What’s the One Thing ‘Below Deck’ Yachties Would (Probably)Never Do in Real Life?

Drama on the high seas is what brings viewers thirsting for more on Below Deck. From crew drama to dealing with crazy guests, Bravo viewers can’t seem to get enough of the series.

The show is so successful, production company, 51 Minds created spin-off Below Deck Mediterranean and, coming soon, Below Deck Sailing. Although each arm of the franchise has a different captain and chief stew, the name of the game seems to be the same.

Kelley Johnson, Lauren Burchell, Sierra Storm
Kelley Johnson, Lauren Burchell, Sierra Storm | Virginia Sherwood/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

While cast members must have their certifications in place before they can appear on the show, quite a few crew members are extremely green. This season, deckhand Abbi Murphy admitted this was her first time working on a motor yacht because her background was on sailboats. Murphy broke down during episode five and quit mid-season.

Quitting suddenly during mid-season is a no-no

Marie Claire spoke with Lauren Littlejohn, a charter broker for Ocean Independence, who offered some insights and comparisons between the Below Deck crew and typical crew members who are not on a reality show.

She shared that most crew members who sign up for a yacht job know what they are getting themselves into. Many will stay with a vessel long-term too. “Longstanding crew create repeat clients and consistency. You’ll find some crew members will leave a boat after a season, enjoying more flexibility personally this way,” she said. “Crew often miss out on big life events such as friends’ weddings, birthdays, or the birth of children.”

With this in mind, Littlejohn said crew members who suddenly quit or storm off the boat in the middle of the season or charter are rare instances and frowned upon. “There seem to be fewer numbers of experienced crew, and most seem to be making a shorter career out of yachting,” she shared. “I believe that the poor behavior being so emphasized on TV has possibly tightened up some of the behaviors nowadays; that may also come from captains tightening up their onboard rules.”

But this is portrayed accurately

One of the best parts of the show is watching the crew recieve the wad of cash from the guest. “That is surprising, but crew is actually often tipped from an envelope full of cash!” Littlejohn told Marie Claire. “It might not come directly from a client [at the end of a charter]—often they may wire the gratuity later—but then it is doled out to the crew in cash.”

Also, behavior that is dangerous or illegal from the crew or guests isn’t tolerated. Captain Lee Rosbach yanked the first group of charter guests off the vessel during season one, episode one when they brought illegal drugs on board.

Also, chef Kevin Dobson shared he dropped about $10,000 to $15,000 on provisions to set up the boat before the season started. This seems to be pretty accurate, but Littlejohn said expenses can go much further. “Because each charter is unique, one might have a group of pescatarians that sip on margaritas all day, while the next may have a group that only requests red meat and wine. This is where the provisioning allowance comes into play,” she said.