Week in and week out we watch Captain Mark Howard navigate his sometimes-wild crew on the lovely waters of the Mediterranean Sea on Below Deck Mediterranean. Having spent the last 30 years on board boats, Captain Mark has seen it all, quite literally. And if you've ever wondered what might be lurking under the Captain's hat, we here at The Daily Dish spoke to the man himself about his life and and rather colorful career.
Having spent so much time abroad, Captain Mark has picked up several languages along the way. "I can get by in French [and] in Spanish, you know reading them [or] somebody speaking slowly to me," Captain Mark told The Daily Dish. "But as soon as I'm away from the Med for six months then I forget the whole thing and then I have to reacquaint myself when I get back."
And it was while he was out on the high seas that he met his wife, a former charter chef. "We weren't on the same boat [when we met]. We both worked in yachting. She was on one boat, I was on another and then we met each other in Panama," he recalled. "And then a month or so later, we both wound up on both boats in Fort Lauderdale." And while Captain Mark is still active, he said his wife has "hung up her stripes so to speak." "We worked together for 11 years on yachts after we got married and she understands the whole thing," he explained. "She recognizes what it takes and she's a very sufficient gal and so we just make it work."
And when we say that Captain Mark has witnessed some crazy events while out and about, we're not lying. "I think one of the wackiest experiences I've had was charter[ing] to a European guy, and the [boat's] owner's actually got off the the yacht in Viareggio, Italy just so that we could be ready for these people," he said. "The day before they were supposed to get on it, the charter broker called me and said the charter client wants the boat in Cannes, so can you get over there by tomorrow morning? It was supposed to be a family charter. We get over there and here he comes with his girlfriend and he's going to take her out for a couple days on the yacht then have her leave and then the family comes on board and we have to act like, 'Oh nice to see you,' and act like we're meeting this guy for the first time — so that was wild."
While he's signed a confidentiality agreement or two in his career, Captain Mark did reveal a few of the famous faces he's worked with over the years. "The most A-list people that I've had on board were John Travolta and Oprah, at the same time. We did a tandem charter but that's about all I can really say about it," he said, before sharing what it's like to work with that type of charter guest. "I guess you up your game a little bit. You have to try and be as perfect as you can possibly be 'cause they expect the best and they get the best all the time, so they expect the best from us as well."
All that has certainly made him ready for all the shenanigans that go down on Below Deck Mediterranean. "I'm kind of a referee between all of the personalities. The Below Deck season was only six weeks and I'm used to [being] in the Med for six months at a time," he said. "And things can get really out of hand if I don't keep a lid on emotions and drama and all of that. I try to recognize early on that someone's not fitting in."
And, yes, he does see a bit of himself in Captain Lee Rosbach. "I think we're pretty similar actually," he said of his pal and Below Deck captain. "I think he's a little less tolerant than I am, maybe. I try to work with people a little bit more and try to bring them around and I think that Lee has a tendency to just say, 'You're out of here.'"
When it comes to traveling around the Med, Captain Mark is a bit of a Francophile. He cites Saint-Tropez in the French Riviera as the sexiest place in the Med. "It's the birth place of the bikini and whole town just exudes sex appeal and the people that are there are the sexiest in the Med and it's really the top spot," he explained. "All the beach bars on Pampelonne Beach — there are about 12 of them that cater to the rich and famous you never know who you're gonna see there having lunch at the table next to you."
And with a view like that, we can see why he loves it so much.
Don't forget to check out Captain Mark's style every Tuesday at 9/8c.