‘Below Deck’: Captain Lee Hated Having to Fire Andrew Sturby, but He’s Why Producers Changed Casting Process – Or Did They?

Captain Lee Rosbach didn’t want to fire Andrew Sturby on Below Deck Season 2, but it was abundantly clear that Sturby lied on his CV and knew nothing about yachting.

Rosbach struggled with his decision for the first few days of the season. And when he fired Sturby he hated to let him go because he liked the deckhand. But, his dismissal became an important moment for casting the show. Executive producer Mark Cronin told Showbiz Cheat Sheet that’s when producers realized they had to cast people with experience and do more due diligence.

However, Rosbach encountered another “Sturby” during Below Deck Season 8 who admitted he had no yachting experience.

Captain Lee struggled with his decision to fire Andrew Sturby

The Below Deck Season 2 crew were visibly annoyed when Sturby made endless rookie mistakes on deck. They were especially frustrated when Sturby was given an equal cut of the tip when they didn’t think he deserved it. But Rosbach didn’t want to fire Sturby immediately.

'Below Deck' Season 2 crew have a meeting in the crew mess
Ben Robinson, Amy Johnson, Kat Held, Kate Chastain, Captain Lee Rosbach | Virginia Sherwood/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank

“It’s my call, and it is never easy to terminate someone and send them packing. That being said, I decided to give him the benefit of the doubt and a second chance. We all know my thoughts on second chances, but it’s my call, my bad if it’s wrong,” he wrote in his Bravo blog.

But once it became apparent that Sturby lied about his qualifications, Rosbach had no choice. And he wasn’t happy he had to let Sturby go.  “I don’t have any idea where this is going but when he explained that he embellished his resume, short for lying, it explained a lot,” Rosbach shared. “I still like the kid, but I have a duty to the crew and he is a part of that.” 

He changed how the show is cast

The early days of Below Deck involved a lot of trial and error. “In the earlier days we were a little more blind,” Cronin admitted. “We had hired people who had no real reason of being there at all. Sturby is a famous example of that. Because of Sturby, we now check all references. Everybody’s gotta give us three references of boats they’ve worked on. We check those pretty carefully. In terms of being a yachtie, that is much more checked over than it used to be.”

And while a few green crew members are featured on the show, Cronin said references are checked, and casting agents make sure that “We don’t pull people out of farms anymore and put them on the boat,” he said.

He added, “We’ll still have a green person,” he said. “But when I mean green, they’ve only worked on one other charter boat.”

But Captain Lee eventually met ‘another’ Andrew Sturby

Although Cronin said Sturby changed how casting agents vet crew, deckhand Shane Coopersmith from Below Deck Season 8 was cast with seemingly no experience. “I regret not studying more yachting before I got on the boat. And I could have learned more knots. I could have read more textbooks, or maybe I could have flown out to Florida a month earlier and worked on a yacht,” he said on the Behind the Velvet Rope with David Yontef podcast.

“[Producers] were like, Hey, like this is a real job,” he said. “Like I remember sitting in the executive producer’s office up in Hollywood and he was at his desk. I was on the other side. He’s like, hey, this is a real fricking job. Like you’re going to be working like 14 hours a day nonstop. It’s a very unsustainable industry. Like they’re spewing gas and like all this stuff.”

Coopersmith admitted he only wanted to go on Below Deck to share his message of sustainability. He was annoyed when he believes he got a bad edit and his sustainability message was dumped. “I did not understand the archetype that I was going to be while I was on the boat,” Coopersmith said. “And then basically by the second episode of the season, I saw the archetype that they’re putting me in.”

Coopersmith stayed on the boat longer than Sturby but was fired during Below Deck Episode 7.

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