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Captain Lee Reveals ‘Below Deck’ Guests Originally Didn’t Pay for Charters

Below Deck’s Captain Lee Reveals Guests Originally Didn't Pay for Charters, Explains How It Backfired
Captain Lee Chris Haston/NBC

Captain Lee Rosbach revealed some interesting details about how much charter guests spent — or specifically didn’t spend — during the first season of Below Deck.

“When we first started the series, it was so unknown,” the Below Deck alum, 74, recalled during the Thursday, April 25, episode of T.J. Holmes and Amy Robach’s “Amy and T.J.” podcast. “I am not going to say nobody knew what they were doing but no one had filmed charter guests on a moving boat with all the crew and the camera crew and the audio techs and everything we had to have on board. It had not been done before.”

As a result of the experience being so new, potential guests got the chance to charter the boat for free. “We were actually not charging anybody for the charters,” Lee revealed.

That decision quickly led to problems for the crew. “Then we ran into an issue because we weren’t charging anybody for the charters,” Lee noted. “If they didn’t have any skin in the game, at the last minute they would find a bigger, better deal and they wouldn’t show up.”

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He continued: “Then we have four days to fill with no guests. We started charging — they did get a heavily discontinued rate. It was really a great deal for them.”

Below Deck’s Captain Lee Reveals Guests Originally Didn't Pay for Charters, Explains How It Backfired
Xandi Olivier on ‘Below Deck.’ Fred Jagueneau/Bravo

The captain also pulled back the curtain on where guests actually stayed before and after being on Honor, noting the guests had an all-inclusive booking, which included a stay at the villa as well.

Below Deck, which debuted on Bravo in 2013, introduced viewers to various crew members who reside and work on a superyacht during charter season. The original series quickly became a major success for the network, spawning spinoffs including Below Deck Mediterranean, Below Deck Sailing Yacht, Below Deck Down Under and Below Deck Adventure.

Lee became a familiar face for viewers after his 10-year stint on Below Deck. After appearing on every season since the show premiered, Lee took a break from filming season 10 to deal with health issues.

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Lee was temporarily replaced by Below Deck Mediterranean‘s Captain Sandy Yawn before he returned later in the season, which aired in 2022. Off screen, Us Weekly broke the news that Lee would be replaced with Below Deck Adventure‘s Captain Kerry Titheradge for season 11.

The former reality star has since admitted he wasn’t planning to leave Below Deck, exclusively telling Us in May 2023: “That came right out of left field. I did not see that one coming at all.”

Below Deck’s Captain Lee Reveals Guests Originally Didn't Pay for Charters, Explains How It Backfired
Ben Willoughby and Sunny Marquis on ‘Below Deck.’ Fred Jagueneau/Bravo

Lee claimed at the time that he didn’t receive a reason for the decision.

“‘We would like to move in a new direction,’” Lee recalled the network telling him. “But I mean, that’s kind of a cliche that everybody uses when they find themselves in that situation where they’re going to let somebody go. ‘I’m going to move in a new direction. We want to freshen it up a little.’ [They are] tired cliches that get overused.”

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Lee has continued to work with Bravo on his Coach Talk With Captain Lee and Kate. Earlier this year, Deadline announced that Lee would be the host of a new Oxygen true crime series titled Deadly Waters. He has also transitioned into podcasting with “Salty With Captain Lee,” which he hosts with Sam DeCavalcanti.

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Despite his new professional ventures, Lee wouldn’t rule out a return to Below Deck, telling Us in May 2023: “If they found that they needed me back on the show, I’d go back. I’ve done it for 10 years and I would kind of like to — if I’m going to make an exit — do it on different terms.”

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