Behind the Scenes Secrets from 'Below Deck'
The reality series Below Deck follows the lives of the crew members working on luxury yachts. The show primarily focuses on the crew's interactions and dynamics as they cater to the needs of wealthy guests on charter vacations and the ensuing drama happening onboard.
The show offers a behind-the-scenes look at the challenges faced by the crew members in their demanding jobs, including long hours, high-pressure situations, and the complexities of working and living together in a confined space. Having debuted in 2013, the show has since spawned multiple spin-offs, including Below Deck Mediterranean and Below Deck Sailing Yacht.
While you may be familiar with Below Deck and its other iterations, you may not know everything there is to know about the crew and their colorful charter guests. In addition to the numerous rules the cast and crew has to follow, they are tons of other secrets that even the most devoted fans may not know.
Here we’ve highlighted some of the untold secrets of Below Deck that every curious fan should know. These are the 16 behind-the-scenes secrets of everyone’s favorite yacht crew. There’s more that goes on camera that most viewers will never see. Let’s take a look!
Captain Lee Wasn't the Original Choice
Captain Lee was not originally supposed to be the show’s captain. He was unprepared for his role in the show and never even expected to be on television. Alex from season one was originally supposed to be the captain, and for reasons unknown, ended up not getting that role.
The captain position ended up getting “dumped in [his] lap” as he put it, when he never would have done it otherwise. However, now that he is captain on the shows, he’s loving it! He told the Cosmopolitan, “I wouldn't trade the experience for anything because it's really been truly remarkable.”
The Crew Doesn't Usually Work on Luxury Yachts
When the show isn’t filming, the yacht’s crew isn’t always living the life, as it were. The crew doesn’t only work on luxury yachts or luxury vessels of any kind. In fact, much of the crew never had much experience working on a luxury yacht prior to filming.
Eddie has had limited experience working on luxury yachts but he told Cosmopolitan, of the ones he has worked on, “[they] were not too different. There's always going to be drama when you're living so close to everybody. That's just a way of life.”
There's a Lot of Footage on the Cutting Room Floor
Already you are seeing quite a bit of footage when you watch an entire season of Below Deck, which amounts to about 900 hours of content, and yet, that’s only a small fraction of all the available content from the shoot. In reality, there’s about 45,000 hours’ worth of footage for every season.
Most of that footage, you’ll never get to see as it ends up on the cutting room floor. Material from the shoot is immediately sent off at the end of one filming day and that is almost immediately ended in post-production, so few eyes actually get to see it, in fact.
The Bathroom is the Only Safe Space
Aboard the luxury yacht, only one spot is safe from the lens of the camera and that’s the bathroom for obvious reasons. Most of the rooms are filled with Go-Pro cameras and microphones meant to capture every possible moment, except for people relieving themselves.
Every conversation, bad joke, embarrassing or dramatic moment, is caught on camera for television audiences. However, they may not necessarily see everything caught on camera, but that footage definitely exists somewhere out there in cyberspace - for future generations or aliens to find - just saying.
It's All Unscripted
Unlike many reality shows that are obviously scripted to some extent, at least in terms of how each episode plays out, that’s not true for Below Deck. There are no scripted conversations, interactions or other pieces of dialogue of any kind. None of the activities are planned out either.
This separates it from most other reality shows that have some kind of theme, or plot in each episode that set it apart. Everything you see on screen is unfolding naturally. Maybe you don’t get the whole story, but those interactions are 100% legit.
The Charter Guests are Specially Chosen
The charter guests don’t just happen to be willing participants. This is the part of the show that is somewhat staged because you don’t get to be a guest without your willingness to participate in filming. The guests are chosen by the production crew for the purposes of making art.
Like any other reality show, the cast of characters are chosen beforehand. And besides being incredibly good-looking most of the time, the guests with the biggest personalities are chosen because, let’s face it: all of it makes for a more entertaining show.
How Eddie's Season 3 Rendevous Changed the Show
One of the most memorable moments from season 3 was the shocking romantic rendezvous between Eddie and Rocky. Prior to this moment, most areas of the luxury yacht were captured by cameras. However, there were a few private areas, which was the case when Eddie and Rocky hooked up in the laundry room.
Since that encounter, there’s been a camera installed in the laundry room, among other places where the guests previously thought were safe. Now there are cameras almost anywhere, except for the bathroom as previously mentioned.
Hookups are Rare
Despite the incident between Rocky and Eddie, among others on the show, the actual number hookup instances is actually few and far between. Only the occasional flings are captured and put in the show, making you believe it happens a lot.
