‘Below Deck Sailing Yacht’ Producer Reveals What It Means to Get Into ‘Shooting Shape’

Many Below Deck production crew members do as much running as the yachties on board the boat, which means they need to get into “shooting shape” before filming the season.

Below Deck Sailing Yacht producer Jill Goslicky revealed on a Reddit “Ask Me Anything’ that filming the show isn’t as easy as pointing the camera and shooting footage. Production crew need to move quickly but also be fast thinkers, which paid off during Below Deck Season 6.

Parker McCown from Below Deck Sailing Yacht
Parker McCown from Below Deck Sailing Yacht | Karolina Wojtasik/Bravo

Production crew must physically prepare for the season

Like the yacht crew, the production crew has to be in shape to be able to trail the fast-moving yachties.

“Everyone on the crew is a seasoned professional,” Goslicky shared. “Many of the cam ops and audio crew have worked on multiple shows before working on BD. The crew also actually physically trains to some extent to get into what we call ‘shooting shape.’ Running around that boat all day lugging equipment requires that the crew be in good physical shape as well as know how to handle their equipment on the fly. I’m not exaggerating when I say that the crew that works on this show is the best in the business.”

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Below Deck Season 6 viewers likely recall how a fast-thinking camera operator saved deckhand Ashton Pienaar‘s life. A rope wrapped around Pienaar’s ankle, dragging him into the ocean. The camera operator put down his equipment and quickly untangled the rope from Pienaar’s leg allowing the deckhand to swim to the tender being towed behind the boat.

“We also do a boat walkthrough when we arrive on a new boat with the crew so everyone knows the lay of the land, and we map out how we’ll handle shooting in some of the trickier, smaller areas of the boat,” she added.

Crew also has to ‘build’ a control room on the boat

The production crew isn’t only running after the crew. They also have to build their own control room on the boat. Determining which room to use differs from season to season. Colin Macy-O’Toole from Below Deck Mediterranean recounted to Showbiz Cheat Sheet how the season 3 crew converted the yacht gym to the control room.

“They ripped out the gym on the boat and made that their control center,” he said. “So, you have the electric guy, you know, probably the internet guy that they have to rip out the gym equipment and put in like 15 flat-screen TVs so they can watch us do whatever.”

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Macy-O’Toole added that while the production crew gets to take breaks like the yachties, they have to do it on a separate boat. “There’s usually another boat that they rent out that follows us no matter where we are,” he shared. “That has different [production] crew members on for shifts like breaks and stuff. Like, if they’re on a break, instead of going back to their hotel or land, there’s usually another boat. No matter where we go, they can stay on that boat for like an hour or so until they have to come back.”