Shipwreck Men

TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
Shipwreck Men TV Poster Image
Marine salvage-biz series has lots of salty vocab.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

The show includes themes like hard work and family, but also highlights some of the underhanded practices that are common in the profession.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Some of the companies are family run, and go back generations.


Boat fires and other dangerous situations are shown. The men often yell and threaten each other when racing to get to a job. Salvage crews dive into waters with little protection from marine life and/or potential accidents. Brief conversations are had about finding people who have drowned when boats capsize.


Contains lots of salty vocab, including "damn," "ass," "bitch," "hell," and bleeped curses like "s--t" and "f--k."


The logos for each of the companies are prominently featured. The Honda logo is also visible on boat engines.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Cigarette smoking is visible.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Shipwreck Men is a reality series full of salty language. As men compete for jobs, they often yell and threaten each other and often resort underhanded tactics to secure jobs. Some of the cast members smoke cigarettes.

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What's the story?

SHIPWRECK MEN is a reality series that follows marine salvage and towing companies as they compete for jobs on the waters around Southern Florida. It features Ricky Arnold, Sr., owner of Arnold's Towing and Salvage; Kurt Korpela, the owner of Atlantis Marine; Ryan Sewell, owner of Downrite Marine; and rookie Chuck Hansen, the owner of Fast Response. From towing stalled and/or grounded boats back to the docks, to putting out major fires on yachts and keeping them from sinking, each of the men work hard at any job they get, and attempt to do the job without the Coast Guard intervening for safety reasons. It's not an easy way of life, but one that has a potentially large payout if they're the first to reach the job and can keep their competition at bay.

Is it any good?

They may call themselves "modern-day pirates," but what Shipwreck Men really are is marine towing and salvage business owners. The series offers details about how folks in the industry get the jobs, what defines their payouts, and the dangers associated with the work. What adds drama to the show is the cutthroat competition between the men, which they justify as being the result of a weak economy and long-standing family pride.

Some of the tough-talking cast may not appeal to some, but in-between the rough conversations there are some surprisingly heartwarming discussions about the personal satisfaction this work provides, thanks to their desire to work with family and their love of the seas. Overall, folks who find watching people doing jobs that are slightly out of the ordinary will probably find it interesting.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about some of the unique jobs that revolve around the ocean. Why are jobs like those featured on Shipwreck Men, Lobster Wars, and Bering Sea Gold so competitive?

  • Do you think real life ocean-oriented work is as dramatic as it appears on reality TV? What do these guys have to gain by being on TV?

TV details

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