How does the Below Deck crew get chosen? Recruitment process explained

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Below Deck brings together both experienced crewmembers and newcomers alike as they try their best to ensure charter guests have the luxury sailing trip of their dreams. However, the crew has been known to cause just as many problems as the guests, with high seas drama in store every episode. Yet the recruitment process for these sailors is not as simple as it may first seem. 

How does the Below Deck crew get chosen?

Fans of Below Deck may think that it all looks like fun and games on board these superyachts, but that isn’t always the case.

Despite the gorgeous locations, beautiful attractions and dream destinations, the crew are professionals and are there to work – most of the time.

As such, the reality show can’t just bring on board the people they believe will make good television, the recruitment process is highly rigorous to ensure the team knows what they are doing.

While there are often new members of the team, younger crewmates that are less experienced, they have all been properly vetted to ensure safety and requirements are being met.

In a recent interview with Vanity Fair, Below Deck Producer Courtland Cox went into detail on how the crew is expertly chosen.

Cox explained: “You can’t just find people who are fun and funny and interesting.”

“You have to find people who have the credentials and training to even be legal.”

As the crew is charged with ensuring the safety of the guests, the recruitment process can not lapse of the crew meeting the requirements to set sail.

Even though some crew members may have appeared to be new to the sailing experience, all the stars have real-world experience before applying for the job.

The rigorous recruitment process was also detailed by series Executive Producer Nadine Rajabi, speaking on the Melissa Rivers’ Group Text podcast.

“A lot of times people lie on their CVs,” Rajabi, “we check their references, and we’ve seen on the show where it’s like they lie on their CVs. And people are like, ‘Oh you guys cast this [person].’

“It’s like no we didn’t. We check their references and people lie on their CVs and it happens all the time. So we lean into what’s real.”

An important point that Rajabi wanted to stress is that the stars of Below Deck are first and foremost yachties.

The people chosen are not just somebody that “wants to be there, to be on TV”, but rather people just looking for a new experience.

Rajabi added: “What I like about Below Deck is they’re not there to be reality stars. Some people you’ll see that happening.

“But especially on the Med or the Caribbean, a lot of these kids are from Europe, South Africa, Australia. All over the world.

“They’ve never even seen [Below Deck]. Now Below Deck is so popular but in the early days, they’d never even seen Below Deck. So they’re just yachties and it was one of those YOLO experiences.”

The recruitment process is very specific and ensures there is a balance between experience and likability on camera.

What may not be immediately clear either is that each charter season lasts a few months at sea, meaning the crew needs to be able to handle working long hours consistently.

Each charter season is typically broken down into segments, in order to accommodate more guests throughout the season.

Cameras are rolling from around 7am to 10pm as well, meaning the crew needs to quickly adapt to life in front of a camera crew.

Despite the regular good times seen on screen, there is a lot of hard work that is left on the cutting room floor before each season is aired for fans to enjoy.

Below Deck airs on Bravo, hayu, NOW, E4 and Peacock.

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