How To Keep Dungeness Crab Alive – Storing Live Crabs Safely

Perhaps you are in search of tips on how to keep Dungeness crab alive for a few hours. You have just caught some crabs, and now, you want to store them properly while transporting them.

Crabs are a delight to eat – they’re pretty tasty and easy to prepare. However, they are definitely better-tasting when kept fresh.

Most importantly, it can be quite bad to eat them once they have been dead for a few hours. Well, the taste is not so good, the texture is mushy, and it is not the best for your health, as well.

With all these things in mind, let us go ahead with these tips on how to store live crabs and how long can Dungeness crab live out of water. Let’s get started!

How To Keep Dungeness Crab Alive – Can Crabs Live Out Of Water?

how to keep dungeness crab alive - can crabs live out of water

The short answer is yes – but it depends on the storage process.

Dungeness crabs can stay alive for only a few hours, as long as you keep them in the right place correctly.

For instance, we recommend that you store live crabs in a cool and damp place. There should be proper ventilation, too. A cooler is a good storage space for crabs because it meets all of these conditions.

Place your crabs inside and cover them with a damp (not dripping wet) towel. Adds some saltwater – never freshwater. Keep in mind that crabs and freshwater simply don’t mix. Without the right type of water, they can be deprived of oxygen. Thus, it can cause them to die quickly.

You will also need to stir the saltwater once in a while. This allows the oxygen to replenish. Then, you need to place the cooler in a spot that gets good ventilation while staying nice and cool.

Some people use saltwater solution that contains some nutrients to further keep these crabs alive. However, it is not a necessity, especially if you have no nutrients to add to the water.

By simply keeping them in a damp and cool storage spot with saltwater, this can keep them sedated and alive for at least 24 hours.


Crabs are a great delicacy that also offers nutritive value to your body.

But they are better to consume when fresh, which is why you need to keep them alive before you clean and cook them. Once they die, you need to cook them immediately to prevent the meat from spoiling quickly.

When crabs die, the liver enzymes begin to attack their meat, which can turn it mushy and not the most appetizing thing to eat. Furthermore, there will be bacteria forming pretty quickly in their meat, which is not suitable to consume.

Thus, by keeping them alive before cooking, you can ensure their excellent flavor, texture, and overall value to your health.

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