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Eddie Lucas on Why He Left Yachting and Bringing Below Deck "Back to OG Status"

Eddie Lucas on Why He Left Yachting and Bringing Below Deck "Back to OG Status"

The bosun is out to prove much more than whether he can still cut it in the industry in Below Deck Season 8.

By Laura Rosenfeld

Before Kate Chastain announced in early 2020 that she would not be returning to Below Deck after six seasons on the show, the series said goodbye to another longtime crew member. Eddie Lucas, who first appeared as a deckhand in Season 1 of Below Deck before serving as bosun for two seasons, did not return to the series after Season 3.

But five years after Eddie’s last appearance on Below Deck aired, he has returned for another season in the Caribbean with Captain Lee Rosbach, even if he wasn’t so sure he’d ever step foot on a yacht again. "After I left after Season 3, I really never thought I was gonna be coming back," Eddie said in an exclusive interview with Bravo Insider during a video call in late October. "But here I am, and I’m excited to be back. It’s gonna be a wild ride. As always."

Speaking on one of his days off from his job as a tugboat operator in Baltimore, Maryland, Eddie looks just as he did the last time fans saw him at the Below Deck Season 3 reunion in 2015, a beard on his face and all. But even if Eddie looks more how we’re used to seeing him with a clean-shaven look in Season 8 of Below Deck currently airing Mondays at 9/8c on Bravo, he has gone through an internal transformation.

"I’ve definitely aged both in number and wisdom, I hope," Eddie said. "I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my life, but then again, I don’t know anybody that hasn’t made mistakes in life. But what’s important to me is learning from those mistakes and trying to move forward from there. I’ve looked at my past relationships, I’ve looked at my past professional choices, and I’ve been, like, 'Well, that was stupid of me. I probably shouldn’t have done that.’ And so from that, I’ve taken a lot of time and done a lot of self-reflection and tried to be a better person as much as I could.”

Eddie said he took some time to focus on his off-camera life following Season 3 of Below Deck, which was also the last time he worked in yachting prior to this new season of the show. 

“I was kind of tired of dealing with the guests and dealing with the constant upkeep of the boat and the cleaning and everything like that. But also most importantly, I wanted to find a job where I was home. I was near my dad and my stepmom, and I could kind of start creating a life at home rather than constantly moving around from port to port, away from home for months on end,” Eddie explained. “So, I really started looking around at Baltimore, where I was raised, for something that would work, and I found tugboats, and it was really right in line with what I was looking to be doing: Working on the water, but also giving me the freedom to start a life and kind of settle down a little bit.

Eddie worked as a deckhand on tugboats for about four-and-a-half years before upgrading to a 1600-ton license. He was then promoted to a mate position, which he has held for the past three-and-a-half years.

Working as part of a four-person crew on a tugboat is “a massive difference” from the world of yachting, according to Eddie. “It’s 24 hours a day, seven days a week for two weeks that we’re on, and it’s constant work. I’m up all night long almost every single night doing pretty inherently risky activities, docking massive ships into Baltimore Harbor. And it’s exciting, and it’s a challenge, and I love my work,” Eddie said. “There’s no stainless steel, there’s no teak decks, there’s no gel coat that needs to be polished. And so in that sense, it’s very different. While it still is a physical, physical job, it’s not as demanding in the sense of dealing with guests and constant upkeep of the boat.”

But a phone call from Captain Lee convinced Eddie to give yachting another try. “Captain Lee was coming back, and he was coming without Kate and he needed someone in his corner,” Eddie recalled. “It was important for him to have someone, and when he asked me, I said, ‘Of course, I’ll come back.’”

"You don’t forget Captain Lee’s leadership style."

Below Deck executive producer and showrunner Lauren Simms told Bravo Insider that she knew there were “big shoes to fill” when she started working on the series in Season 4 after Eddie’s departure. However, Eddie’s return in Season 8 couldn’t have come at a better time. “Eddie was someone who was always sort of on our radar. He took some time off, and Captain Lee needed someone he could trust this season. And so, the timing was perfect,” Simms said during a phone interview in early November. “[Captain Lee] didn’t have the best luck with his deck crew the last couple seasons, and with Kate leaving, he needed someone he could trust on his vessel.”

