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Kate Chastain Weighs In on ‘Below Deck’ Drama – Including Why She Won’t Take Sides With Sandy and Lee (Exclusive)

Kate Chastain isn’t on Below Deck anymore — but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t have opinions on all that drama.

Bravo viewers were introduced to Kate when she joined Below Deck during its second season. She remained on board for six seasons before announcing her exit. Despite her departure from Below Deck, Kate exclusively told Us Weekly that she wouldn’t rule out a potential return.

“I would go back [and] freelance for one week if I could stay in the laundry room and listen to music,” Kate said while promoting her partnership with Dramamine. “Because it’s a fun experience to go on a yacht — whether you’re the crew or the guest. A little more fun as the guest.”

The former chief stew even has her choice of dream Below Deck captains picked out, adding, “I would love to work with Captain Sandy [Yawn], absolutely. And Captain Kerry [Titheradge] seems great as well. That Captain Jason [Chambers] — he’s not too hard on the eyes.”

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Related: A Guide to Every Captain in the 'Below Deck' Franchise: From Lee to Sandy

Kate’s experience on Below Deck was solely working alongside Captain Lee Rosbach, which allowed them to form a close friendship. Lee, who was on the show since it debuted in 2013, surprised fans when he confirmed his exit after 10 years. He was subsequently replaced with Kerry — but not before Sandy briefly filled in for him when Lee had health issues during his last season on the show.

As the first captain crossover in Below Deck history aired in 2023, Lee and Sandy appeared to be at odds off screen. Both Lee and Sandy have since said they don’t have any issues. While speaking with Us, Kate discussed being in the middle since she’s friendly with both captains.

“I think that Sandy is a really talented captain. She always has been. I think she drives the boat the best out of any captain in any Below Deck franchise,” Kate noted. “I don’t think that any of Lee’s criticisms of her were necessarily fair [or] warranted.”

Kate is determined to remain neutral, saying, “Just like with any other friends, I’m not going to take sides or end a friendship if that’s not how I feel.”

Keep scrolling for Kate’s hot takes on all things Bravo:

Watching ‘Below Deck’ Season 11 Play Out in Real Time

Kate Chastain Answers Below Deck Burning Questions Including Why She Wont Take Sides
(l-r) Ben Willoughby, Fraser Olender Fred Jagueneau/Bravo

Kerry received Kate’s stamp of approval after she saw him take over for Lee on Below Deck.

“I think Captain Kerry has done a fantastic job,” she shared. “I like that he’s a very accurate portrayal of a yacht captain. He’s stern but he’s very good. He’s talented at his job and he’s got that Australian accent, which I always love.”

However, Kate wasn’t thrilled with every cast member from the new season. Kate specifically named Ben Willoughby as someone whose performance she questioned.

“Ben has been full of surprises this season — but we kind of saw this coming his last season,” Kate pointed out before admitting she always had doubts. “I wasn’t totally on board with him last season. I didn’t really get it.”

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Jill Zarin’s Iconic Appearance

During season 11 of Below Deck, Bravo fans saw a familiar face when Jill Zarin joined as a guest. The former Real Housewives of New York City star created quite a stir with her presence due to her various demands from the crew members.

“I actually saw Jill Zarin right before I was about to have my baby [son Sullivan] at an event with Captain Sandy and she told me she was going to be a charter guest,” Kate revealed. “I feel bad because I was kind of like, ‘Don’t worry about it, just have a great time.'”

Kate continued: “And maybe I told her not to worry about it too much because apparently she did not worry about it. [Chief steward] Fraser [Olender] is a very polite guy. So for him to have such strong opinions about a guest — it must have been a lot.”

Jill, for her part, told Us there was a lot viewers didn’t see on screen. “I’m good with everything I did,” she shared in April. “[However], I don’t agree with how they reacted to why I said what I said on the show. So I kind of came back and gave my point of view because I don’t get an interview on the show. I don’t get a confessional.”

