Create a free profile to get unlimited access to exclusive videos, sweepstakes, and more!
One of the things we love about all the Below Deck franchises is seeing people from around the world and from all walks of life come together as one crew to pull off a successful charter season for guests.
Season 7 of Below Deck Mediterranean, which kicked off with its season premiere on July 11, features one of the most international crews ever, with the yachties hailing from several different countries and bringing varying levels of experience in the industry.
So where is everyone in the Below Deck Med Season 7 crew from, and what were their lives like before they ended up calling motor yacht Home, well, home? Below, get to know this season’s crew even better, from returning crew members Captain Sandy Yawn and deckhand Mzi “Zee” Dempers to yachties who are new to the show: chief stew Natasha Webb, chef Dave White, bosun Raygan Tyler, stews Natalya Scudder and Kyle Viljoen, and deckhands Storm Smith and Jason Gaskell.
Captain Sandy Yawn
We’re used to seeing Captain Sandy in the Mediterranean as the captain of Below Deck Med since Season 2. But she’s originally from waters much closer, hailing from Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Captain Sandy always knew she wanted her life to revolve around the water, and before becoming the respected leader she is today, she started out in the industry just like any other yachtie, as she reminded us during the Below Deck Med Season 7 premiere. “You know, this is how I started,” Captain Sandy told the primary charter guest as she helped move some equipment. “I just didn’t start driving a boat.”
Now, with more than three decades of experience in yachting, Captain Sandy has made it a particular mission of hers to mentor others in the industry, especially helping other women break into the more male-dominated areas of boating. “To be able to give this opportunity to a female on deck is incredible, because someone gave me that opportunity,” Captain Sandy said of encouraging this season’s bosun, Raygan. “So I want to be able to extend that forward.”
When she isn’t at the helm of the Below Deck Med yacht, Captain Sandy explores different parts of the United States, previously moving to Los Angeles, and then Denver, to be with her girlfriend, Leah Shafer, after they began dating. Captain Sandy and Leah are now building a home in Florida in the Jacksonville area, where they hope to relocate when construction is complete.
Natasha’s West Yorkshire upbringing may sound worlds away from the yachting industry. However, it was while growing up in a small town in the English countryside that Natasha developed a strong work ethic, taking on jobs as a golf caddy, bartender, nanny, teacher, and actor before getting into the yachting industry about 10 years ago.
Starting out on smaller boats, Natasha worked her way up to becoming a chief stew on 100-plus-meter motor yachts. Natasha explained in the Below Deck Med Season 7 premiere how she came to have such a sunny disposition as a chief stew. “In the past, I’ve worked for people who’ve been screaming, swearing at me, and I don’t like to be surrounded by negativity. When my mom and dad got divorced when I was 6, I felt like I was a bit of a peacemaker,” Natasha said in an interview during the episode. “So it’s important that I keep feeling the happiness around.”
Natasha shared that she also developed a love for spectacle at an early age, which has definitely come in handy while having to entertain charter guests. “My strong point is theme parties. Growing up with no money in West Yorkshire, my grandma would treat me and my sister to trips to the theater, and it just felt, like, electric for me,” Natasha said on Below Deck Med. “And to be able to entertain guests and make other people feel that way, how I felt as a child, it’s just magic.”
Dave was born and raised in the U.K. and started working in restaurants when he was barely a teenager. “I put so much pressure on myself,” the Below Deck Med chef said in an interview during the Season 7 premiere. “I mean, my mom and dad didn’t have any money, so at the age of 13, I just worked as much as I could, washing pots at a busy restaurant, sweeping the floors, all the s--t jobs.”
The chef would eventually work in some of London’s most prestigious kitchens before becoming a yacht chef about eight years ago. Dave has served as a head chef on several boats and now has a restaurant in southwest France that is open seasonally. “Super proud of it,” Dave said on Below Deck Med. “But it’s super difficult to make a success of it.”
Dave has done extreme activities all over the world, including climbing Mount Everest. He even won the British ski championships in freestyle skiing in 2014.
Raygan is originally from Essex, England, but she has called Turkey home for nearly two decades. “I was born in Essex, and I moved from England to Turkey when I was 12 because my parents bought little businesses there,” she explained in an interview during the Below Deck Med Season 7 premiere.
