‘Below Deck’ Crew Are Always Cleaning – but Why and How Bad Can the Boat Get?

Below Deck crew cleaning scenes are almost a Hallmark of the series as viewers see deckhands endlessly scrubbing the deck and stews vacuuming armoires. And while cleaning a rental space is critical for the guest experience, is all that cleaning truly necessary?

The short answer is: Definitely.

Yacht crews could transfer their skills over to hospitals with their attention to detail and knowledge of what must be done to “flip” the boat in between charters. This includes exterior required maintenance to the stomach-churning job of picking up after hard partying guests – who often miss the toilet when they have to vomit.

‘Below Deck’ crews endless scrub the deck to fight the salt

Is the deck ever clean even when it looks pretty sparkling? The reason the deck crew do a wash down on a loop is to battle against the damage the salt water and air can do to the boat’s exterior. “Salt kills everything,” Captain Clint Jones told Bloomberg.

'Below Deck Down Under' deckhand Benny Crawley polishes a rail on the yacht's exterior
Benny Crawley | Laurent Basset/Peacock/NBCU Photo Bank

Jones said that even a splash of seawater and just moving the boat means that the deck crew must spend those hours seen on the show cleaning the deck. HMY Yachts shared that regular exterior cleaning prevents rust and decay on the surfaces. Plus, the exterior of the yacht should be waxed on a regular basis the maintain the integrity of the materials.

Below Deck deckhands often power wash the deck to remove debris on the boat because the lime build-up is common. Most yachts are stocked with an arsenal of heavy-duty cleaning products designed specifically for marine cleaning.

‘Below Deck’ cabins ‘above deck’ can get pretty disgusting

Why are the stews also always cleaning cabins? The Bloomberg writer found that some guests will cut loose a little too much. “Sports stars are reputed to be the messiest guests and most prone to trashing vessels,” the writer shared. “The biggest infraction in recent memory, says a senior YachtLife broker, was a current NBA player who went out on a boat in the morning and had wrecked it by lunch, dousing the interiors in sprayed Champagne, then clogging all of the cabin toilets with his vomit.”

Mess and damage from overserved guests aren’t yachties’ only concerns. Guests will often slather on sunless tanner – and the fallout from doing that was seen on Below Deck Sailing Yacht Season 3. A guest lounged on Parsifal III’s couches after applying sunless tanner and it stained the couches.

The Bloomberg writer revealed that guests often stain linens and have to be replaced to the tune of $8,000.

Also, using tweezers to remove fried chicken crumbs from the teak isn’t uncommon. Plus, the cabin must be so well detailed that using a Q-Tip to clean a bathroom cabinet for an hour may be required. A big tool in the stew pantry is a vacuum cleaner with multiple extensions. Vacuuming walls and outlets are done on a regular basis.

The ‘Below Deck’ crew also must prepare for showtime

Cleaning the boat is only one part of preparing the boat for charter. Yachties and the Below Deck crew must add that “wow” factor before and during the charter. Flowers and provisions must be handled and stored. Special cocktails are prepared and the yacht crew has to put on their game face.

“Just when you’ve finished potting that last-minute tree on the aft deck, a call comes over the radio that the boss’s plane has just landed and he and his entourage will be there shortly,” yachtie Julie Perry shared in Work on a Yacht.

“You manage to shower and be on deck just two minutes before they step on—fresh plant soil still beneath your fingernails as you shake the owner’s hand, and with a beaming smile and an energetic voice, say, ‘Welcome aboard, Sir.’”

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