Bravo’s highly successful Below Deck, which debuted in 2013 and has since evolved into a franchise that includes four spin-offs — Below Deck: Mediterranean, Below Deck: Sailing Yacht, Below Deck: Down Under, and Below Deck: Adventure — chronicles the trials and tribulations of the yachting industry through the eyes of its hard-working crew on superyachts as they deal with demanding and oftentimes embarrassing charter guests. With lavish escapism that doubles as perfect "eat the rich"media and juicy, never-ending drama, Below Deck is mystifyingly addicting.
The success of a reality series ultimately hinges upon the eclectic group of bold individuals that are brought on as its stars. With over 160 crew members appearing throughout its 21 seasons, the franchise has mastered the art of crafting ensembles of yachties who make for fantastic, binge-worthy TV. Naturally, every season includes a mix of frustrating, villainous crew members, and the rare gems you’d actually want to work with.
It’s safe to say that Below Deck’s casting department deserves several Emmy awards for always managing to find the most absurd group of adults to charter around the world. As the OG Below Deck series premieres its milestone 10th season, we’ve compiled a list of the best and worst crew members to grace us with their presence across the franchise’s history.
Lee Rosbach, Below Deck
Captain Lee has been with Below Deck ever since it premiered in 2013. Now entering his 10th season chartering with absurd guests and crews, he has experienced a handful of highs and lows but overall runs a tight ship. Captain Lee is a fair leader who only gets involved in crew drama when it reaches the point of termination, and he bears a likability that some other Below Deck captains haven’t quite been able to attain. It’s impossible to imagine the show working without the "stud of the sea" and his incredible one-liners.
Kate Chastain, Below Deck
It wasn’t until Kate Chastain joined as a seasoned chief stewardess in Season 2 that Below Deck really took off. While she had her fair share of bad moments in terms of personal attitude, Chastain was a hard worker who went the extra mile when it came to making charters as successful (or at least memorable) as possible. Plus, her compelling drama and storylines, snarky commentary, and sassy personality makes for a perfect Bravoleb. Chastain’s six seasons on the show set the standard for the franchise’s chief stews, and her departure fundamentally changed the OG.
Ben Robinson, Below Deck and Mediterranean
As Below Deck’s first ever chef, Ben Robinson raised the bar for future chefs that would join the franchise. He may be prone to temper tantrums, but he is undeniably a talented person who brings just the right amount of chaotic goodness whenever he makes a delightful appearance in the franchise (the latest being in Mediterranean’s fourth season as a last-minute replacement). As everyone who is familiar with cooking TV knows, chefs can be hot-headed characters, but Ben is charming and hilarious in a way that you can’t help but develop a slight crush on him.
Aesha Scott, Mediterranean and Down Under
Ever since she graced Mediterranean as a second stewardess in the France-set fourth season, eventually returning as a replacement stew for part of the following season, Aesha Scott has been a delightful breath of fresh air. Scott made her triumphant return to the franchise, this time as part of Down Under’s cast, with the well-deserved title of chief stewardess. It’s a joy to watch her genuinely put effort into working with her stews, and her infectious energy and kindhearted nature makes it impossible not to love her.
Rachel Hargrove, Below Deck
Colin McRae, Mediterranean
Joining Sailing Yacht’s second season as a chief engineer, Colin McRae has easily been one of the most down-to-earth people to appear in the franchise. McRae is perhaps a bit too normal for Below Deck’s hijinks, seeming much more interested in being an observer of his crewmates’ ongoing antics as opposed to being the subject of gossip. In this way, he sort of serves as a proxy for us entertainment-fueled viewers. We stan a drama-free king who knows how to do his job!
Daisy Kelliher, Sailing Yacht
Tumi Mhlongo, Down Under
Of the majority of the stewardesses on any Below Deck installment, second stew Tumi Mhlongo from Down Under has always been one to go above and beyond to leave a lasting impression. Her presence is never not graceful, and she always pours her heart and soul into crafting stunning, not-so-tacky table settings. Mhlongo is chief stew material, and we can only wish that she’ll one day return to the series with a new stripe on her epaulets.