Kate’s Experience With Cabin Inspections

Kate Chastain Answers Below Deck Burning Questions Including Why She Wont Take Sides
Captain Kerry Titheradge Fred Jagueneau/Bravo

Although cabin inspections are apparently a thing on every boat, season 11 of Below Deck is the first time audience members actually saw a captain doing them. That led to Ben being insubordinate when he didn’t clean his room before Kerry checked them. Fraser, however, seemed thrilled by the prospect of being judged for the cleanliness of his personal space.

“I was not a fan of cabin inspections when I was a chief stew because I worked so much on the boat,” Kate admitted to Us. “When I got to my cabin, the last thing I was going to do was clean or organize it. … Listen, I keep the entire yacht in order. Can I just have my cabin?”

The ‘Below Deck’ Franchise Changing Stews Often

Kate Chastain Answers Below Deck Burning Questions Including Why She Wont Take Sides
Kate Chastain, Fraser Olender Gabe Ginsberg/Getty Images;Fred Jagueneau/Bravo

Since Kate’s exit from Below Deck and Hannah Ferrier‘s departure from Below Deck Med, the chief stew hasn’t remained the same season to season. Hannah previously threw shade at Below Deck Med not finding her permanent replacement while Kate showed support for Below Deck‘s approach.

“I think that they’re just trying to find their forever chief stew and I’m sure they’re going to find one,” she noted. “But it’s nice to see the different work styles, the different management styles and it kind of makes you appreciate other chief stews. Or not appreciate them when you see all these different ways of doing it.”

Kate seemed thrilled by some people calling Fraser the next her, adding, “I take it as the highest compliment because I think Fraser is lovely, funny, chic and perfect. I love him.”

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During the season 9 premiere, which aired on Monday, June 3, Captain Sandy stood up for Chef Johnathan Shillingford when he refused to get up to make food for the guests late at night.

“I’m not saying it’s fun to wake up and make food all night — but coming from a mom — you got to do it. It’s possible. It’s possible,” Kate said. “Imagine waking up a few times a night to feed a baby. You can do.”

Forming Friendships Off the Boat

Kate Chastain Answers Below Deck Burning Questions Including Why She Wont Take Sides
Captain Sandy Yawn Fred Jagueneau/Bravo

Kate has maintained close connections with several Below Deck franchise stars throughout the years — including Captain Sandy. In fact, Kate even scored a coveted invite to Sandy’s wedding to Leah Shafer earlier this year.

“It was so fun. They could only invite 50 people because of the yacht’s capacity and I felt very honored to be included in that,” Kate shared. “I gave a speech, which was great. And you’re always nervous and they looked beautiful and they’re so happy.”

Outside of the ‘Below Deck’ World

Kate Chastain Answers Below Deck Burning Questions Including Why She Wont Take Sides
Kate Chastain Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

Beyond the hit Bravo series, Kate has shifted her focus by teaming up with Dramamine to launch their No Drama on Deck Sweepstakes. The raffle gives two winners — and their friends — the chance to experience their own private yacht charter in Florida.

“Obviously a lot of people know me from my time spent on Below Deck and there’s no shortage of drama. When I was traveling on the seas, Dramamine was always the go-to product. Whenever guests started feeling motion sickness or anything — and I wish I could have given them Dramamine for the drama or even some of my coworkers,” Kate quipped. “So it just felt like a really natural partnership.”

She continued: “I’m so excited to help them celebrate. There is a sweepstakes going on between now and September 2nd and people get to enter to win a trip on a yacht — which having been on many yachts myself — it’s a great experience.”

Despite no longer being on Below Deck, Kate is busier than ever and is often traveling to different places. While on the go, Kate has a packing list full of essentials for anyone planning their own vacation. Those items include Advanced Herbals Ginger Chews, a portable phone charger and Eberjey silk pajamas.

“Everything I love is multipurpose. A maxi dress that’s versatile can go as a beach coverup, put on some heels and can go to night. The advanced herbal ginger chews, AirPods, a backup portable phone charger and a black bikini,” Kate told Us about what is always in her suitcase. “My grandmother always said, ‘Take a bathing suit, no matter where you go.’ I don’t care if you are going to Canada in the winter, your hotel might have a hot tub. It takes up no space in your suitcase. Bring that bathing suit.”

Dramamine’s No Drama on Deck Sweepstakes is open now.

With reporting by Christina Garibaldi

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