The Port Clyde fishing community is a tight-knit group with families and friends connected by the sea.

That sea, however, can be cruel as it was March 26, when Travis Thorbjornson became the latest in a long list of fishermen to die in its waters.

Thorbjornson died Friday, March 26. The 54-year-old fisherman's skiff was found drifting in Port Clyde Harbor that evening. The Maine Marine Patrol, along with members of the Knox County Sheriff's office, local fire and emergency medical services services, U.S. Coast Guard and a large group of local fishermen and Good Samaritans began a search of the harbor and nearby shoreline.

His lifelong friends, Gerry Cushman, Raymie Upham and Justin ‘Buzza’ Libby, recovered him from the sea, according to his obituary.

The Maine Medical Examiner ruled March 29 his death as accidental drowning.

He is the second member of his family to die on the waters.

In July 2005, his brother and best friend 40-year-old Gary Thorbjornson, captain of the fishing vessel Sirius, was lost at sea when his 50-foot wooden trawler sank 30 miles southeast of Rockland.

Two crewmen, his then 17-year-old son Garret Thorbjornson, and then 19-year-old David Wilgus of St. George, were rescued by the crew of the Irene Elta.

A shiny, black granite memorial bearing the name of 11 fishermen lost at sea stands on the grounds of the Marshall Point Lighthouse. Gary Thorbjornson's image is depicted on the other side of the monument that was dedicated in May 2008.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists commercial fishing as one of the most dangerous occupations in the U.S. From 2000 to 2015, an average of 42 fishermen died while on the job each year.

That translates to 117 deaths per 100,000 workers. That is nearly 30 times the average fatality rate for all U.S. workers.

The CDC points out that commercial fishing involves strenuous labor, long hours and often times harsh weather. The CDC statistics show that from 2000-2015, the majority (52%) of deaths in commercial fishing occurred after a vessel disaster, and 31% from a person falling overboard.

Travis Thorbjornson came from a fishing family.

According to his obituary, Travis was proud to be part of a third generation, hardworking, Swedish immigrant family. His grandfather, Erik Thorbjornson, along with his father, Edward were Travis’ role models. He wanted nothing more than to make them proud of him.

As a young man, Travis began his fishing career working with his brothers on the family owned fishing fleet. At the age of 22, he left the family business and began captaining locally owned fishing vessels.

A few years later, Travis rejoined the family business and became the Captain of the F/V Lauren Dorothy, followed by the F/V Lauren Dorothy II. In 2019, Travis fulfilled a life-long dream to purchase and captain his own boat, the Lauren Dorothy III, according to his obituary.

While his residence became the nearby town of Warren, the family and sea ties were anchored in St. George.

Brett Schwab, a friend of Travis Thorbjornson, acknowledged that fishing is a dangerous job. He said the most risk is for those who go offshore for days at a time. Schwab lobsters and comes home every evening.

Schwab said he once fished alongside Travis's older brother and said they were experienced seamen and knew how to operate safely.

"They knew what they were doing, it was a privilege to be on their boats," Schwab said.

Schwab said young people often are unsure what they want to do with their lives, but Travis was not one of those people.

"Travis knew he was going to be a fisherman," he said.

The community — both in Port Clyde and in the overall fishing community — have rallied to help his family. In less than 72 hours, a Gofundme account raised $35,875 — more than the $25,000 goal.

"The world lost a loving, humble, and caring man with Travis's recent unexpected departure," the Gofundme page states. "He loved his wife, family, friends, fishing community and his life on the ocean."

He is survived by his father, wife of 34 years Renée; two sons, a daughter, a brother, a sister, three granddaughters and many more relatives.