Cast Off to Cash: Uncovering the Salaries of 'Below Deck' Crew Members

Crew members on the Bravo reality show 'Below Deck' may not be paid as well as stars of other Bravo shows. How much do they make? Let's get into it.

Kathryn Underwood - Author

Apr. 28 2023, Updated 1:06 p.m. ET

Fans of Bravo TV’s reality yachting program Below Deck have likely wondered whether the show’s crew and cast members are paid well for their efforts. The show follows superyachts that have been chartered to travel in beautiful locales. Below Deck looks at how the guests behave on board and how the crew members get along. How much does the crew from Below Deck make?

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Those of us who merely watch from our homes and smartphones may daydream about the luxury of cruising the Mediterranean or other warm locales with an attentive crew. Even being part of the crew of the hit show may sound appealing, but does the talent get paid fairly for their hard efforts at keeping these superyachts going and fulfilling customer demands?

Let's find out!

Here's how much the 'Below Deck' crew makes in salary per episode.

Cast members of "Below Deck: Med" in a September episode.
Source: Facebook

Below Deck premiered in 2013 and has led to several spin-offs in different locations. Below Deck: Mediterranean was the first to follow the original reality show, and in 2020, Below Deck: Sailing Yacht hit television sets. In 2021, spin-offs Below Deck Adventure and Below Deck Down Under were created.

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The Below Deck franchise relies on “yachties,” or crew members, who keep things running. Specific roles on board include captain, first officer, deckhands, bosun, chief engineers, chef, and steward/stewardesses.

According to ShowStarNews, cast members must sign an NDA (non-disclosure agreement) about their salary. Some sources say that cast and crew who complete a full season receive $5,000.

All cast members divvy up tips from guests who charter the yachts, which Chief Stewardess Kate Chastain claimed was about $5,000 for a week-long charter and $2,000–$2,500 for a three-day charter.

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The 'Below Deck' yacht crew's salary plus tips is allegedly lower than pay for other Bravo stars.

Crew members of 'Below Deck Down Under' ham it up for the cameras on boat.
Source: Facebook

Crew members of 'Below Deck Down Under' ham it up for the cameras.

Some former Below Deck crew members have publicly criticized the network for paying the crew and cast less than similar shows like those in the Real Housewives franchise. Eddie Lucas, a former cast member, said they were paid more than “normal yachties” but not near what the Real Housewives stars earned.

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“There is somebody monetizing off of the show, but it’s definitely not us. Below Deck — regardless of it being the most popular show on Bravo — we are the lowest-paid cast members,” Lucas told the New York Post.

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Other previous cast and crew members of the Below Deck franchise commented after Lucas's remarks on pay discrepancy. Jessica More, of the Below Deck: Mediterranean, said, "Yep 👏 I see all facts in his statements." Ciara Duggan, from Season 1 of Below Deck Sailing Yacht, remarked that Lucas was "not wrong" about cast pay. Another former cast member, Tiffany Copeland, commented that she wished they received residuals when reruns are aired.

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Crew and cast members with more celebrity power can also likely use that to negotiate higher salaries for their work on the show.

ShowStarNews estimates salaries on board by role:

  • Deckhand: $24,500

  • First Officer: $28,250

  • Bosun: $25,250

  • Chief Engineer: $32,000

  • First-time chief stewardess: $24,000–$26,000

However, in non-reality-TV situations, crew members on a yacht are paid relative to the size of the vessel as well as to their responsibilities on the vessel. Crew Finders, a yachting recruitment company, estimates salaries of $192,000–$228,000 for a Captain on a vessel between about 160 and 190 feet long.

A Below Deck chef in their first season on the show might earn about $29,000 for one season. However, as Crew Finders noted, a chef on a chartered yacht of the typical size for Below Deck, a chef might earn close to six figures ($96,000–$108,000).

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