing boat, FV Northwestern, and a star of Discovery Channel’s “Deadliest Catch”. He’s one of the show’s most famous faces, and regularly features alongside his family members. One pivotal member of his family, —his wife— June Hansen was diagnosed with cancer in one of the show’s episodes. Let’s dive into their lives, and find out more about June’s cancer diagnosis, her health updates, and the family’s current activities.

Who is Captain Sig Hansen?

Sig Hansen has been a captain for the past 20 years, catching a variety of fish mainly king and opilio crab and cod. He serves as the technical advisor for “Deadliest Catch”, along with another starring role in the spinoff, “Deadliest Catch: The Viking Returns”.

His early life and educational background

Sigurd Jonny Hansen was born on 28th April 1966, in Seattle, Washington State USA, to Norwegian parents, the eldest child followed by two brothers, Norman and Edgar. Their father, Sverre Hansen is a descendent of a long line of Norwegian fishermen, as Sig’s grandfather and great-grandfather were the pioneers of opilio crab fishing in Alaskan waters, aiming to provide crab boats a way of earning the entire year, instead of only during the peak seasons.

At home, the family embraced their Norwegian roots and spoke Norwegian, which was Sig and his brother’s first language. This gave him trouble adapting at school so much so, that his first grade teacher sent him home with a note one day, which read ‘Teach him English. Stop speaking Norwegian!’. Growing up, Sig was very interested in fishing, and became involved at the age of 14 on the family boat, often cutting class to go out on the waters. Luckily for him, this avid interest eventually turned into a lifelong passion and eventually a career!

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His interest in the sea

As soon as he matriculated from Shorewood high school, the young Sig began fishing full-time, spending an average of 10 months a year on the Bering Sea off Alaska, and during the summer, he fished other species such as mackeral and cod in his father’s native Norway. Over the years, he became more and more familiar with the waters he spent so much time on, and gradually climbed the ladder of leadership aboard the FV Northwestern. At just 22, Sig became the relief skipper, aiding other captains along with helping on short-haul stints around the other boats in their fleet. At age 24, he finally became the full-time captain of the FV Northwestern, and has since kept that role for almost 20 years.

The Show— “Deadliest Catch”

The series made its premiere on the Discovery Channel on 12 April, 2005, revolving around the lives of King crab and snow crab fishermen aboard their fishing vessels, based on the Bering Sea in Alaskan waters. The fishing fleet has its base of operations in the Aleutian Islands port of Dutch Harbor, Alaska. The show portrays a fleet of ships such as the F/V Time Bandit, F/V Patricia Lee, F/V Cornelia Marie and FV Northwestern. It shows the crews of each ship during their fishing expeditions throughout the seasons, showcasing friendly rivalry and competition amongst the ships. Some of the ships are owned and operated by families, and viewers get a taste of the family relations working together at sea. One such family is the Hansens: Captain Sig Hansen acts as captain, and the co-owner of the ship alongside his brothers Edgar who serves as the Deck Boss, and Norman as the Deck Hand.

How long has the show been running?

Since its premiere in 2005, the show has had 18 seasons and 309 episodes, and has been shown in 150 countries. Captain Sig is one of the longest-running cast members of the series, having starred in every season since the premiere. His boat is one of the highest performers of the entire fleet, with Sig as its expert captain at the helm.

Spin-off Show

Seeing the success of the original show, the producers launched the spin-off called “Deadliest Catch: The Viking Returns”, which focuses on the Hansen family’s king crab commercial fishing with the cast including fan-favorite Captain Sig, his daughter Mandy and her husband Clark. The premier was aired on 13 September 2022 and showcases the Hansens changing their fishing location from Alaska to Norway. The lock down caused by global pandemic Covid-19, saw the King crab fishery officially shut down, and hence the family move to the coast of Norway to fish. The family aspire to catch more than $1 million in catches, and seek the help of the M/S Stalbas in doing so. Their also need the help of “Deadliest Catch” cast mate, captain of FV Saga, Jake Anderson; Mandy negotiates a deal of 10% ownership stake. It is revealed that Mandy took the percentage she offered him from her own share in the expedition. Still in its first season, it is too early to say much about this spin-off, and the commercial fishing result.

