‘Below Deck’: When Do the Captains First Meet the Crew?

Viewers are always interested to know how crew members are hired for Below Deck. During opening episodes of the show, Captain Lee Rosbach from Below Deck and Captain Sandy Yawn from Below Deck Mediterranean are filmed meeting the crew for what appears to be the first time.

Captain Sandy and Lee Rosbach
Captain Sandy and Lee Rosbach |Arturo Holmes/WireImage

At this point, both captains work with their trusted stews. Chief stew Kate Chastain has been by Rosbach’s side since season two and Hannah Ferrier has worked with Yawn since Yawn started with the show. However, for the most part, a good portion of the crew are usually brand new.

During season four of Below Deck Med, fans wondered how chef Mila Kolomeitseva made it onto the show. Viewers asked how Yawn could have hired someone who was so incompetent. The questions had Yawn playing defense and responding on social media (several times) about how the crew is hired for the show.

The captain doesn’t meet the crew until they arrive on the boat

A viewer who attended BravoCon recently asked Yawn when she meets the crew for a new season. “@CaptSandyYawn enjoying your sessions at #BravoCon2019 — two questions I couldn’t ask: 1) do you get to pick your own crew for the show? 2) what kinds of captaining do you do when not filming?”

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Look who's on deck! Welcome aboard Valor, Rhylee!

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Yawn replied, “Great Qs Richard! I meet the crew for the 1st time on the yacht & have our 1st charter 24 hrs later. I’ve been in the superyacht charter industry 29 yrs, but only do #BelowDeckMed charters now. I spend my off time w family & loved ones.” Both Yawn and Rosbach have shared that they now only captain superyachts for the show.

So when the captains and chief stews look like they are meeting the crew for the first time, they really are meeting the crew for the first time. In only a few instances the show will bring back previous crew members. For instance, Below Deck just announced that deckhand Rhylee Gerber from season six will return for season seven. She previously worked with Rosbach, but also bosun Ashton Pienaar and Chastain.

The captain also doesn’t hire the crew either

Fans went hard on Yawn when Kolomeitseva displayed some shocking behavior. Not only did she appear to struggle to create the most basic dishes, but she also expressed some closed-minded views. Viewers wanted to know how Yawn missed this. But she shared on Twitter she didn’t hire the chef.

Yawn had to re-state that not only does she not hire the crew, but Kolomeitseva also was not simply hired to stir up drama either. #ICYMI I DO NOT hire the crew for show. AGAIN, Mila is NOT a staged prop,” she tweeted.

Rosbach backed up Yawn too. “No, @CaptSandyYawn doesn’t get to hire, she can fire and Malia [Mila] was not a plant.” Yawn’s friends Dr. Jennifer Berman and crew were the charter guests at the time. So fans wondered if they traveled at a highly discounted (free) rate. “And no Sandy’s friends were not comped at all,” Rosbach added. “No one gets comped on the charters. They have to have some skin in the game. Hope that covers it for you.”