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'Shipwreck Men' Dives into Cutthroat World of Marine Salvage



Premiering Monday, January 14, the new Discovery Channel series follows this modern day pirate business, where competition is fierce and big money is at stake.



Chuck Hansen and Chris Hartmanis in "Shipwreck Men"
Chuck Hansen and Chris Hartmanis Shipwreck MenJanuary 4, 2013

Ricky Arnold Sr. in "Shipwreck Men"
Ricky Arnold Sr. in "Shipwreck Men"
Ricky Arnold Sr. in "Shipwreck Men" - © Discovery Channel
Chuck Hansen and Chris Hartmanis in "Shipwreck Men"
Chuck Hansen and Chris Hartmanis in "Shipwreck Men"
SILVER SPRING, MD — There are modern day pirates patrolling the coast of southern Florida — and the bounty they're after is boats in distress. Salvage companies scan the waters day and night. When trouble strikes they race into action, whether it's saving a sinking vessel, rescuing boats from dangerous hurricane storms or putting out a massive fire. While their intentions are good, it doesn't mean it isn't a cutthroat business. With a fortune to be made, the competition is intense. The first crew on the scene is the one that gets the job — and the lucrative profits. The rest of the companies get nothing and must wait for the next call in hopes of securing a job and keeping their business afloat. Meet the men behind four of south Florida's fiercest salvage companies in Discovery's all-new series "Shipwreck Men," premiering Monday, January 14th at 9PM ET/PT.

Arnold's Towing



Ricky Arnold Sr., a fifth generation Key West resident, built his business from the ground up. He started his salvage company with five-gallon buckets and a boat, removing derelict vessels filled with all kinds of dangers — from parasites to sharks. Ricky, a headstrong and unapologetic man, does things his own way, even if that means all-out fights with his sons RJ and Shane, also in business with him. Together they are taking marine salvage to the next level, all while preserving their family roots in Key West.

Atlantis Marine Towing & Salvage

Stu Korpela is a salvage pioneer. After serving in the Air Force and later as an aircraft mechanic for a private company, Stu headed for Florida where in 1974 he made an even trade: his house on land for a 52' sailboat that he and his family call home. He runs one of the most accomplished and feared independent salvage businesses around. Stu's son Burt has been in the salvage business with his father his whole life and is just as ruthless as Stu. Also like his father, Burt is raising his family on the water, making a boat their home — a huge advantage in a business where timing is everything.

Downrite Marine Towing

Based in Ft. Lauderdale, owner Ryan Sewell is a self-taught salvage operator. He bought his first boat at 16 and, after a short stint as a firefighter, returned to the water to become one of the fiercest wreck salvage guys in the business. Through hard work and hard lessons learned, he has taken Downrite Marine Towing from a one-boat operation to one of the top independent salvagers in southern Florida. His services range from dead boat batteries to major catastrophes.

Fast Response Marine Towing

Twenty-eight year-old Chuck Hansen runs one of the newer salvage companies in Miami Beach. He will take just about any job he can to keep the business alive, even if that means sleeping by his radio at night so he can react quickly to distress calls. While he has a steep learning curve, his approach of being one of the most honest — and cheapest — companies in town has helped him grow his small but struggling business.

"Shipwreck Men" is produced for Discovery Channel by Discovery Studios, where Rob Hammersley is executive producer. For Discovery Channel, David Pritikin is executive producer.