But as mentioned, there’s a ton of footage for every season, and the hookups are included, because of course, sex sells. The number of occurrences is also dependent on the captain’s rules and how guest areas are utilized so its not necessarily dependent on how well people aboard are getting along.
Replacements on Standby
Covid obviously caused a number of complications for a great many productions, and Below Deck was no exception. With people getting sick day-in and day-out, calling out of work for extended periods of time and canceling vacations and what-not, the concern of castmates on Below Deck calling out was a very real concern.
Luckily, the Below Deck filming crew had a plan B. Showrunners had replacement guests on standby in the event that someone couldn’t make the voyage. The replacements were set up in hotel rooms nearby in case their services were needed. And as for the ones that didn’t make it on camera - they got a free vacation.
The Crew Follows Strict Rules
The crew follows a strict set of rules when it comes to filming the series. For one, the crew cannot wear shoes on deck to prevent damage to the deck floors. Fraternization with the guests is not allowed, and if two people go into the bathroom together, they don’t get privacy in the bathroom.
Every worker aboard the ship is drug tested and they can’t even drink alcohol. This is a matter of safety, however, rather than any Puritan values. Every crew member needs to be ready for any given emergency, whether that’s a fire or a man overboard.
The Cast Cannot Talk to the Film Crew
One of the strictest rules aboard the yacht is that the cast cannot talk to the film crew. The concern is that this kind of fraternization breaks the fourth wall, which is to say that it takes the feeling of immersion felt by the viewer, reminding them that they are indeed watching a television show.
The crew and guests cannot speak to the camera crew or production crew while the cameras are rolling. They can’t even say hello. While there are occasional comments and jokes made to the film crew following them around, these comments are usually ignored as to not encourage them. They can’t even say hello.
That being said, the crew can't sleep with the charter guests but they can sleep with each other!
At close-quarters things are naturally somewhat cramped on a yacht as it is but that’s made worse by the extensive cast and crew members. Combined with the ship’s guests and crewmates, there’s also the film and production crew aboard the yacht, making things a whole lot more claustrophobic.
Then there’s the filming equipment that takes up space in every room. So, as luxurious as everything may seem on board, it can be a simultaneously nerve-racking experience if you aren’t a fan of tight spaces. It makes everything a little less comfortable.
The Studio is Actually on the Yacht
The studio is actually located on the yacht. All of the camera and audio equipment is managed in one place on the yacht. This area of the ship used to be a gym but it was transformed into a studio. On top of that, 15-inch monitors to keep track of everything happening aboard the boat.
Luckily all the cast mates are already in good shape, that they don’t really need to worry about staying fit. But honestly, who wants to work out anyway when you are vacationing on a yacht. Splurge and live a little!
The Camera Crew Gets Few Breaks But Are Still Treated like Guests
While the camera crew isn’t allowed to talk to the charter guests, that is not to say they are treated as subhuman. The camera crew is treated quite well and more-or-less equal to that of the guests. They are pampered and given all the same luxurious as any other guest, aside from the fact that they are there to work.
Ultimately, they are treated with respect. Although working hours can be long, they do get their breaks. While they may not be having as much fun as the rest of the guests, they still have a pretty good gig. Some people will never set afoot on a yacht once in their lives, let alone as part of a job.
Not All Drama
While all the drama is certainly highlighted on the show, its not necessarily what’s happening most of the time. Mostly, its fun and games and the drama is featured to entertain audiences. Watching other people have fun on camera is rarely that enjoyable for viewers. Yet, most of the moments caught on camera are just that.
Colin Macy-O’Toole told InTouch, “we would just go to sleep laughing so hard because Travis, Jack — they’re goofballs and they’re so funny, but obviously they show the dramatic side of things like the work stuff that they don’t show how funny everybody is.”
Big Stars like Jennifer Lawrence are Fans of the Show
Below Deck has a massive following, including A-List stars like Seth Rogan, Christina Applegate and Jennifer Lawrence. Avengers star Anthony Mackie has also praised the show, and in particular, Captain Lee, saying, “Everyone in the crew is really attractive. Even the captain dude that’s like Santa Claus. He’s really attractive.”
Seth Rogan told Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show that he’s even been asked to be on the show. However, he prefers just to watch telling Fallon, “They’re always trying to get me to go on it, which I say no to all the time. I can’t go on it, you look like a d*** no matter what, like, you are the antagonist on the show. You can’t do it.”