Captain Lee echoed that sentiment during a separate interview with Bravo Insider in early November, adding that “it’s essential” to have a crew member by your side on whom you can depend. “If you don’t, things are gonna suffer. You’re not gonna have a very good season,” he said during a video call. “If you don’t have an Eddie or a Kate that you can count on, you might as well just resign yourself to the fact that you’re gonna be pulling your hair out before the season ends.”

Eddie said that he wanted to be there for Captain Lee, who he felt otherwise would have had an “extremely daunting” charter season without someone like Kate on board and a completely new crew. “For a captain, having someone you can rely on and you know that can do the job, it’s really important, and it takes a lot of stress off the captain,” Eddie shared. “Captain has been through his struggles this past year, and so it was an honor for me to be able to go back and do everything I could to make his season go as smoothly as possible.”

Having kept in touch with Captain Lee, whom he calls “a good friend,” “a confidant,” and a “mentor,” all these years, Eddie said it wasn’t difficult adapting to his standards for the crew again. “You don’t forget Captain Lee’s leadership style — at least I don’t — so going back and jumping back into a work environment with him was very familiar, and I knew what to expect, and he knew what to expect of me,” Eddie said. “So really, it was pretty comfortable just jumping right back into it.”

Working with Eddie again also felt very familiar to Captain Lee. “You know how you have that group of friends that maybe you went to college with or worked with early on in your career, and you haven’t seen ‘em for two or three or four years or you haven’t talked to ‘em for a long time? And the minute you get on with them or the minute you see ‘em again, you instantly pick up right where you left off, just like no time has passed at all,” Captain Lee said. “Well that’s the way it is with Eddie and I. We just picked up where we left off, and it’s a very comfortable relationship. We get along well, and I was so glad to have him there with me not being a hundred percent.”

Eddie’s first major challenge of the season came as soon as he boarded My Seanna in the Below Deck Season 8 premiere when he discovered that Captain Lee was not on the yacht but in the hospital seeking medical attention for a rib injury after experiencing a fall in the shower that morning. “The crew was just having to sort of figure it out, and having someone like Eddie there in that moment was really helpful because he’s worked for Lee before. He hasn’t worked on that boat, but he knows how Lee likes things done. And so, he was able to help guide the new chief stew to give her some guidance on what to do and help his own team get situated,” Simms said. “We were in touch with [Captain Lee], and he felt really comfortable knowing that Eddie was on the boat. I don’t know if he would feel that way if he wasn’t there.”

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Eddie Lucas is Panicking After Hearing of Captain Lee Rosbach's Injury
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Captain Lee eventually returned to My Seanna in a lot of pain but with no broken bones and no vital organs damaged. But even with Captain Lee ready to lead the crew through the charter season, Eddie couldn’t help but feel “a little apprehensive” about returning to the world of yachting that first day back. “There were definitely some nerves there, and I knew there was gonna be a learning curve getting back into luxury yachting. But at the end of the day, I was confident in my abilities as a seaman, as a sailor. If I just did the best job that I could do, I knew that I’d be OK,” he said. “But still, once the filming starts, and there’s a camera following you around all the time, you’re kind of like, ‘What have I done? What have I done? What am I doing here?’”

How Eddie got here goes all the way back to nearly 10 years ago when he was looking to return to working on boats after his job at REI at the time “wasn’t paying the bills.” He decided to put his CV, which included a captain’s license, back out to yachts, crews, and staffing agencies before he eventually got the call for Below Deck Season 1. “I’m standing there with a pair of hiking boots in my hands in this, like, back of the warehouse, on the phone. And I was like, ‘Yeah, I’ll do it. Whatever you wanna do. Like, get me outta here. Get me outta here,’” Eddie recalled. “Two weeks later, I was on a flight to Florida.”

The first words we ever hear Eddie utter on Below Deck touch on that escapist appeal of yachting. “I’m not sitting in an office from nine-to-five in a cubicle,” Eddie says in the first moments of the series premiere, which originally aired on July 1, 2013. “Yeah, my hours are sometimes crazy, but I’m in paradise.”

