Captains, crew agree with embarrassment of 'Below Deck'
Thank you for your thoughtful comments regarding “Below Deck” this week [“Stained pillow, guest antics push me over the reality edge,” page A25, October issue]. We watched the Tuesday episode (S:2 E:7) as a crew and were universally embarrassed and appalled by the content.
The comments made by the “Below Deck” crew about their current group of guests were inappropriate and beyond unprofessional. Our crew all believe that the show has now crossed the line of being bad for yachting, and especially bad for charter yachts. We can joke about all this with the owner of our boat, but imagine the reaction of a potential charterer or purchaser viewing the show?
Does this kind of behavior actually go on aboard yachts? Absolutely. It also occurs in every hotel, restaurant, and every other service business … but it should stay in the “back of the house” or “Below Deck”. We would terminate any crew — and I would expect our boss to terminate me — for being involved in publicizing comments like those shown on “Below Deck.”
Capt. Steve Steinberg
I am sorry that you had to come to the reality that there is no reality in “Below Deck” the hard way. I admire your defense of the crew and Capt. Lee, but the show is a disgrace and those who participate in it are just as bad.
I am truly ashamed that anybody unfamiliar with yachting — whether owner, possible owner, charterer, possible charterer or young person considering a career as crew — may believe that this show represents anything similar to the real yachting experience.
Thanks for honestly reviewing this piece of trash, even though it may offend some of your friends.
As for “reality”, when was the last time somebody dropped off a 154-foot yacht at a marina to a crew sitting on the dock (bar) that never saw it before and left? With the yacht supposedly in shambles from weather damage, this rent-a-crew put everything back in place, learned all the systems, checked all the safety gear, performed the safety drills, provisioned the yacht, and left on the first charter in 24 hours? This is a <>reality<> show? The entire premise is a joke.
Capt. Bill HIpple
M/Y Lady Kath
Bravo to you, Lucy, not to the network of the same name. I was not a fan of the show to begin with and then after last week’s episode, my negative feelings strengthened in line with yours.
Although it does happen on some boats, the crew’s use of the guest spaces of the yacht for personal partying reasons and always starting charters hungover is not the norm in the industry and should not be portrayed as so. (Both are simply unacceptable under the command of most of us captains.) I suspect that if Capt. Lee could, he would put an end to that behavior.
The clientele who can afford to spend tens of thousands of dollars and much more to charter a yacht are probably (hopefully) not watching the show. But if some are, it will surely make them think twice about chartering. Why would they want to be subject to the poor service and crew drama constantly depicted? We don’t need this show.
Fortunately, experienced charter clients know this is simply ‘unreality’ TV. It would be of interest to hear what sales brokers and particularly charter brokers are hearing from their clients, if anything.
Capt. Chuck Limroth
Finally, a credible member of this industry has put into writing what professional captains and crew have been thinking for two years.
“Below Deck” is nothing more than a contrived mockumentary posing as an abortion of industry reality. It isn’t exposing viewers to the realities of yachting; it’s exposing yachting to the realities of the presence of unqualified crew who can directly (and adversely) affect the lives of people who pay large sums of money to be provided an amazing – and safe – experience that only a privileged few are able to enjoy.
Gary Carroll, owner
Comprehensive Yacht Assurance
I was glad to see you finally took objection to the “Below Deck” series. As a 30-year yacht captain, I was appalled at the show. No self-respecting captain would allow the BS that is going on. Yes, I have looked the other way when I knew I should do something, but never when it came to the boat safety or the guests. This show has given crew a license to act badly, and it’s made my job harder.
I don’t watch it after seeing a few partial episodes. I was so embarrassed, it made me uncomfortable thinking my cousins are seeing this. It made me feel like my life’s work has been a joke and not worthy of respect.
Capt. Glen McCloskey
Yachting and yacht owners are supposed to be kept private. At least, that was the training I received starting way back when on deck. Promulgating the lifestyles of the rich and their crew in any form will no doubt attract unwanted attention. I predict copycat shows, and no good will come out of it.
David Hole, manager
Marine Mile Yachting Center
I applaud this article. Finally, finally, finally, you cut through the hype and all the so-called buzz and see it for what it really is. This is the best article I have ever read in The Triton, and I thank you for tastefully stating what a large majority of us have been trying to convey: Reality TV is <>not<> reality.
The show is bogus and a total discredit to those people in the industry who work hard and run a proper boat. Bravo has cast a very dark cloud over what the reality of the charter business is and what is tolerated and not tolerated. Shame on the crew members who chose to participate in this train wreck of a show just to obtain television time, all the while giving the industry they work in a giant black eye.
Capt. Keith Moore
Well put, Lucy. The last couple episodes have left me cringing — and a little embarrassed for the crew involved. I don’t think it’s scripted, but I imagine the team at 51 Minds (producers of the show) had a huge hand in influencing/staging the story lines.
Either way, much of the fault certainly lies with the crew for playing along. I’m sure the pressure to “perform” in a way that pleased conniving reality TV producers was immense. Who’s to say? And yet, when I try to look at this season through the lens of someone unfamiliar with the industry, not only does it paint professional crew in a terrible light (what’s with all the vicious and catty comments about the guests off camera?), but it isn’t even entertaining. These storylines are aimed at the lowest common denominator. We can only hope most owners and potential charter guests have already dropped off as viewers — that is, if they were ever even watching.
I support many of the crew as individuals, so I hate to say it, but 51 Minds and Bravo did not do them any favors. Instead, the producers used the crew to showcase (and even exaggerate) a very negative side of yachting.
It’s a shame. I will be watching tomorrow night, but sadly, I’m not looking forward to it.
Former Stew Julie Perry,
author of “The Insider’s Guide to Becoming a Yacht Stewardess”
I, too, know Capt. Lee real well and have the exact same feelings about him and his involvement in the show as you do. Having said that, I do not like reality TV as I don’t think it is reality … mainly a director’s skewed version to get ratings.
I won’t watch “Below Deck” because I worry what a legitimate owner/charter guest would think of the crew and use of their property when they are gone. So I have quietly kept my mouth shut and hoped that this wouldn’t get out of control.
Anyway, bravo to you for your comments. I imagine you have been wrestling with how you feel the best way to approach this would be. Well, you nailed it. There are heaps more industry people who agree with you than are interested in the show.
An industry professional