When the hit reality series Below Deck returns to Bravo for season 11, it will do so without one of the yacht crew’s most cherished members: Captain Lee Rosbach, the stud of the sea. Taking the helm of the ship M/Y St. David as it sails the Caribbean is Captain Kerry Titheradge, who first debuted as the captain on spinoff series Below Deck Adventure. It’s a change that will undoubtedly take some viewers by surprise, especially as the new season will feature other returners from last season, including Chief Stew Fraser Olender and lead deckhand Ben Willoughby.

But we’ve actually known about this sea change for a while. In fact, it was announced at BravoCon 2023 that Captain Lee would be leaving the show after 11 years. Rumors quickly swirled regarding the reason for the captain’s departure from the series. Some speculated it had to do with Rosbach’s ongoing health issues, particularly a nerve problem that forced the captain to leave the ship midway through season 10, with Captain Sandy Yawn of Below Deck Med stepping in to replace him while he went for treatment.

“My injury is getting worse,” the captain said at the time in a confessional on the show. “The left side of my body, I don’t feel anything. I expected a lot more progress than I’m experiencing and the most frustrating part about it is I can’t do a goddamn thing about it. It’s hard.”

While Captain Lee did eventually return to finish off the charter season, he admitted he didn’t know what would be next for him in the season 10 finale: “I don’t know what’s going to happen in the future,” he said, “but the ocean’s always going to be part of me. I still got the best goddamn job in the world.”

Bravo’s statement at BravoCon didn’t specify whether Captain Lee quit the show or was fired. Rosbach set the record straight in an interview with Sun Sentinel, saying, “I did not quit. I did not retire. I was just not invited back… “[The network and I] came to an agreement, and I’m going to be doing some things for them in the next year.” The captain also speculated on why Bravo came to the decision: “I guess I can see their point of view. They really couldn’t get a straight answer from anyone on how my health was.”

So, what’s next for the Stud of the Sea? According to Deadline, he’s jumping to true crime, with a new series on Oxygen called Deadly Waters, which “follows murders that take place in the open waters and oceans.” The show is in production as we speak.

But Rosbach hasn’t completely closed the door on a potential return to Below Deck down the line, saying it could all depend on how season 11 performs with viewers sans Stud: “Then, season 12? I can imagine they are going to see what happens with season 11, with somebody new trying to take over for me, see how they do. If it’s too expensive for them, we’ll see what happens. If the numbers take a tank, would I go back? Yeah.”

Speaking more recently with TV Insider, Captain Titheradge shared words of advice he received from Rosbach before he was announced as his replacement.

“During BravoCon I remember all us captains got together and did a Watch What Happens Live on the cruise ship,” Titheradge revealed. “I was chatting with Captain Lee at a time where there was no discussion about me taking over the franchise or anything at that point. My season hasn’t even aired yet. I felt uncomfortable because nobody knew who I was. He told me it comes down to just being yourself on TV.”

Below Deck season 11 premieres on Feb. 5 at 9 pm ET on Bravo.

The post Below Deck: Why Captain Lee Isn’t Back for Season 11 appeared first on Den of Geek.

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