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"Below Deck" Star Captain Lee Reveals Shocking Show Secrets (Like How Much Guests Really Pay)

The former reality star revealed earlier this year that he wasn't asked to return to the series.

For 10 seasons, fans of Below Deck watched Captain Lee Rosbach take the helm of various luxurious superyachts as drama among staff and guests alike played out around him. So, if anyone knows how the Bravo series is produced, it's him. On X (formerly Twitter) recently, the 73-year-old, who told fans earlier this year that he was shocked to be let go from Below Deck, answered questions from fans about the reality show. Rosbach revealed several secrets, including how much guests really pay, which other captains from the franchise he's friends with, and where the production crew stays during filming. (They don't stay on the yacht, as some fans have assumed.)

Read on to see what the captain shared about the long-running reality series and to see what he's up to now that his Below Deck days are over.

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Rosbach was let go from Below Deck.

In May, Rosbach told Us Weekly that he was surprised to be let go from Below Deck after appearing on the series since its 2013 premiere. During season 10, Rosbach was shown leaving the boat temporarily due to health issues before returning at the end of the season.

"That came right out of left field. I did not see that one coming at all," Rosbach said of not being asked back. He said he was told, "We would like to move in a new direction." He added, "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."

Rosbach said he would return to the show if asked, however. "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," he explained.

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He shared secrets from the show on social media.

Rosbach recently responded to a number of fan questions and comments about Below Deck on X. For one, he clarified where the production crew stays while the show is filming. In response to someone who posted that the crew stay on a different boat, he wrote, "Nope, the production crew always stay on land." In a separate post, he wrote that they stay "on land in hotels at the end of their shift."

Rosbach also answered a question about whether he's friends with the other captains who have been featured on Below Deck and its spinoffs, Below Deck MediterraneanBelow Deck Sailing YachtBelow Deck Down Under, and Below Deck Adventure. He responded, "Some, not all." (Rosbach has a particularly long—and sometimes dramatic—history with Captain Sandy Yawn, who starred on Below Deck Mediterranean before serving as Lee's replacement during his leave on Below Deck season 10.)

Additionally, Rosbach responded to a more logistical fan comment about whether the show filmed in territorial versus international waters, considering how close the boats seem to be to land.

"Britt, territorial waters vary, as do flag states authority," Rosbach wrote. "Sometimes it's 3 miles, sometimes more or less. You really need to pay attention to where you are and under whose jurisdiction."

He revealed how much charter guests pay.

Lee Rosbach at FOX 29 Studio in Philadelphia in 2023
Gilbert Carrasquillo/GC Images via Getty Images

Someone asked, "do the guests really pay for the charters on the show or is it comped because they agreed to be on the show?" Rosbach responded, "They pay." Asked if they pay full price, he said, "No."

Another fan pointed out that a producer previously said that the guests got their charters for half-price. "That may have been true in the early yrs, but as the show grew so did the boats and the price to charter did as well," Rosback wrote back. Someone else posted, "They pay at 50%, but get their airfare covered. They do not, however, get access to the master suites, as that is taken up by camera crew and production." Rosbach cleared this up by writing, "Sorry Chris, they don't pay that much, they do get airfare and they do use the Master. Production sets up elsewhere."

In another post, Rosbach shared how much the yacht from Season 10 cost to charter. "St David chartered for 325k a week," he said. "They don't pay half."

Bravo says guests also pay for another aspect of the journey.

An article on the Bravo website explains, "Below Deck charters cost a pretty penny, and they are paid for by the charter guests, including that wad of cash they hand over for the crew's tip." Executive producer Mark Cronin added, "They spend their real money to be on the show. And then the tip they leave, they decide what it is."

The site Yacht Charter Fleet, lists the St. David at the same price that Rosbach mentioned—though it costs a few thousand dollars more in the summer months.

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Rosbach is hosting another Bravo show.

Kate Chastain and Lee Rosbach on "Couch Talk"

While Rosbach is no longer on Below Deck, he is still on the Bravo network. Since August, he has been hosting the new show Couch Talk With Captain Lee and Kate Chastain alongside former Below Deck chief stew Kate Chastain. The show features the pair discussing the top moments from Bravo reality shows each week.

Chastain was more well-versed on Bravo shows than Rosbach going in, he's explained. "It was surprising to me how seductive the shows can be once you start watching," Rosbach told People. "And then they end, and you find yourself wanting more, which I thought that would never happen to me."

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Lia Beck
Lia Beck is a writer living in Richmond, Virginia. In addition to Best Life, she has written for Refinery29, Bustle, Hello Giggles, InStyle, and more. Read more
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