Our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy have changed.

By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to the new Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

2 of 11
BACKNEXT
Fisherman
Fisherman
South Carolina shrimper Wayne Magwood.
Fatality rate: 200 per 100,000

Median wages: $23,600

The most perilous job in the U.S. is held by those who fish the waters in cold-weather states. Freezing water and icy boat decks can lead to horrific accidents, and storms can swamp small fishing vessels, sometimes claiming entire crews.

Compounding the danger is catch rules: By limiting fishing seasons, fisheries management creates a race to fish, according to the Environmental Defense Fund.

That forces fishermen out in dangerous weather and keeps exhausted crews on the water. In Alaska, the season for halibut and crab has been, at times, reduced to just three days.

Even warm-water fishers face hazards. Wayne Magwood has shrimped the waters off South Carolina for 40 years and says the biggest danger is heavy machinery, such as the power winches and cables that haul nets and other equipment.

"My dad taught me to keep my shirt tucked in," says Magwood. "Your clothes can get tangled up and you can get pulled overboard. One guy broke his neck recently."

Magwood also lost a friend when the crewman was answering nature's call and a sudden roll pitched him into the water.

"We brought him up in the net," Magwood said.

NEXT: Logger

Last updated August 20 2010: 9:38 AM ET
  • Find Homes for sale
    Real estate and homes for sale on Trulia

  • Property Type
  • Find a home in:
  • New York | Atlanta | Chicago | Los Angeles
  • Washington D.C | Houston | Philadelphia | More options
More Galleries
Here's what costs more than a barrel of oil Oil prices have crashed to below $27 a gallon -- a level not seen since 2003 -- which makes a barrel of crude cheaper than lots of everyday purchases that we don't think twice about. More
Super Bowl 50 ads are studded with celebrities The 2016 Super Bowl has rolled out the red carpet for the likes of Helen Mirren, Amy Schumer, Seth Rogen, Steven Tyler and the late, great Marilyn Monroe. More
The women of marijuana These women entrepreneurs and executives are making their mark in the marijuana industry. More

Special Offer