‘Below Deck’: What Is the Main Reason Why Yachties Want to Be On The Show?

While some people seek a reality television platform to achieve fame, Below Deck producers insist most yachties have a different reason for going on the show.

Kate Chastain, Ashton Pienaar, Courtney Skippon, Alexis Bellino, Andy Bohn
Kate Chastain, Ashton Pienaar, Courtney Skippon, Alexis Bellino, Andy Bohn |Karolina Wojtasik/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Producer Courtland Cox revealed that yachties steered clear of the series when it first started. Unsure of how the series would portray yachties, many industry professionals were concerned that if they joined the show, it would jeopardize their career.  “Initially, it was very hard to get yacht crew members to commit to doing the show because it was an unknown entity. People didn’t know what Below Deck was,” Cox told Bravo’s The Daily Dish.

In fact, Captain Lee Rosbach was a reluctant first cast member but went along with producers, thinking he would be working mainly behind the scenes. With seven seasons under his belt, Rosbach is now a household name. The series has done the same for chief stew Kate Chastain, as well as Captain Sandy Yawn and chief stew Hannah Ferrier from Below Deck Mediterranean.

This is the biggest draw for yachties

While some apply to be on the show to specifically be on television, most yachties want to show their friends and family what exactly they do while at sea. “The vast majority of people that do the show, they always say, ‘I want to do the show because I want my friends and family to understand what my job is,’” Cox shared. “And they’re like, ‘If I go on Below Deck, I will have a tangible, visible thing for my family and friends to understand what my job is.’”

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As a result, Below Deck viewers will see crew members with a wide range of experience. The season 5 crew had to have been the greenest group thus far. But the show has also featured individuals like Andrew Sturby from season 2. Sturby lied on this resume about his experience, which ultimately cost him his job.

But the show typically features yachties who really know the industry. “We have people that have worked in yachting for multiple seasons that have experience on big boats and small boats and with celebrity clientele and with very wealthy owners and have been all over the world,” Cox said. “These are real yachties. These are people whose careers depend on this.”

Always something new to learn and explore

The mixture of experience, plus the different yachtie backgrounds makes for fascinating television, Cox explains. “There’s always something interesting, there’s always an amazing story or an amazing technique or a shortcut here or there that’s fascinating to the people that are watching the show, fascinating to us, fascinating to the yachties,” he said.

“That’s one of the big appeals of the show is I’m always learning something. The audience is learning something,” he added. “I never assume that I know all there is to know about the world of yachting or what it takes to be a yachtie. I’m constantly learning from people that do the show, and I’m grateful for that, honestly.”

Cox added that the production crew also continues to learn and be amazed by what happens during the charter season.  “I say to them all, ‘Things are gonna happen on a charter yacht, on this boat, and you’re gonna look at us and say, you guys as production are doing that to us, aren’t you?’” he said about how he readies the production crew for the season. “And I say, ‘The thing you have to realize is we’re never doing that; it’s really happening, and put us out of the whole equation of things because as you all know, things that happen on boats are so crazy and so unpredictable and so unimaginable that you just have to embrace it.’”