His Health Scares

The Captain is no stranger to health scares, having experienced them himself, shocking his family and viewers alike. His first happened on the 27th July 2016 when Sig suddenly fell unconscious during one of their fishing expeditions. Upon regaining consciousness, Sig wanted to continue the trip, but was eventually convinced by the crew members to seek immediate medical attention. As soon as the boat reached Dutch Harbor, he was airlifted to Anchorage hospital to receive medical attention, where it was revealed that he had suffered a heart attack. In an interview with Yahoo, he revealed, ‘It was a strange heart attack. It wasn’t like you see in the movies. I had this really sharp, sharp pain, like a knife, right behind my chest plate. It just kept pushing, and it was making me more angry…’. Initially, Sig didn’t realize the gravity of the situation, but once he did, the captain had to make a number of changes to his lifestyle, including eating healthier, as well as frequent exercise.

His second health scare occurred in October of 2018, when Sig experienced an allergic reaction to the antibiotics he was taking for a sinus infection, which caused a second heart attack more serious than the first. After receiving medical attention and being cleared by his doctors, the captain continued filming the 15th season of the show. Later it was revealed that he was caught smoking in the hospital; embarrassed, he put efforts into quitting the habit, and successfully so, says he’s never touched a cigarette since the time he was caught red-handed.

Other Careers

Published Author

Sig once admitted that he doesn’t read many books, dismissing the idea of ever writing one about his life. He’s revealed that people often suggest he write a biography, but he couldn’t be bothered with all the trouble. He changed his mind when a publicist connected him to an outdoor writer based in Montana, Mark Sundeen, who was interested in helping Sig tell his story. Finally, in 2010, Sig became an author with his book entitled “North By Northwestern: A Seafaring Family on Deadly Alaskan Waters”. The book became a best seller shortly after its release, and made it onto the Wall Street Journal and New York Times best seller lists.

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Television Appearances

Alongside his starring role in “Deadliest Catch”, Sig has made various television appearances over the years. In April of 2010, Sig was one of the guests on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno”, on which he expressed his wish to be one of the contestants on the ABC reality show, “Dancing With the Stars”. Jay Leno lent a helping hand to Sig by setting up a Facebook page in search of viewer’s support for Sig to be selected, but unfortunately the Captain hasn’t been invited to date. He showcased his talents on the show “Celebrity Apprentice”, when he competed in the 14th season. He then had a voice role as Crabby the Boat— with a similar model as his own FV Northwestern— in the second installation of Disney Pixar’s animation, “Cars 2”.

Other Achievements

Captain Sig Hansen has no doubt achieved a lot in his lifetime; he has his own opinion on his greatest achievement, believing that it’s maintaining the flawless record left by his father of never losing a single life at sea. His boat is one of the most productive on the show, both in terms of safety and abundance of catches: the injury rate at sea is comparatively the lowest amongst the other ships in the Bering Fleet—an impressive achievement considering the fact that commercial fishing is one of the most dangerous activities in the world.

Almost 20 years since Sig became captain of the boat, it’s quite an astonishing record he’s managed to keep! Under Sig’s command, the commercial fishing boat has enjoyed a lot of success over the years; in 2005 and 2006, the boat won the Derby seasons for King Crab and Opilio, respectively, awarded the titles for ‘highest poundage caught and highest dollars earned’ among the other boats on “Deadliest Catch”. Another achievement came in 2014, when Sig was among the inductees into the Scandinavian-American Hall of fame, alongside singer Bobby Vee and the “Tonight Show” bandleader, Doc Severinsen.

Sexual Assault Allegations

In 1990, Captain Sig faced assault allegations of sexually abusing his then-toddler aged daughter, Melissa Eckstrom. The allegations came during a particularly ugly divorce and custody case from his first wife, Lisa Eckstrom. The then 2-year-old Melissa allegedly complained to her relatives about her father’s sexual abuse towards her, which attracted the attention of child welfare officers and the police. Eventually, there were medical exams, police investigations and reviews into the allegations. After a lengthy review, Snohomish County prosecutors reached the conclusion that Sig Hansen was innocent, despite which his ex-wife obtained full custody of their daughter, and the father-daughter duo became estranged from each other.

Almost three decades later, a now adult Melissa filed a lawsuit against her estranged father in the same case. Melissa— who is currently a family law attorney based in Seattle— stated in her lawsuit that she suffered from suicidal thoughts, eating disorders, and depression amongst other traumas. After another review into the case by Snohomish County prosecutors, they once again reached the conclusion that Sig was innocent. Following that decision along with a six-day trial, a King County Judge reached the same conclusion, and as a result Sig will not face any criminal charges. An unsurprised Sig said in a statement, ‘… not surprised that the conclusion Snohomish County prosecutors reached today is the same as the one they reached back in 1990”. Similar to his position in 1990, Sig believes that the charges have been concocted by his ex-wife in an attempt to tarnish his reputation, and relationship with his since estranged daughter. He maintains his innocence, and is supported by his family.