We then see the official start to Eddie’s Below Deck journey as he boards the Season 1 yacht, Honor, along with second engineer C.J. LeBeau and fellow deckhand David Bradberry, shaking chief stew Adrienne Gang’s hand as he enters uncharted TV territory. “It was a wild time. And really, what I remember about it was exactly that. Like, it was such an unknown thing, but I went into it with just such an open mind,” Eddie said of that very first season of Below Deck during an interview with Bravo Insider. “I was just like, let’s have fun. Like, work hard, have fun — and that’s exactly what I did.”

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The Ultimate Floating Playground
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Eddie would go on to work with a new chief stew upon his return to Below Deck in Season 2 by the name of Kate, who memorably held the position for six seasons before announcing her departure from the series after Season 7, which “only somewhat surprised” Eddie. “Kate really took this show and made it what it is today. Her work, her wittiness, her just completely outlandish behavior at times. The popularity of this show is really because of her and Captain Lee, without a doubt, and so it was surprising that she wasn’t coming back. But then at the same time, I knew she couldn’t be doing this forever,” Eddie said. “She’s so talented. She deserves a chance to be able to go out there and find something else, find another thing she’s good at and find success in that also. I’m super happy for her, and I know that she’s gonna be successful.” 

“But man, I wish she was there,” Eddie added. “I missed her [laughs]. But that’s selfish.”

That isn’t to say that Eddie didn’t enjoy working with new chief stew Francesca Rubi, who joins the Below Deck crew for the first time in Season 8. “She came in with big shoes to fill, obviously, and [came] into a difficult position, but I think she did a great job. And she’s super hard-working and super professional, extremely high standards, which could be a bit of a burden to her at times, but that’s the name of the game in luxury yachting,” Eddie said. “She was fantastic in the job, and I really enjoyed working with her, and I think people are really gonna enjoy watching her.”

Though Below Deck has evolved since its first seasons, Eddie said he is hoping to recapture the unique magic of those early days. “It’s changed a lot since I left,” he said of watching more recent seasons of Below Deck and Below Deck Mediterranean. “But hopefully, I can kinda bring it back to OG status now that I’m coming back.”

"I'd like to come back and maybe a bit of a redemption, if you will. Try to show that those mistakes that I made in my past are not what define me, and I'm not gonna let them define me."

Adding to that is the show’s return to the Caribbean for the first time since Season 5 with My Seanna cruising around Antigua. “Our intent was to never really leave the Caribbean, but when the hurricanes happened a couple years ago, we couldn’t go back. The infrastructure wasn’t there,” Simms explained. “Coming back to the Caribbean with Lee, with Eddie, does certainly feel like a throwback and a coming home.”

However, those who have started watching Below Deck in more recent seasons may only be meeting Eddie for the first time in Season 8. “Four seasons away is a really long time. The life span of a lot of shows is one season. So, there’s a lot of people who are familiar with him and are excited for him to come back,” Simms said. “But there’s a lot of people who will discover how great he is at his job and his relationship with Captain Lee and how hard he works to really mentor his team. And you’ll see a lot of that this season.”

Kate’s exit from Below Deck came after a particularly difficult season for the chief stew that saw the men and women of the crew frequently at odds. “While I was conscious of what happened last season, I was just kind of focusing on being true to what I believe and how I feel,” Eddie said of his leadership style coming into Season 8, adding that he was brought up to “treat everyone how they wanna be treated.” “I can’t go in there treating everybody how I wanna be treated ‘cause that might be different. I gotta go in there, respecting everybody’s person and respecting who they are and respecting their work, because that’s what’s important to me. Like, I don’t care who you are; you get the work done, that’s all that really matters. And that’s really what I went into this season doing is just, you know, we all have a job to do. We’re all a team. If we all work together, we’ll accomplish that goal 100 percent.”

