Walt - you're killing me! Look at all those beauties!!!
Cliff - I gotta say that there's a big difference, saltwater-exposure-wise, between living less than a mile form the ocean, and wearing it. Because the Alaskan seas are rough, and those crab boats are lowering & retrieveing monster heavy wet crab pots to/from the ocean constantly, which means (1) you get dripped on (2) the boat leans over and takes on water real easy in heavy seas. this is why crabbing is the most dangerous occupation except I think for underwater welding (not to mention the fact that the pots fall on the deck guys a lot, generall breaking their backs). As to being less likely to lose a good knife, well, I've had people slip and fall overboard, get knocked unconscious by flying 80-lb hooks , slip and break their leg, get smacked to the deck by a wave, etc. etc. etc. None of them would have retained a knife that was in their hand at the time. And that was on a big boat! So, over the course of say 30 straight 18-hour days in those conditions without a break, the likelihood of losing even a very treasured knife is pretty high. And the presence of a lanyard won't help - you do not have the time to remove the knife, slip the lanyard on, make the cut, remove lanyard, then sheath knife. Anyone who has worked on deck or watched it happen (in Alaska, in heavy seas) knows what I'm saying. Speed is of the essence, not only because things are moving fast & dangerous, but because time is money and the deck boss will be screaming at you like Captain Ahab for every wasted millisecond.
Also, I've never seen our guys (admittedly trawlers not crabbers) use a big knife, as I said. What they favored were small thin razor-sharp stainless serrated victorinox knives, which apparently cut line very well and resist the saltwater (in fact I just noticed that these very knives are the subject of much praise in a post below, "Victorinox paring knives"). If they needed to pry or chop, they had crowbars and axes handy for those jobs.
Just my .02 - this whole topic has made me so nostalgic!!
[This message has been edited by fishface5 (edited 02-27-2001).]