Glenn Shephard, Sailing Yacht
Colin Macy-O’Toole, Mediterranean
Of all the toxic men that clouded the third and fourth seasons of Mediterranean, deckhand Colin Macy-O’Toole is a glorious ray of sunshine. He got along with everyone during his two-season run and was always open to learning from his mistakes, to the point where he is likely one of the sweetest and most likable people to ever appear on reality TV while simultaneously never being boring. A momma’s boy at heart, he was clearly raised right.
Sandy Yawn, Mediterranean
Mila Kolomeitseva, Mediterranean
If "fake it till you make it" was a person, it would be chef Mila Kolomeitseva. On paper, her impressive resume, which listed her as a Le Cordon Bleu-trained chef who could make upscale cuisine, was everything one could want in a luxury yacht chef. Her time on Below Deck: Mediterranean, however, was cursed from the moment she set foot in the galley. During the first charter, she whipped up a horrifying plate of nachos and microwaved pieces of steak that she had licked. Not only did chef Mila have no clue how to navigate the galley, but she also outed herself as a vile homophobe who was immediately shunned by the rest of the crew prior to getting the boot a few episodes into the season.
Magda Ziomek, Down Under
Lexi Wilson, Mediterranean
Second stewardess Lexi Wilson (who eventually got demoted) was the most nightmarish yachtie we have ever seen on Below Deck. From getting into several drunken altercations to sexually assaulting deckhand Lloyd Spencer and assaulting multiple other crew members to constantly gloating about her money to, most alarmingly, frequently describing herself as "Satan" and having a literal burn list, Wilson's behavior and attitude was absolutely atrocious. It's a crime that Captain Sandy allowed her to continue working for as long as she did.
Leon Walker, Below Deck
Ashton Pienaar, Below Deck
Joining the sixth season of Below Deck as a deckhand, during which time he almost died after going overboard, Ashton Pienaar eventually got promoted to bosun for the following season. His terrifying near-death experience doesn’t excuse the fact that his behavior was awful all throughout. While decent at the duties his job requires of him, Pienaar was a walking red flag underneath his flirtatious exterior. A member of the Brü Crew with his fellow male deckhands, Pienaar fostered a toxic atmosphere and was a misogynistic nightmare who poorly treated chief stew Kate Chastain and female deckhand Rhylee Gerber.
Peter Hunziker, Mediterranean
A deckhand on Mediterranean’s fifth season, Peter Hunziker exhibited weird behavior toward his women co-workers. To add onto his already shady actions on-screen, it was discovered that he shared racist and sexist posts on social media as the season was in the midst of airing. Bravo producers made the wise decision to edit him out of the rest of the season as a result.
Ashley Marti, Sailing Yacht
Ryan McKeown, Down Under
There are times when reality TV villains are the compelling types you sort of develop a love-hate relationship with rather than just flat-out loathing their presence. This is unfortunately not the case with chef Ryan McKeown, who is simply just an evil TV personality who basks in the fact that he treats people terribly. Chef Ryan is lazy, passionless about his work, and fully uninterested in accommodating the guests' requests, so it's baffling why he would choose to work in such a demanding setting. Moreover, anyone who messes with Aesha Scott, the kindest chief stew on Earth, deserves to be thrown overboard in our book.
Kyle Dickard, Adventure
Jihane Bousfiha is a culture writer based in Florida.
TOPICS: Below Deck, Bravo, Below Deck Adventure, Below Deck Down Under, Below Deck Mediterranean, Below Deck Sailing Yacht, Aesha Scott, Colin McRae, Glenn Shepard, Kate Chastain, Kyle Dickard, Lee Rosbach, Mila Kolomeitseva, Ryan McKeown, Sandy Yawn, Reality TV