But Eddie also had to reconcile with his own past behavior coming into Season 8. “When I left after Season 3, things were not ideal. I had made a lot of mistakes. I had left with a really bad taste in my mouth, was embarrassed, and now, after so much time has passed, I feel like I’ve grown a lot and I’ve learned a lot from those mistakes I made,” Eddie explained. “And so now, I’d like to come back and maybe a bit of a redemption, if you will. Try to show that those mistakes that I made in my past are not what define me, and I’m not gonna let them define me."

Season 3 of Below Deck is perhaps best known as the season Eddie hooked up with third stew Rocky Dakota while he still had a girlfriend back home. This revelation rocked the crew during their last night out of the season, and Captain Lee told Eddie in the Season 3 finale that he was “disappointed” in this “colossal f--k-up” and that he “expected more.”

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Eddie Admits to Cheating with Rocky
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Though Eddie may have been hoping to redeem himself in Season 8, Captain Lee said he wasn’t looking for that from the bosun. “My opinion of Eddie hasn’t changed one bit from the first time I worked with him up ‘til now,” he shared. “No matter how much you care about somebody, you have to realize that you have to take the good with the bad. They’re gonna make mistakes. They’re not always gonna live up to your expectations. You can’t hold somebody to unreasonable expectations. You can’t expect them to be perfect ‘cause that’s not gonna happen for any of us.”

Eddie and Rocky, who did not leave Season 3 on good terms, reunited at Below Deck’s 100th episode celebration on Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen in January. “I mean, it was fine. That was a long time ago,” Eddie said of seeing Rocky again that night. “She, luckily, didn’t have any bad blood against me anymore, and I don’t have anything bad to say about her. What happened between us was a mistake, but I wish her the very best. I hope she’s doing well in life, but really what happened between us is water under the bridge.”

However, Eddie and Rocky did leave an indelible mark on Below Deck, with Captain Lee, Kate, and series producers revealing their Season 3 hookup is the reason there are now cameras in the laundry room during filming. Eddie admitted that this distinction has given him “a little chip on my shoulder,” but he has mostly found the humor in the situation. “It’s funny that I left my mark on the show, and I apologize to all further cast members that you have no more privacy anymore, and I’m sorry for that… I ruined it for everyone, and for that, I apologize,” he said. “But to all the viewers: You’re welcome.”

“I think people really enjoy seeing the actual work that goes into [yachting]. That work is affecting the amount of drama that we go through."

Eddie went into the new season of Below Deck single, but getting into any sort of boatmance this time around was definitely not on his radar. “My top priority, of course, in going into the season was doing my job the best I could,” he said, adding that “everything else was on the way, way, way back burner.”

“Obviously, if something came around that really knocked me off my feet, I would go about it in a different way than I did in the past," Eddie continued. "But chances of that happening were slim. Very, very slim.”

Just because Eddie has returned to the spotlight doesn’t mean he’s putting every aspect of his life on display. “I’ll say that I do have someone special in my life, but that’s about as far as I’m gonna go with it,” Eddie shared. “I’ve realized now there’s things in my life that could be damaged from being too public. And because of that, it’s best if I just keep it close to my chest and I protect my private and personal life very adamantly, so that’s important.”

His professional life is what he is really focused on showcasing in the new season of Below Deck. “I think people really enjoy seeing the actual work that goes into it,” Eddie said. “That work is affecting the amount of drama that we go through. The lack of sleep we get is affecting the amount of drama, it affects our personalities, it affects how we handle ourselves.” 

“If someone’s watching the show and then being like, ‘Oh, man, Eddie’s such an a--hole. Why is he being so short? Why is he so impatient right now?’” Eddie continued. “It’s like, well, that’s because I’ve gotten eight hours of sleep in the past week, and I’ve been scrubbing teak decks ‘til my fingers are bleeding, and I put my back out pulling the slide up.”

But that doesn’t mean Eddie is all shammying and no shenanigans. He’ll be bringing back his signature sense of humor this season after establishing his reputation as somewhat of the crew clown in Season 1 and later giving us laugh-out-loud moments, such as his instantly GIF-able turnaround to head back to the tender after unexpectedly seeing former chief stew Adrienne on the beach in Season 2 and twinning with iconic charter guest Steve Bradley to try and recover from a foam party fail in Season 3. 

