After Below Deck departure, Captain Lee promises he'll be back; fans react

Captain Lee in Below Deck season 10
Captain Lee in Below Deck season 10 (Image credit: Laurent Bassett/Bravo)

Captain Lee's premature departure from Below Deck season 10 might not have been the best kept secret given it was teased in the pre-season trailer. Though now that the moment has arrived, fans can't help but react to how it all happened. 

The Below Deck season 10 trailer indicated that Captain Lee had been dealing with health issues, so even the quick glimpse of the crew with tears in their eyes was enough to suggest that he wouldn't be sticking around this season. Thanks to the filming and scheduling process, though, fans have spotted a healthy and spry Captain Lee on social media and at in-person events like BravoCon. 

Before we get to the reactions, fans want to know whether this is the end of Captain Lee's journey on the beloved Bravo franchise. Captain Lee spoke about retirement in a November 2022 interview with E!, noting that it was something in the distant horizon but not on his radar any time soon. 

"I think retirement is highly overrated," he said. "You can only go fishing so much, you can only play so much golf. I think people have to stay productive, otherwise they might as well start getting out the shovel."

He also revealed on Twitter that his departure from the show isn't permanent. When a fan asked whether he'd be back next season, here's what he said: "I will as long as it's fun, which it is and you guys still want to have me."

Captain Lee started the 10th charter season in recovery after off-season surgery. Though he was on the mend, he realized that his mobility was being impacted more than he'd imagined. When he lost feeling on the left side of his body as the charter season progressed, he knew he had to step down. 

With the decision to leave made, he gathered the crew together to reveal the news. The crew's reaction was one of shock and sadness, because everyone loves the Stud of the Sea, but there was no missing the fact that the captain wasn't operating at 100%, something that's required for this line of work. 

"There comes a point if a captain is really being objective, he should be putting the best interests of his crew first because that's your primary responsibility," Lee said in the episode. 

Not surprisingly, Below Deck fans were quick to offer the captain their condolences and well wishes. 

Fans react to Captain Lee's departure

While fans wished Captain Lee the best, there were some fans who wondered why he'd been allowed to set sail with an injury in the first place. After all, being the captain of any vessel is a big deal with lots of responsibilities. 

Now that Captain Lee has left the dock this season, the focus now shifts to who will take over for him. There are plenty of Below Deck captains from previous franchises who could take over, so stay tuned to see who takes the helm in the next episode. 

Below Deck airs Mondays at 8 pm ET/PT on Bravo with episodes available to stream the next day on Peacock. It's available to stream in the UK on Hayu. 

Sarabeth Pollock
Editorial Content Producer


Sarabeth joined the What to Watch team in May 2022. An avid TV and movie fan, her perennial favorites are The Walking Dead, American Horror Story, true crime documentaries on Netflix and anything from Passionflix. You’ve Got Mail, Ocean's Eleven and Signs are movies that she can watch all day long. She's also a huge baseball fan, and hockey is a new favorite.  

When she's not working, Sarabeth hosts the My Nights Are Booked Podcast and a blog dedicated to books and interviews with authors and actors. She also published her first novel, Once Upon an Interview, in 2022.