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Captain Lee Explains Why ‘Below Deck’ Couldn’t Prepare Him for His ‘Deadly Waters’ Experience (Exclusive)

Despite being on Below Deck for 10 years, Captain Lee Rosbach admitted that the Bravo series did not help him prepare for his new gig on Oxygen’s Deadly Waters.

“Not at all. I mean, there’s cameras and water,” Lee, 74, exclusively told Us Weekly about how Below Deck compared to Deadly Waters. “That’s where all similarities end.”

Lee poked fun at the most recent Below Deck drama while discussing his new project, adding, “[On] Below Deck, [they] have to worry about Jill Zarin and how her ice cubes didn’t fit [or] they weren’t the right size.”

The stakes are much higher on his true crime show, Deadly Waters. “You’re talking about bodies popping up and about the effect that it has on the relatives and the mothers and the fathers and the sisters and the people that are left behind,” Lee added.

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Before joining Deadly Waters, Lee was part of the Below Deck franchise since the show debuted in 2013. He took a break from filming season 10, which aired in 2022, to deal with ongoing health issues. Lee was temporarily replaced by Below Deck Mediterranean‘s Captain Sandy Yawn before he returned later in the season.

Captain Lee Teases Similarities Between Deadly Watersand 'Below Deck
Captain Lee Chris Haston/NBC

Season 11, however, kicked off with Lee being replaced with Below Deck Adventure‘s Captain Kerry Titheradge. The shift allowed Lee to branch out with his “Salty With Captain Lee” podcast and Deadly Waters, which has him unraveling the secrets of homicide investigations on rivers, lakes and the open seas. Using his expertise, Lee will expose the maritime clues that sunk the perps and ultimately led to their capture.

“Sometimes it’s inexperience where it’s a red flag that an inexperienced captain or inexperienced operator just didn’t pick up on, and they ended up paying for it dearly,” Lee told Us. “And that’s one of the things that jumped out at me. Then just the perpetrators themselves, their lack of maritime [knowledge] of wind waves and current and tides. The list goes on forever that often proves to be their undoing, which is a good thing for law enforcement.”

After taking a filming break, Lee admitted it felt good to be back in front of the camera with Deadly Waters.

“For one, it’s got something to do with water. So usually if it’s got something to do with water, I’m in. I [also] like crime shows. I’ve been watching Law & Order and all of the whodunits for a million years,” he continued. “I’m that guy that sits there and thinks he’s got it all figured out and then realizes that he wasn’t anywhere close to what really happened.”

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Lee was particularly invested by the true crime aspect of the series.

“There’s something about when you’re dealing with things that actually have happened, and people’s lives have actually been lost and other people’s lives are affected. There’s something about that that adds a new twist to it that makes it all the more real,” he explained. “You’re not dealing with Sam Waterston and the rest of the cast of Law & Order. For our show, once we close out that episode, those people aren’t ever coming back. It adds a realism to it that you can’t get just by writing it. It has to be experienced and lived.”

While Lee’s time on Below Deck didn’t help him on the show, his experience as captain did.

“There’s certain aspects that when a murder is committed on dry land, maybe they’re gonna drive the body somewhere or dig a hole and put it in there. When you’re on the water, the most obvious thing is, ‘We’re gonna dump it over the side.’ But what they fail to realize is — especially if they don’t know anything about tides, currents or wind waves — is that what necessarily goes over the side and sinks to the bottom doesn’t necessarily stay at the bottom,” Lee, who has spent more than three decades as a mega yacht captain, noted. “There’s a reason that bodies don’t stay down where they’re supposed to or where their perpetrators want them to. But because they don’t know about the ocean and they don’t know what water can do, it puts them at a disadvantage.”

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He added: “That’s where our dedicated men from the people that serve in maritime law enforcement agencies have a distinct advantage because they do know. The Coast Guard when they get involved, the maritime police [and] the Navy. They have a thankless job and it all too often gets extremely gruesome.”

Lee also opened up about which case from Deadly Waters captivated him the most.

“The thing that affects me the most is how do people have that in them? What makes them go from just being a normal individual to somebody that can murder in cold blood however many people and not give it another thought?” he told Us. “I don’t know what transpires in their heads — nor do I care. My primary concern is that they get caught, and they deserve what they get. And then sometimes, I don’t think punishment fits the crime.”

Deadly Waters With Captain Lee premieres on Oxygen Saturday, June 1, at 9 p.m. ET and episodes will be available to stream on Peacock the next day.

With reporting by Christina Garibaldi

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