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A 'Below Deck' Foam Party Fail
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“I take my job very seriously, and when there’s a job to do or something like that, like, buckle down and get it done and be serious about it, especially when it comes to something that could result in injury or severe property damage. But everything else, have as much fun as you can doing it. Humor is the spice of life in a lot of ways, and you gotta laugh. If you’re not laughing, it’s not worth it. You gotta enjoy yourself along the way,” Eddie said. “I’ve just always been a goofy guy, and I try not to take life too seriously if I don’t need to.”

It's that mix of work and play that makes Eddie stand out among other bosuns we’ve seen on Below Deck, according to Simms. “I think he wants the best out of his crew and really works hard to bring out the best in everyone, which we haven’t always seen in the bosun position, without naming any names. He’s a big cheerleader. He’s a big fan of his team this season and works really hard to have them reach their potential,” she explained. “He’s very friendly with everyone, too. He’s easygoing. So, he can joke and then also be stern when he needs to, which a lot of bosuns are really just one speed. They’re either very militaristic or just too lackadaisical. So, Eddie’s the perfect mix of both. He can get the job done and command respect, but also likes to have a laugh.”

Captain Lee also appreciated Eddie’s comic relief this season. “[He has] a personality that just makes you laugh, puts a smile on your face when you see him,” Captain Lee said. “So it’s always a great way to start the day out.”

“This experience was so different because when we came back [after the charter season], we were in the middle of a pandemic."

These moments of levity couldn’t come at a better time, according to Eddie. “Right now, with 2020, it’s been such a fricking kick in the nuts. I feel it’s really important that people need to laugh,” he said. “I try to be as lighthearted as I can and try to make people laugh, ‘cause that’s important in this crazy world right now. It’s really important.”

After Season 8 of Below Deck, Eddie returned to his job on the tugboat, but it was not business as usual. “This experience was so different because when we came back, we were in the middle of a pandemic,” he recalled. “It was really difficult kind of coming back, being locked indoors, and then also having to go back and being quarantined on a tugboat, pretty much, for two weeks at a time. It was definitely difficult getting back into it.”

Still, returning to his regular gig felt like “a breath of fresh air” for Eddie after the chaos of a Below Deck charter season. “You work so hard on the season and on the yacht and everything like that, and there’s constant drama and things like that. Coming back and being with my crew, being with guys who I can call my friends and, I mean, I’ve spent half my life with them. I mean, really, my crew back there on the tugboat are my family,” Eddie shared. “And so, it was really good being back with them. They’re great guys.”

Now the crew has a new Monday night group activity: watching the latest episode of Below Deck. “They can’t wait. Pretty much the whole dock — we got three tugboats down there — the whole dock, I’m pretty sure, is really excited to watch it and then make fun of me as much as they possibly can,” Eddie said. “It’s fun watching it with them and letting them just make jabs at me for the entire two weeks.”

Eddie will also be keeping busy by working on upgrading to a 1600-ton master license with the goal of finding a position as a captain. “I’m hoping to stay in Baltimore, Maryland, at least in the U.S. If a position that was really fantastic opened up elsewhere, I would go, but it would have to be really great,” Eddie said. “It’s important to me to kind of stay close to home, stay close to my dad and my stepmom, but also try to convince my mom to move back down to Baltimore so I can be here for all of them.”

The transient nature of the yachting industry is not one that appeals to Eddie at this stage in his life. “I’m a very independent person. Like, I love my alone time. It’s very important to me. I like to be able to do my own thing,” he said. “But then still, at the same time, a few months away, that can be rough, especially when you’re trying to start a relationship or anything like that. But then also, with my parents getting older now, it’s really important to me to be home and be near them in case they need me for anything.”

But when it comes to the future, Eddie isn’t planning too far ahead. “Just trying to make good quality of life and enjoy it as much as I can and try staying happy and healthy. Being healthy is really important in this day and age,” he said. “That’s really what I’m doing. Just taking it one day at a time and trying to enjoy every minute of it.”

Want more Below Deck? New episodes air every Monday at 9/8c or catch up on this season through the Bravo app.