‘Below Deck Med’ Highlights Some of the Dangers in Yachting

Viewers learned one big lesson from last season of Below Deck: yachting can be a dangerous business for the crew.

A rope wrapped around deckhand Ashton Pienaar’s ankle, dragging him into the ocean. The deckhand would have drowned if it weren’t for a fast-acting cameraman who freed Pienaar’s foot from the rope.

Captain Sandy Yawn
Captain Sandy Yawn |Virginia Sherwood/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

With the exception of the food, this season of Below Deck Mediterranean has been relatively smooth sailing. Until now apparently. Bravo offered a few sneak peeks that show the dangers of the job. Plus Captain Sandy Yawn posted raw footage to her Instagram story about another danger she faced.

What is a black water system alert?

The crew faces a “black water system” alert. While this alert may not threaten danger to the crew or guests’ lives, having this system breakdown can certainly kill an entire charter.

Bosun João Franco explains what the alert actually means. “All our s**twater from the toilets go into a black water tank,” he says in the clip. “That means no toilets, no water that means there’s s**t involved.”

Unfortunately, as the alert screams, deckhands Travis Michalzik and Jack Stirrup are horsing around. Needless to say, Yawn is not happy. She says in a confessional interview if the engineer can’t fix the problem they have to cancel the charter.

Underwater explorations can turn deadly

Yawn’s arch-nemesis seems to be Sirocco’s anchor. The last time she commanded this yacht, the entire anchor chain became stubbornly tangled. Her patience and perseverance managed to coach the team into untangling it and saving the rest of the season.

The anchor seems to be taunting her this season too and has already being a little naughty by ending up on deck at one point. But now Yawn has to send Franco and Michalzik underwater to inspect an issue. Michalzik says in a confessional interview that dragging an anchor up is “super dangerous.” He adds, “If you get pinned, by a f**king huge chain, in 40 meters of water, you’re probably f**ked.”

Yawn leans over the boat to talk to her deck team performing the dangerous operation. “When I send two crew down an anchor chain, it’s dangerous,” Yawn says in a confessional interview. “And if they don’t communicate, one slip could be the end of their life.” Meanwhile, cameras catch chief stew Hannah Ferrier desperately trying to get in touch with new third stew June Foster via her radio.

A boat on fire?

Yawn provided raw footage captured from the wheelhouse. A radio dispatcher warns Yawn of a possible boat on fire near her yacht. She posted the footage to her Instagram story where she’s being told over the radio, “Looks like a small boat is on fire.”

Apparently, the boat’s owner left the vessel and now the boat is drifting. Yawn pans her camera across the numerous windows in the wheelhouse searching for the vessel in flames. She can be heard discussing the matter with another crew member as Michalzik is seen working on deck.

The radio dispatcher continues to give Yawn information on the other boat’s position, which appears to be a sportfishing vessel.