Everything you need to know about the creation of Below Deck

Below Deck is the popular reality TV series giving audiences an insight into the lavish world of superyachts and crew life. With its luxury yacht interiors and outrageous guest requests, its first season in 2013 raked in over 1.4 million viewers per episode. Having returned in October 2021 for its ninth season, it’s no secret that audiences are hooked - but where exactly did the idea for Below Deck come from?

The initial idea for Below Deck was born when Rebecca Henning, co-executive of the show and ex-yachtie, was on a family holiday in Saint Martin. According to Boat International, Henning was out enjoying dinner when she overheard a group of yacht crew on the table beside her, where a stewardess was explaining that she was falling in love with a mate and was unsure whether she should tell the captain. Having previously worked on a private yacht owned by an affluent New York family, Henning saw Below Deck ‘unfold before her eyes’ whilst eavesdropping in to the TV worthy drama.

A pitch for Below Deck was then made to 51 Minds, the production company behind the show, and the rest is history. Whilst the show is now an obvious success, it has not all been plain sailing, if you pardon the pun.

Difficulties began to arise when yacht brokers were hesitant to allow production crew and reality TV stars on luxury, and very valuable superyachts. That wasn’t all; critics told crew members from the show that the ‘little TV show would be the downfall of the multibillion-dollar yachting industry’. Fortunately, eight years on and two spin-offs later, it’s clear they were very wrong.

The first luxury yacht to appear on the series was Cuor di Leone (renamed ‘Honor’ for the show), a 50-metre (163-foot) vessel captained by Lee Rosbach. However, captain Rosbach was not the initial choice for the role. According to Vulture, producers wanted the captain of the yacht to appear ‘young and handsome’ and looked to first officer Aleks Taldykin instead. However, the yacht owner was not comfortable with Taldykin managing his yacht despite the qualifications, and so the decision was made that Rosbach would continue to captain the yacht and appear on the reality show.

Not only is Below Deck continuing to rake in the viewers, but it has also sparked an interest in prospective crew members, with a number of Crew Agents reporting an increase in enquiries. Flying Fish, a superyacht crew training provider’, stated that it is receiving phone calls from people asking the question ‘How do I work on a yacht like Below Deck?’, highlighting the cultural impact and influence the show is having on audiences.

Although Below Deck might not show an exact portrayal of what it’s like to work on a superyacht, it gives its audience an insight into a world that was previously inaccessible to the everyday person. So, despite the initial hesitancy from yacht brokers and negative comments from critics, Below Deck continues to produce engrossing and exciting episodes for its fans.

Find out how you can stream Below Deck or discover more Below Deck articles in our dedicated library.  

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