‘Below Deck Med:’ Does Someone Need to Keep Watch Overnight When the Yacht Is Docked?

During an episode of Below Deck Mediterranean last season, deckhand João Franco and bosun Conrad Empson had a dispute over whether or not someone needed to keep watch when the yacht was docked overnight.

Charter guests were aboard the vessel and Franco argued that someone needed to keep watch. He said this was necessary to avoid any issues with intruders possibly coming aboard. Empson expressed that Franco may be overreacting and an overnight watch wasn’t necessary.

Joao Franco, Captain Sandy Yawn |Photo by Greg Endries/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

But was Franco right? Should some crew members be awake while others are sleeping even if you aren’t at sea? This is what industry experts think about keeping watch while the yacht is docked.

Yachties always do an overnight watch when at sea

When the Below Deck Med yacht is at sea, one (or possibly several) crew members are assigned to do an anchor watch. Anchor watch is vital to maintaining the safety and security of not only the vessel but passengers and crew.

Having crew members on anchor watch means being vigilant for sudden rough seas, piracy or even assisting guests if there is an emergency. In some cases, sudden rough winds could make the anchor drag, which could relocate the vessel. Additionally, keeping watch for other boats is important as the crew needs to be aware of oncoming vessels that could cause a collision.

Malia White, Bugsy Drake |Photo by Virginia Sherwood/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Also, you never know who is also in the surrounding vicinity. Captain Sandy Yawn has mentioned being chased by pirates in the past, which is totally within the realm of possibility. “The ship being stationery makes it open to attacks and pilferage,” Marine Insight reports. “And very little can be left to the imagination in case the pirates attempt to board the vessel when it is anchored!”

But some crew members are split when the yacht is docked

There are two schools of thought when it comes to keeping watch when the yacht is docked. One crew member told The Triton watching the yacht is important while at sea, but the owner doesn’t make overnight watch mandatory while docked.

“On our vessel, standing watch is considered when we are under way at night,” a first mate told The Triton. “That means on watch of any traffic on the radar and keeping to our course. On our vessel, the captain and owner see no need to do anchor watch, dock watch, etc.”

But others like to have someone who is alert and on duty, even if the demands of the watch aren’t as intense. “At anchor or dock, we can do chart corrections, accounts, business for itinerary planning, etc.,” one captain of a yacht 200-22 foot yacht told The Triton. One yacht chef said they perform maintenance to the yacht while on dock watch. “Put up the flag, turn on lights, clean crew mess, take out trash, vacuum crew mess, clean up after everyone’s stink for a day, stay on the boat, check fenders, or you could do what most do: sleep and watch TV and do none of the duties but the flag and lock the doors.”

Tune into Below Deck Mediterranean on Bravo every Monday night at 9/8c.