We've seen the crew of Bravo's Below Deck work around the clock for their charter guests, making dozens of drinks, doing ten loads of laundry overnight, rolling and unrolling the water slide for a good fifteen minutes of enjoyment, and putting Ben into a apoplectic rage every time a request is sent to the kitchen. But how much does the Below Deck crew get paid? According to Bravo, the crew make the "industry standard."
Most crew members on a yacht make between $30,000-60,000 a year, as they move up from deckhand/steward to more superior positions, like chief stew or bosun. The base pay is surprisingly high, considering how much complaining every member of the Below Deck crew loves to do. Yep, as far as I can tell, the base salary before tips doesn't go much below thirty thousand a year on a 100-foot yacht like the Ohana. On land, restaurant and hotel owners get away with paying their employees borderline unlivable wages, but out at sea a tip is just that — an extra bonus to reward good service.
But Bravo doesn't promise to pump up their incomes significantly from what they'd be earning as non-reality star. One online conspiracy theorist surmised that the lower on the totem pole, the cheaper the crew member — on both a yacht and on a TV show, seniority comes with a hefty pay raise. So the cast shakeup could be a diversionary tactic to keep production costs low. Either way, it doesn't matter, because Below Deck Season 2 is actually even better than Season 1 so far.
The big draw of yachting is the exotic locations and the hefty tips, while the downsides include being trapped on a boat with all of your coworkers and being subject to the whims of the superrich. It can't be easy to travel from gig to gig so impermanently. It's not a steady income, even if it's a pretty good one, and there's no guarantee that any guest will tip well, regardless of the service they receive, which can mean days of very little sleep and taking round the clock orders.
But there's one thing that yachting has over almost every other profession, and that's built in room and board. The rooms may be tiny and the food may be cold and scarfed down in just a few minutes before going back to work, but it's all paid for by the yacht, not by the deckhand or the stew. Not many jobs pay you, tip you, feed you, clothe you, and give you a chance to star in a Bravo series.
Image: Tommy Garcia/Bravo; Reality TV Gifs/Tumblr (3)