Below Deck’s Ben Jokes His 1st Dock Departure as Bosun Wasn’t ‘Legal’

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Below Deck‘s Ben Willoughby had his work cut out for him when taking over for Jared Woodin — and he still has questions about the deck crew’s first departure with him as bosun.

“This is the longest charter we had all season — four days long. We’re already a man down [with Jared], but it’s nothing that I think we can’t handle. It’s unheard of [though when we] first [are] coming off the dock,” Ben exclusively told Us Weekly. “You’ve got two deck members [on the boat] while Sunny [Marquis] is on the tender. You wouldn’t do that. I don’t even know if it’s legal, to be honest.”

The reality star pointed out that it wasn’t easy to have stew Cat Baugh leave shortly after Jared.

“Interior was going to support us with whatever we needed, [such as] cleaning up the crew mess and all that kind of stuff. [They could] take some duties back from the deck team because we’re a man down,” he explained. “But now they’ve got to take [more] duties in their own department.”

Below Deck's Ben Willoughby That His 1st Dock Departure as Bosun Might Have Been 'Illegal'

Ben Willoughby.
Fred Jagueneau/Bravo

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Ben continued: “It’s just not an equal playing field again because we’ve got two crew members down [during] the biggest charter we’ve had. I mean, what can go wrong? Emotions are running high. It’s definitely an experience, to say the least, and I wouldn’t want to do that again.”

During the Monday, March 18, episode of Below Deck, Captain Kerry Titheradge let Jared go and subsequently promoted Ben. The crew was in for another shake-up when Cat asked to leave to deal with issues back home. Despite being two people down, Ben effortlessly slipped into the bosun role even though he wasn’t offered the job right off the bat.

“Initially, I think [I was] very much [surprised to not be bosun] because between the two seasons, I’d actually worked as a bosun on other vessels, which was great. I had very much just moved into that role very easily,” he noted. “So, when I was asked to come back and I was actually taking a step down back to the lead deckhand, I was like, ‘Damn, I’ve got to bite my tongue a bit here and see what kind of circus this person’s running.’”

Below Deck's Ben Willoughby That His 1st Dock Departure as Bosun Might Have Been 'Illegal'
Fred Jagueneau/Bravo

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Ben found it “very hard” in the beginning, adding, “You could see that evidently in the first few episodes. It’s hard for me to just step back in a role knowing that we’re destined to fail with Jared being at the helm. [It was] very frustrating. I don’t think Sunny or Kyle [Stillie] could see my frustration, but I was ready to walk off at one point. I was like, ‘If we’re going to keep going with this, I’m going to walk off this boat.’”

The tension between Ben and Jared was evident as season 11 played out.

“I think it was more of a competition between us two. I think that’s how Jared kind of took it because he could have used me to his advantage. I know the boat, I know how it works very successfully,” Ben explained. “But I think he was just trying to use what we call two-stripe authority to influence that on me. I did as much as I could to bite my tongue, but I was very much ready to walk off that boat because I knew we were destined to fail. And evidently here we are.”

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According to Ben, the benefit of taking over for Jared was learning what mistakes not to make.

“I was very pleased that he had the first run at it and I could sort of see what was going on,” he admitted to Us. “I’m glad that he took the first run at it, so I could see how to do it and what Kerry was like and where he demanded things. Especially in the docking situations … I could tell that Jared was stumbling and fumbling. So I knew that that’s where I just had to be on my A-game.”

Below Deck season 11 airs on Bravo Mondays at 9 p.m. ET. New episodes stream the next day on Peacock.



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