Alaska News

Longtime ‘Deadliest Catch’ star Nick Mavar Jr. dies, authorities say

A longtime star of the “Deadliest Catch” television series died Thursday, according to police.

Nick Mavar Jr. was pronounced dead after police received a 911 call that he had suffered a medical emergency in a Naknek boatyard, said Jeffrey Elbie, chief of the Bristol Bay Borough Police Department. The village of Naknek is located along Bristol Bay about 300 miles southwest of Anchorage.

“Emergency Medical Services responded and transported Nick Mavar Jr. to Camai Medical Center while providing life-saving measures,” Elbie said. “He was pronounced deceased.”

Police are not providing additional information to the public at this time in case someone comes forward with additional details — a standard approach at this point during an investigation, Elbie said.

Several media outlets have reported on Mavar’s death, with fans posting tributes on social media.

The 59-year-old had starred in 98 episodes over 17 seasons of “Deadliest Catch” working as a deckhand on the F/V Northwestern, according to his IMDB page. He also appeared in “Deadliest Catch” spin-offs, such as “Deadliest Catch: Legends Born & Broken.”

Mavar left the show in December 2020 after his appendix ruptured while filming and a cancerous tumor was found, Vanity Fair reported. He sued the owners of the Northwestern, including boat captain Sig Hansen, seeking more than $1 million in damages and blaming a lack of prompt care during the pandemic for leaving him with serious medical problems. The boat’s owners in turn sued the reality TV show’s production company and a contractor, saying they were liable instead for managing health protocols.


Mavar later ran his own salmon boat commercial fishing in Bristol Bay.

Hansen said Friday in a Facebook post that Mavar “was more than a crew member, he was a very good friend and a right hand man.”

News of his death “spread through the fishing community like wild fire,” Hansen said. “This is no surprise because of how well known and respected he was by the fishing fleet.”

Alex DeMarban

Alex DeMarban is a longtime Alaska journalist who covers business, the oil and gas industries and general assignments. Reach him at 907-257-4317 or