meet our crew
The blood, sweat, and tears that go into making the Brenna A run.
Hank Todd joined the crew of the Brenna A for King Crab 2017 as a deckhand and cook. His positive attitude and flare for storytelling keeps the crew laughing for hours.
"His stories go on for multiple pots. He will start while we are sorting crab, stop to haul the next pot and pick up right where he left off when we start sorting again. He never misses a beat." -Capt. Sean Dwyer
Hank may be the newest member of the crew but the fishing industry is small and these guys have a friendship that goes beyond the Bering Sea. "My favorite part about working on the Brenna is that we are all friends and hang out together at home." He spends his time in the off season enjoying the outdoor activities PNW has to offer.
As the 'designated culinary specialist', he spends a lot of time in the galley whipping up meals for the guys. "My favorite meal to make is Shepard's Pie. I don't know about the rest of the crew but I can eat that for every meal, 5 days in a row."
If you have been watching the 'Deadliest Catch' for many years then you all know who Zack Larson is and what his background is in the fishing industry. After 8 years working under his dad, Capt. Wild Bill, Zack joined the Brenna A mid-season in 2016. His willingness to to jump in when Sean was in a bind, earned him the spot as engineer.
Working with a new captain has given Zack a different perspective of what leadership looks like. "Both my dad and Sean really care about their crew members. I think Sean has a more diplomatic approach when it comes to our opinions. He really values them." Sean and Zack have personalities that mesh well together and removing the father-son dynamic has been a relief.
Having a crew of guys around the same age, managed by a younger captain has opened the door for teamwork and communication. They all feel a sense of ownership on the boat. "It's such a small team. Seeing my individual impact is pretty cool." The Bering Sea is unforgiving and having a group that can work together to solve problems and fix things that need to be fixed is the key to survival.
In the summer, Zack maintains his status as engineer on the Brenna A while she tenders salmon in Bristol Bay and SE Alaska. He spends his off-time during the spring and holiday months in Mexico or traveling with his wife Dulce.
Former deckhand on the F/V Cornelia Marie, Willy joined the Brenna A mid-season in 2016. His willingness to fish cod earned him a permanent spot on the crew. His background in fishing comes from a long line of Norwegian family members based out of the Ballard area in Seattle, WA. When he's not crabbing he's fishing salmon on his gill-net boat 'The Finnegan' in Bristol Bay, Alaska.
His experience working on a variety of crab boats has given him him a strong sense of what he likes to see in a captain. "What I like about Sean is that he listens to our ideas. He doesn't let his ego get in the way of moving forward with improvements." Finding and utilizing the strengths that each guy brings to the table keeps the team morale high as well as the respect for their captain.
Willy spends his off-time traveling the world and enjoying a life of well earned leisure. Being away from friends and family for such long periods of time deserves a solid break every once in a while.
With Alaska roots and a home growing up that was split between Miami and Brasil, this greenhorn has well rounded background in fishing. But as the youngest member of the crew, Luke Murkowski has a lot to live up to. Not only is he new to crabbing but he is a member of Sean's extended family, putting even more pressure on him to succeed. "The hardest part about working for family is that no matter what, I cannot give up. If I quit then I'd be letting down my own blood. It's also my motivation." The two have been close cousins since they were kids and Luke has spent the last 4 summers working on the Brenna A during the salmon tendering season.
Being a greenhorn has proven to be a challenge both mentally and physically. "I have to do all of the sh***y jobs that nobody else wants to do." That list of jobs can vary from cleaning up messes to having to be out on deck longer than everyone else. Crabbing pushes muscles past the point of weakness and on some days the thought of getting back out on deck is agonizing. Money and a team mentality keep these guys getting back out there day after day. "These guys have invested their time in me by teaching, and I have to give it back."
Relief Captain/Capt. of the F/V Jennifer A
Kjell Stewart has joined Sean and the crew as an extra hand and captain for the last couple of years. Having Kjell as a relief captain allows the Brenna A to fish around the clock during the cod season which is still a derby style fishery. Sean splits time between the captains chair and the deck to relieve the crew members while Kjell takes a longer shift behind the wheel. During Opilio season they both split time evenly behind the wheel in order to maintain a regular sleep schedule.
In the summer, Kjell captains the other boat owned by the Dwyer family, the Jennifer A. Both boats spend up to 3 months in Alaska tendering salmon.
WITH SEAN & THE CREW
What is the scariest event that has happened at sea?
I once watched a crab pot get washed over the rail before we were ready to pull it up. The pot came down on top of a guy and smashed him to the deck. I thought
he was dead. He lived but it reminded me how quickly things can
Hank Todd, Deckhand
What is your least favorite part about working on a boat?
Sleeping in a bunk bed.
I don't know how many times I've racked my head or elbow on
Zack Larson, Engineer
To be a good fisherman,
I think you have to be a little stupid. You can't overthink things. You have to be able to keep a calm head in challenging situations and know that the answer is to never give up.
Willy Manchester, Deckhand