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First mate Paget Berry from Below Deck Sailing Yacht says there are very distinct differences between a first mate and a bosun.

The Below Deck series has mainly featured a bosun who is in charge of the deck team. But Berry shares that the first mate rank is above bosun and definitely has far more responsibilities.

Ciara Duggan, Paget Berry
Ciara Duggan and Paget Berry |Karolina Wojtasik/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

“The biggest difference between the bosun and the first mate is the first mate is obviously higher up in the hierarchy,” Berry told Showbiz Cheat Sheet. “And [the first mate] generally has twice as much experience as the bosun. If you are looking to be a bosun, you are probably looking to have about four to five years on a boat. And if you want to be first mate, it’s anywhere from eight to 10 years.” Berry has more than nine years of experience under his belt.

Berry says the first mate position isn’t as action-packed as the bosun

While Berry says the duties on board are somewhat similar, the first mate has to adhere and implement the safety aspects on the boat. “So life-saving equipment, like life rafts, life jackets. Things that really don’t go noticed on the show and the things you don’t really see, making sure they are all in correct and working order,” he explained.

In addition to making sure the safety aspects are fully functioning, Berry says he spends a considerable amount of time buried in paperwork. “On Parsifal, it was probably 50-50 or 60-40 paperwork to outside work,” he said.

“They didn’t show it on the show, but there were a lot of times I’d sit down for a couple of hours during the day and do paperwork to keep up with. With the yacht being commercial, you have to keep up with that side of things.”

The bosun reports to the first mate

“Having a bosun on board, you’re basically the head of the deck and you would get told what to do by the first mate,” Berry explained. “The mate would delegate to the bosun, ‘This is what I want you and the team to do today. And I’ll come up and check on you guys every so often to make sure you’re doing it right. And I’ll lend you a hand when I can when I’m not busy with paperwork or I’m not in meetings.'”

He adds that the biggest difference is there are far more administrative duties for a first mate than for a bosun. “And a lot more responsibility.”

Although Berry is a first mate on Below Deck Sailing Yacht, he’s also a captain. “Ciara [Duggan] and I ran an 18-meter catamaran and 25-meter sailing yachts together on two separate occasions,” he shared. “We were both in the jobs for about a year or so each. And I’ve done two Atlantic crossings as captain that’s from Gibraltar to the Caribbean.” He joked that while he has his license, he’s not quite sure if he’s ready to dive into the captain position full-time just yet.

Below Deck Sailing Yacht is on Monday at 9/8c on Bravo.