Captain Sig Hansen’s Wife, June Hansen

June Hansen is an Norwegian-American woman, originally from the island of Karmoy in Norway. Not much information is available on her early life, family history or educational background since her private details have been kept out of the limelight. She had a previous marriage, although it is unknown with whom. June and Sig met, fell in love prior to their marriage in 2001, tying the knot in an intimate ceremony in the presence of their friends and family. Sig adopted June’s two daughters, Mandy and Nina.

Her diagnosis

June’s shocking diagnosis came not long after her husband suffered a heart attack at sea. During one of the episodes of the 15th season, Sig received a phone call from his wife. Acknowledging that it was unusual for her to call when he was out at sea unless there was an emergency, he took the call away from the camera, leaving his daughter Mandy to helm the boat. After the call, he revealed to the cameras, ‘It sounds like my wife has a form of cancer…’. The cancer had been detected on an area around her neck, but it was too early to know exactly how severe it was. An obviously shaken Sig could not continue fishing and called-off the expedition, telling the camera that although the waters further north looked good, he had to return to land, reiterating that his wife’s health was his top priority saying, ‘… We’re not going anywhere until I know how my wife is. She’s always been there for me, and I will be there for her’.

Fortunately, June was diagnosed early enough for the doctors to start her treatment immediately, and within two months her doctors declared her cancer free, much to the delight of her family and friends. Clearly, the early detection and immediate chemotherapy she was put on worked wonders, and possibly saved her life.

More about the family

Sig and June Hansen have been married for 21 years, and have a lifetime of memories with a loving family. The couple are parents to Nina and Mandy, who were both raised in Seattle; interestingly, their first language was Norwegian since they spent so much time with Sig’s parents. Both daughters have made a home and even started their own families, making Sig and June grandparents! Nina is blessed with a son named Jackson, while Mandy has a daughter named Sailor Marie. In one of the episodes, Sig got to meet his granddaughter Sailor Marie for the first time— making it an emotional and heart-warming episode for the viewers.

Following in Sig’s footsteps

Sig’s younger daughter, Mandy is keen on following in her father’s footsteps, inheriting his love for the sea and fishing. She is a student at the Maritime Institute in San Diego, and is a regular on “Deadliest Catch: The Viking Returns”, making the best of her classroom and real-world experiences. She serves as a relief captain on the FV Northwestern, with her husband Clark serves as the deck hand. Following her father’s health scares, Mandy is preparing to take over the ship in the near future. With all her experience and alongside her husband, viewers can easily see the new generation of Hansens helm the boat.

Embracing their heritage

The Hansen family have embraced their Norwegian heritage over the years, all speaking Norwegian at home; and every year the family walk in Ballard’s annual Norwegian Constitution Day Parade in Seattle. Another family tradition they have is visiting Norway, particularly the island of Karmoy which produced the Hansen’s parents, as well as the wives of Sig and Edgar. What a coincidence!

Where can you find the Hansens?

Shortly after his wife’s recovery from cancer, the pair dressed up to attend the 71st Creative Arts Emmy Awards at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. The show “Deadliest Catch” was nominated in two categories: “Outstanding Unstructured Reality Program” and “Outstanding Cinematography for a Reality Program”. The couple looked their best, healthy and happy, joined by their daughter Mandy and her husband Clark. When they’re not out at sea fishing on camera, the family enjoy a quiet life in their home in Seattle. The Hansen’s are a close-knit family, and maintain their private life away from the public eye. Sig is an avid supporter of the Seattle sports teams, the Mariners (baseball) and the Seahawks (American Football).

Most recently, Sig visited boat-makers Cobalt for a showing of their new family boat. Seeking to spoil his family, Sig purchased the new 2023 Model R8 Surf as the family pleasure boat. He’s no doubt very excited to get back on the waters with his family, and expressed his happiness in spoiling them.

What is the Net Worth of the Hansens?

Sig Hansen has made most of his salary and net worth from his job as Captain of FV Northwestern, starring on most of the episodes of the long-running television show, and selling his catches. He also earns from his book sales, as well as serving as a technical advisor on the show. As of 2022, the captain is worth around $4 million. Although it is unclear exactly how much the rest of his family make, it is clear that the majority of their earnings are from appearing in the show and selling their catches. It’s safe to say that this seafaring family earn quite an impressive income. Judging by the success of the show, their individual and collective net worth is likely to increase in the coming years. We wish the family all the best in their endeavors!

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