The bosun added that she has “calmed down a little bit” since moving to Turkey, but she admitted that her more boisterous side comes out whenever she returns to the country of her birth. “When I’m in Essex, I guess I’m just, like, a loud person,” she shared. “Whatever I feel and whatever I think, it’s out there.”
Raygan was “bitten by the travel bug at an early age,” and she “always knew she would live a life on the move,” according to her bio on BravoTV.com. Though Raygan’s time in yachting began in the interior, she has gained a broad range of boating experience in her 12 years in the industry and will be leading the deck team in Season 7 of Below Deck Med.
Natalya hails from Australia, and that’s actually where she was right before she joined the Below Deck Med crew for Season 7, working in the Kimberley region as the sole stew on a vessel, which was actually quite different from her experience on Home so far. “It’s very lonely. You take on everything in the department: service, laundry, nannying. I was in the kitchen,” Natalya said of her previous gig in the Season 7 premiere. “So coming onto a boat where there’s, like, eight crew, I’m, like, super excited about it.”
The stew has always been drawn to the water, and she got her first yachting job at the age of 18, according to her bio on BravoTV.com. Since then, Natalya has worked as both a second stew and chief stew. She has even had some high-profile clientele, including multiple royal families.
Growing up in South Africa wasn't always easy for Kyle, who opened up on Below Deck Med about feeling the need to hide his sexuality while attending an all-boys school. A 12-year relationship was also “always kept a secret.” Kyle shared in the premiere episode, “Keeping that all inside damaged me a lot.”
Kyle said he came out as a gay man the year prior to Below Deck Med Season 7, and he now lets his humor and personality shine.
The stew currently resides in New York and has gained experience working on private and charter vessels, as well as sailing boats, during his time on the East Coast. His first job ended up being the chief stew on a 42-meter yacht, and he has worked on several boats as chief stew ever since.
Mzi “Zee” Dempers
In addition to Captain Sandy, Mzi “Zee” Dempers is another familiar face on this season of Below Deck Med. We first met the deckhand, who is originally from Durban, South Africa, in Season 6.
Zee was inspired to get into the industry by his brothers, who now work as a captain and chief officer in yachting. Following the completion of his education in Cape Town, Zee’s life at sea began.
After receiving encouragement from Captain Sandy in his first season of Below Deck Med, Zee is now paying that forward, referring his childhood friend Storm to the crew as another deckhand. Zee and Storm actually used to play water polo against each other as kids, as we learned in the Season 7 premiere. “When I was 13, Storm looked like an 18-year-old man, and we were petrified of him. He just had hair everywhere,” Zee revealed in an interview during the episode. “That same mustache he has today, he’s had since he was 13.”
Like Zee, Storm was born and raised in South Africa, spending most of his time either surfing or fishing at the beach, according to his bio on BravoTV.com. Storm soon fell in love with boats and a life at sea. He even describes his look as a “modern-day pirate.”
Storm enrolled in culinary school and film school, but the water still called to him, so he ultimately decided to get into yachting. He brought his experience as a surf guide in Sumatra to a job working on a charter yacht centered on surfing and diving. Storm has continued to work on boats as big as 240 feet ever since.
Yachting wasn’t initially what Jason had planned for himself while growing up in Indiana. After graduating from Purdue University, Jason worked in commodity trading for about 11 years. “After that company got bought out, I felt like a divorcé in a new lease on life. I sold all my stuff and flew overseas. I started painting my nails probably a couple years ago. I grew my hair out on a bet,” he shared in an interview in the Below Deck Med Season 7 premiere. “It’s ridiculous, as you can see it, but I’m one of the wild cards, for sure.”
It was during his globetrotting that Jason discovered his passion for sailing. He would go on to work as an apprentice, dockhand, and captain for many companies, in addition to being his own skipper on a sailboat. Though Jason has a lot of experience on sailboats, Home is the first superyacht he has worked on.
The Daily Dish is your source for all things Bravo, from behind-the-scenes scoop to breaking news, exclusive interviews, photos, original videos, and, oh, so much more. Subscribe to The Daily Dish podcast, join our Facebook group, and follow us on Instagram for the latest news hot off the presses. Sign up to become a Bravo Insider and be the first to get exclusive extras.