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A running theme on Bravo’s Below Deck is rank. For instance, when bosun João Franco from Below Deck Mediterranean questioned Captain Sandy Yawn’s recommendations on how to fix a jet ski, she lost it on him when he seemed to disregard her rank (and knowledge) over him.

Captain Lee Rosbach sitting next to Kate Chastain
Captain Lee Rosbach and Kate Chastain | Karolina Wojtasik/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

During the current season of Below Deck, chef Kevin Dobson tried to muscle his way into delivering orders to the interior team. Plus, bosun Ashton Pienaar demanded complete compliance from lower deckhands. While some crew members have clearly overreached their rank’s authority, why does the topic come up so often?

Chief stew Kate Chastain offered insight on why rank is such a priority when she dished on the Mouthing Off with Olivia Caridi podcast.

Rank keeps everyone safe, Kate Chastain says

Chastain shared that when she first got into yachting, she didn’t understand what the big deal was with rank on yachts.

“In real jobs, I would never be, like, so rank-obsessed,” Chastain said. “But it took me a while when I started working on yachts in real life to understand why rank was important. I kinda thought that anybody who had a higher rank in life and used it was such a jerk.”

Eventually Chastain understood the value of rank.

“It’s why the military has rank, it’s similar for yachting,” she said. “Because we’re out in the ocean, and it’s for safety, it’s for order. And once that clicked in my head, why organization, in general, is so important, it really helped me in my real life.”

Chastain said everyone needs to learn order at some point in their life.

“The boat has to be organized, everything is labeled, everything is put where it goes,” she continued. “Everything has a place, and that’s not how I used to live my life at all.”

Bottom line: Without rank on boats, Chastain said “it’d be chaos.”

Chastain explains the order on the boat

On the podcast, Chastain explained how the rank system worked.

“Captain is the highest rank, and then there’s a first mate. And we have those on the boat on the show, but they’re not on camera,” Chastain said. “And then chief stew is kind of up there. And the chef is actually pretty high up on the ranking but not really because they don’t have anybody below them. They’re in their own solar system.”

Chastain shared that she had to work her way up and “was a horrible yachtie at first.”

During a recent episode, Chastain spotted the first yacht she worked on while in Thailand. “Oh my God if that’s my first boat, I’m going to cry and sh*t myself,” Chastain said to deckhand Rhylee Gerber. Indeed, it was Chastain’s first yacht.

“I had sex on that boat and all of my stewardess mess-ups on that boat,” she said. She shared that the boat, which she hadn’t seen in 10 years, was the reason she fell in love with yachting.

“The last time I saw this boat I was being fired in Freeport, Bahamas,” Chastain said. “It’s like seeing your long lost love by accident out of town.”