From falling out of planes to making war zone deliveries, we count fifteen of the world’s scariest professions!
15 – Alaskan Crab Fisherman,
- Unlikely as it seems, Alaskan crab fisherman is consistently voted among the most dangerous professions in the world. Even successful voyages aren’t pleasant: these fishermen live in cramped quarters for weeks at a time, go days without showering, and regularly work 48 straight hours in freezing conditions.
- Hauling up nets or cages weighing several hundred pounds is hard work. But add pelting rain, rogue waves and icy decks into the mix and the work becomes lethal. These fishermen are at the mercy of unpredictable weather and ocean conditions and, thanks to the state’s geographical location, Alaskan waters are colder and less forgiving than most other fishing environments.
- Fun fact: fishing deaths make up almost a third of all occupational fatalities in Alaska, with the majority being caused by drowning or hypothermia.
14 – Truck Driver,
- That truck driver who honks for you on the interstate might seem jolly, but don’t be fooled: he’s engaged in one of the most stressful and dangerous occupations in the world. Truck drivers have to deal with inadequate road infrastructure, hazardous conditions, poor dietary options, high-pressure delivery schedules, social isolation and fatigue caused by erratic sleep habits. To make matters worse many drivers pass the time by listening to commercial radio – and no one should be subjected to that much Coldplay.
- Truck drivers experience more non-fatal injuries than workers in any other profession. The most common are back injuries, which result from heavy lifting after long-term sitting. Fatigue, the proverbial thorn in a truck driver’s side, is a contributing factor in most injuries and accidents.
- Some of the world’s most dangerous truck driving routes include the Mad Max-style endurance race from the Jordan border to the heart of Baghdad and Bolivia’s North Yungas Road (AKA ‘The Road of Death’), a narrow, geologically unstable passage over an unforgiving precipice.
13 – Rodeo Clown,
- This one’s no laughing matter! Rodeo clowns aren’t just there for audiences to laugh at while stuffing their faces with popcorn; their job is to distract the bull once he’s emerged from the bucking chute. Working in teams, rodeo clowns shout, provoke and throw hats so fallen bull riders can safely escape the ring.
- Rodeo clowns must be athletic and highly trained. Many start out as farmhands or cowboys.
- Average rodeo clowns make anywhere between $100 and $500 a job; however, the most skilled and experienced clowns make six figures a year. Not bad if you don’t mind risking your life!
12 – Skydiving Instructor,
- Statistically, more people die from driving to the shops than from jumping out of planes, but try telling that to someone with a fear of heights! It takes a lot of training, discipline and cold hard cash to become a skydiving instructor. You have to pass written and practical exams, earn licences, and log hundreds of skydiving hours. I need a nap just thinking about it.
- Despite how hard it is to get into, most skydiving instructors earn a paltry $40 a jump. Average full-time, year-round instructors earn between 20 and 40K a year; however, instructors who are willing to videotape, assist in training, or perform competitively can earn much more.
- Considering the job requirement is to jump out of a plane, this is a relatively safe career path. But things can still go wrong. For example, in 2009, first-time skydiver Daniel Pharr was forced to steer and land on his own after his veteran tandem instructor suffered a fatal heart attack mid-air. Pharr said the dive was a gift from his girlfriend. Reports indicate she did not receive a Christmas card that year.
11 – Storm Chaser,
- Avert your eyes, astraphobia sufferers! Storm chasing is the pursuit of thunderstorms, hurricanes and other weather-related phenomena. A controversial practice, it has cost many lives. It’s also the subject of the ’96 film Twister. Make of that what you will.
- While most storm chasers are thrill-seeking hobbyists, some make a bonafide living from it. Some professional storm chasers aid scientific research, while many others sell their footage to the media.