Because this is a capitalistic society. As a boat OWNER (frequently not the "captain"), if I put up the millions of dollars as an illiquid investment and took the entire risk of the mortgage (paid off or not) and all the expenses (even in down/slow seasons when I loose money), the bonus funds received when the loan is paid off is reward for the risks taken (it's called "Return on Investment".) Just as the crew doesn't fund boat payments (assuming the risk), they don't share in the rewards either. Every boat owner is a business person trying to maximize their return on investment. Mobil is a hugely profitable oil company -- they are maximizing the return on investment of their investors and shareholders. They're not increasing the salary of all their employees every time they report a multi-billion dollar profit every quarter. According to this site, the boat owners take 50% of the catch for their expenses, and the rest is divided up among the crew: http://alaskankingcrab.com/fishing.html. Again, the boat payments are not a factor in that equation.