It’s really not easy to spend several months per year on the high seas, but someone has to do the job. That’s exactly what everyone thinks while watching “Deadliest Catch”, one of Discovery’s longest running and successful reality shows to date.
However, after almost two decades on air and having featured many crews, boats and Captains, some of them certainly stay in our memory more than others. The latter is the case of Sean Dwyer, Captain of the Brenna A, who despite having interrupted appearances in the show, is known as one of the youngest and most prolific skippers ever showcased in “Deadliest Catch”.
Given his on and off presence in the show throughout the years, you’re surely wondering what he’s doing now, if he’s ever returning to the show, and whatever happened to his boat.
So are you ready to know all about Sean Dywer’s current life, family and business? Then stay with us!
Where Is He Now?
After over a decade on air, “Deadliest Catch” has never failed at keepíng us on the edge of our seats, with the cast’s dangerous but undeniable eye-catching adventures on high seas. That also includes Captain Sean Dwyer, whose appearances in latest seasons have grown his popularity and turned him into one of the most well-liked skippers in the show.
While the Captain’s appearances in “Deadliest Catch” have been a success, recently becoming a father for the first time wasn’t easy for a man who spends so many months per year on a boat. As seen during the 18th season, homesickness added to the nostalgic feeling of remembering his father, makes Sean emotional from time to time: ‘My wife and my dad never got a chance to meet. God, it makes me sad just thinking about that’, he admitted to the show’s audience: ‘I’m really sad that he didn’t get to meet Bri and his granddaughter’, he said, in reference to his wife Brianna and baby daughter Blakely.
His young family isn’t the only good thing in Sean’s current life, though. Not only is his family’s fishing business St George Marine Inc doing as well as ever, but the fame he’s gained through TV gained Sean sponsoring deals with gear and clothing brands. All in all, Captain Sean is apparently having a good life nowadays, and that couldn’t make us happier.
Did He Change Boats?
Ever since his debut in “Deadliest Catch” in 2016, the audience has seen Sean Dwyer behind the wheel of the Brenna A, the boat his family has owned since 2005, when his father Pat was still the Captain.
Given that the Brenna A vessel was always there to catch Opilio, “Deadliest Catch” audience was genuinely surprised to see Sean switching boats in the middle of the 18th season, to become Elinore J’s skipper. However, this isn’t a change you should worry about, as exchanging the skipper spot of his family’s boats is usual for Sean due to the season’s requirements. Moreover, the Elinore J, usually Captained by Zack Larson, was more fitting for Sean to go looking for Dungeness crab than the Brenna A.
Switching boats isn’t exclusive to Sean, though – other Captains have previously changed boats in the show, either for preference or financial issues. In Sean’s case, this is apparently the way things regularly work in St George Marine Inc.+
How Many Boats Does His Family Own?
It’s not rare to discover that fishing families in the Bering Sea have kept said tradition for several generations. However, while Captain Sean Dwyer’s family is nowadays thriving in crab fishing, the truth is that they’re fairly new to the business compared to others.
According to the Brenna A’s website, it wasn’t until the late 1980s that Sean’s parents Pat and Jennifer bought the St. George, their first boat. Nonetheless, the young family remained on shore, while the boat roamed the seas under the command of Captain David Parkes and his crew until 1992, when the ship disappeared and left no trace or survivors.
The boat formerly known as F/V Determined is now F/V Elinore J! Welcome to the Dwyer Fleet.
Posted by Deadliest Catch World on Saturday, June 1, 2019
That tragedy marked the end of Sean’s parents first investment in fishing, but they hadn’t given up yet. In 1995 the couple bought the Gold N’ Star, a boat built in 1978 and roamed by the Sawyers as Jennifer A. Ten years passed until the second boat of St. George Marine’s float came with the purchase of Shishaldin, rebaptized by the family as Brenna A.
In 2019 Sean made the first big move since becoming the head of his family’s business with the purchase of the Determined, nowadays known as the vessel Elinore J. All in all, the effort and hard work of the Dwyer family has been well paid throughout the years.
Who Are Sean’s Crew?
Every ship needs a competent and hardworking crew to function well, so it’s every Captain’s duty to choose only the best for his team.
Although there are several men in Captain Sean Dwyer’s crew who fit these characteristics, some stand out more than others. For a start, Willy Manchester has enough experience to hold the position of deckhand with no problems. Coming from a long tradition of Norwegian fishers, Manchester became known by “Deadliest Catch”s audience during the times he boarded the Cornelia Marie, before joining Captain Dwyer’s crew in 2016.
“If you could pick your ultimate crew from any boat, at any time, who would you pick and why?”Introducing our…
Posted by F/V Brenna A & Capt. Sean Dwyer on Wednesday, October 18, 2017
Later in 2017, the deckhand Hank Todd also joined the Brenna A. He’s highly praised on the ship both for being the head cook and also for his storytelling. Then comes Luke Murkowski, the ship’s greenhorn deckhand, and the youngest member of Dwyer’s fleet.
Other important crew members are Zack Larson, known by the audience as the son of Summer Bay’s Captain ‘Wild’ Bill Wichrowski; while Larson usually performs engineering duties on the Brenna A, he’s also Captain of the vessel Elinore J. Then comes Kjell Stewart, who serves both as a relief Captain of the Brenna A during cod season, and is Jennifer A’s Captain during salmon season. Last but not least, in the summer of 2022 Nick Jones temporarily took the helm of the Brenna A, of which he was previously an engineer.
Who Was Sean’s Father?
Nowadays the Brenna A and fellow boats owned by the Dwyer family are fortunately doing well in business. However, neither the success of St. George Marine and Sean would be possible if it wasn’t for his father Patrick Ford Dwyer.
