What Is Captain Lee’s Life Like on ‘Below Deck’ Charters?

BELOW DECK — Season:6 — Pictured: Captain Lee Rosbach — (Photo by: Greg Endries/Bravo)

As the crew scurries to scrub down the yacht or turn the laundry, Captain Lee Rosbach from Below Deck is often seen pacing around the vessel, trying to get all the charter’s ducks in a row. Viewers have a pretty good idea what deckhands and interior staff does during their lengthy workday.

However, Rosbach’s job is somewhat of a mystery. He is often seen looking concerned, pouring over navigation equipment. Or (reluctantly) agreeing to dine with the guest. Otherwise, the show doesn’t really dive into what is going on behind the scenes of a superyacht captain. So what could Rosbach’s day look like?

Typical day

Rosbach’s day may be somewhat similar to Captain Davey Jonesburg. Jonesburg described a typical day to Shmoop, which included getting to the charter boat as the sun rises. Before leaving the dock Jonesburg checks the weather, navigation equipment, fuel levels and even takes food inventory.  He debriefs the crew and connects with the harbormaster.

After greeting the guests and setting out to sea, Jonesburg encounters an issue–weather. Bad weather often arises on Below Deck and both Rosbach and Captain Sandy Yawn are seen having to make decisions that may not be popular with the guests. In this case, the guests aren’t happy with Jonesburg either.

“But I paid for the full day,” the customer protests and Jonsesburg says they have to wrap up today’s excursion early.  “I know,” Jonesburg says, “but a storm is rolling in. We’ll have to try again another day.”

Safety first

Rosbach and Yawn are often filmed making crew and guest safety a number one priority. When Steve “Foam man” Bradley takes a jet ski while intoxicated and without a life vest, Rosbach is livid. Also, chief stew Hannah Ferrier accidentally sets off a fire alarm on the ship with birthday candles. Yawn flies off the handle with concern, worried about a fire.

Jonesburg deals with the same issues. A storm is brewing, but the guests are irritated their excursion is cut short. The guest asks for a discount then, but Jonesburg says, “I can’t do that. I’ve used the same amount of fuel and have to pay the same docking fees as I would if we were here another couple hours so it’s gotta be full price. This is a Mother Nature kind of a thing. It’s out of my control.” He adds, ” I’m not risking my crew, my boat, or your life, or mine.”

Navigating and business affairs

Of course being a master navigator and plotting the course are a big part of the job, according to Luxury Yacht Group. Also docking and departing from harbor and destinations is a vital part of the job.

The captain is also in charge of the budget and keeping financial records. Additionally, the captain must be well versed with all Maritime Guidance Notices (MGN), Maritime Information Notes (MIN), amendments to all international marine safety codes, and product notices.

Beyond law and financials, the captain is in charge of 12 to 40 crew members. Plus, sets the tone for an ethical and responsible work and hospitality environment. Additionally, this includes both hiring and dismissing crew members. For Rosbach, being a captain is his number one priority. “Working on a TV show has been a learning experience, but at the same time, it hasn’t changed who I am or what I do,” he said in an audiobook version of his book, Running with the Tide: True Tales from the Stud of the Sea. 

“First and foremost, I’m still a captain, a sailor. Whether there are cameras there or not, I do my job, try to keep the clients safe, try to keep my crew safe, and try to keep the boat in good shape. I’ve got a lot more people who know who I am now, but I don’t think working in TV has changed me. If you thought I was a decent guy before, I’m still a decent guy. If you thought I was an —hole before, then that’s equally unchanged. It’s all I know how to be.”

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