Another ‘Below Deck’ Cast Member Shares He Is in Recovery

Fans reacted swiftly after Captain Sandy Yawn from Below Deck Mediterranean shared her story that she struggled with addiction.

Yawn and the rest of the crew noticed that deckhand Travis Michalzik would often drink excessively in between charters. In fact, Yawn mentioned she could smell alcohol on Michalzik even the day after he went drinking.

Don Abenante , Emil Kotze, Kate Chastain, Eddie Lucas, Lee Rosbach, Amy Johnson, Leon Walker, Raquel Bartlow, Connie Arias
Don Abenante , Emil Kotze, Kate Chastain, Eddie Lucas, Lee Rosbach, Amy Johnson, Leon Walker, Raquel Bartlow, Connie Arias |Virginia Sherwood/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

In a tender moment, she pulled him into the wheelhouse where she shared her story of addiction and recovery. She urged him to detox his life and just try 30 days without alcohol. Michalzik seemed taken aback but touched she shared such a personal story with him. And said he’d consider scaling back on his drinking for the rest of the season.

Now, another ‘Below Deck’ alum shared that he is in recovery

Shortly after the episode aired, former Below Deck deckhand Emile Kotze shared he too is in recovery. The doe-eyed former cast member took to Facebook to reveal he’s been in recovery since 2016. “My name is Emile, I’m an addict/alcoholic in recovery,” he publicly posted to his Facebook account. “In honor of Recovery Month: I have not picked up a mind or mood altering substance since 29 July 2016 Let’s share our hope, that those who suffer can recover. #WEDORECOVER #RecoveryRocks Copy and paste with your date to show it can be done.”

Fans were floored when they learned Kotze struggled with addiction. At the same time they flooded his post with congratulatory comments and words of encouragement. “Wow that’s amazing u really an inspiration that anyone can overcome their addiction,” one person wrote. Another added, “Love this Emile 🙌🏻💕 So proud of you for being so brave and strong! Keep doing what you’re doing, because life has so much more to offer x.”

Unlike Michalzik, Kotze only had a momentary scene where he appeared to be overserved. He asked third stew Rocky Dakota out on a date but he became intoxicated and talked about sex, which turned her off. In an interview with Real Mr. Houswife, he admitted to being too drunk. “At those times I was not thinking. I was trying to be humoring in those attempts. Also, I was under the influence of alcohol. I should have been more respectful and mannered.”

Hard-partying is common in yachting

Kotze also shared his journey on Instagram too. “3 years of sobriety Part 3 of the adventure series (paused momentarily): 🙏 Aloha
to a new life opening up a new chapter finding a way to face life, still having my vice’s learning to face the consequences of my bad and good decisions…,” he wrote. “I have people in my life who love me value me and believe in me even when I don’t when I let myself down and them…Watch this space as the adventure continues and has as cliche as it is only just begun another round of 12 steps ahead and mountains of fun… Thank you all for this blessed life and have a good one.”

Kotze’s story may be somewhat common in the yachting industry. Dockwalk polled a number of yachties who agreed that hard-partying is commonplace. According to their poll, 22% of respondents drank alcohol daily and 50% partied hard in between charters.

One captain told Dockwalk he believes there is a substance abuse problem in the industry. “Personally, I do think crew drink too much,” he said. “It’s become part of the accepted culture. It seems that quite a lot of crew spend their downtime drinking. Our crew [on MITseaAH] are very athletic. We like to go mountain biking and do watersports and take advantage of what we have. I try to organize things like that for them.”