Native from Seattle, Pat was born in 1961 into a family with no connections to the fishing business. After graduating with a Mechanics degree from South Seattle Community College, Pat’s deep knowledge about engines gained him a summer job on board of a fishing boat roaming the Puget Sound’s waters, in the Pacific Ocean. However, Pat was met with disappointment after spending a season fishing crab in Kodiak Island, returning then to Seattle where he met Jennifer, whom he married and had two children with.
Pat and Jenny bought the now wrecked St. George vessel in the late 1980s, starting their family’s first exploit in the fishery business. Although the tragedy of the St. George led Pat to pursue a corporate job, his dream was never lost and after purchasing the Jennifer A, the Dwyer’s patriarch successfully managed one vessel from shore, while working in a fishery company, and raising two kids with his beloved Jenny.
What Happened To Pat?
For a man whose family wasn’t really involved with the fishing business, Pat Dwyer was deeply committed to his duty as a ship owner. Pat soon found a place in the industry by serving on several ‘boards and organizations’, becoming a known name in the field in the 2000s as the rationalization of the crabbing industry took place: ‘His leadership in regulatory and governmental affairs involving crabbing kept him at the center of the industry’, as the Brenna A’s website reads.
However, in 2005 terrible news hit the family when Pat was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a disease which affects nerves and alters the muscle control of those who suffer from it.
As Pat dealt with his diagnosis, he didn’t let go of his dream and purchased the Brenna A right away, securing not only the future of his family, but also integrating his children Brenna and Sean into it. That also marked Sean’s start in the industry, preparing him to take the helm of the St. George Marine’s company once his father retired in the early 2010s.
Unfortunately, in 2013 Pat passed away after battling the ALS disease for several years. Nonetheless, he inspired his family and loved ones in so many ways: ‘Being diagnosed with ALS never meant he stopped living, for Pat it was a start’, as stated on their website.
Pat Dwyer’s life story not only encouraged his loved ones and crew to battle adversity, and become the person they wanted to be: ‘My dad was my best friend. His passing was hard but I am reminded everyday of why I do what I do’, as written by Captain Sean on his website.
Here's the deal…YOU drink a pint of Brenna A Amber Lager, and WE donate $1 to @ALSTDI. #inRedmond #endALS #pintsforapurpose pic.twitter.com/nYnaBLSf9S
— Wild Ride Brewing (@WildRideBrewing) October 24, 2017
To help people dealing with the same disease which affected Pat, Sean uses the fame he gained in “Deadliest Catch” to collect funds for the ALS Therapy Development Institute and its research programs, whose missions are to develop medicaments, treatment and a possible cure for the disease. By raising awareness about ALS, Sean and his family look to honor the late Pat: ‘(he) was diagnosed with ALS and lived for eight years with grace, humor, resilience, courageousness and innovation to show his goals for life’, as the non-profit organization’s website states. To date, the Pat Dwyer Fund has raised over $300,000.
All in all, it’s relieving to know that Sean is not only a hardworking man and charismatic leader, but also someone who really cares for others.
Captain Sean’s Career
Having a family so involved with a business could put lots of pressure on a child’s shoulders, but for Sean Dwyer the real challenge was to continue his father’s legacy, and make his efforts worth it.
At only 13 years old, Sean was already on board the Jennifer A while it caught salmon during the Alaskan summers. Starting his fishing career so young allowed Sean to not only learn the basics and eventually all aspects of the business, but also reflect on what he really wanted to get out of life. That’s why he attended the South Seattle Community College in search of a Mechanics degree, just as his father Pat did three decades before. After Sean’s graduation in 2012, he went back to the high seas, where his father, despite being physically unable to guide his son, taught him everything he knew about the business.
Sadly, Pat couldn’t see his dream of seeing his two boats fishing together becoming true, but Sean has done his best to make it a reality, even if his father is no longer by his side. That’s also the reason why despite the financial struggles it implied, now Captain Sean’s expanded his family’s float even more with the purchase of the Elinore J in 2019.
Becoming a Captain on the Bering Sea at 23 years old was challenging for Sean Dwyer, but that pressure surely increased tenfold when the Brenna A was featured in detail for the first time in “Deadliest Catch” back in 2015. Not only was that the first time he was featured in a TV show, but also his experience behind the helm of his ship was zero.
That being said, it didn’t take long for Sean to gain not only the respect of his fellow Captains, but also the praise of the audience, who were impressed to see such a young man struggling to maintain the family’s business, while honoring his father’s legacy.
Nowadays, “Deadliest Catch” isn’t Sean’s only TV exploit, as he’s already been showcased in several spin-offs of the series, such as the popular “The Bait”, the documentary “Greenhorn”, and the TV movie “Bering Sea Triangle”, to name a few. As well, Sean has expanded his involvement with the franchise by taking part behind the camera as a consultant.
While Captain Sean Dwyer’s TV career has been successful to say the least, he’s also given a try to other types of media. In 2019 he and his crew were featured in the independent documentary “The Youngest Captain”, which offers a deep insight into his mission as the Brenna A’s skipper to honor his father’s legacy while walking his own path.
The short movie was directed by David Bolen and BreakWater Studios, and was sponsored by XTRATUF, a local brand of fishing and sporty clothes of which Sean is an ambassador. “The Youngest Captain” was so successful that it won a Webby Award in the “People’s Voice” category.
That being said, the success of Sean’s career both as a Captain and on TV is resulting from his genuine personality, direct approach to problems, and never ending passion for what he does, resulting in just hard work.