Below Deck premiered on the Bravo network on July 1, 2013. To date, 10 seasons have aired, with Season 11’s release date expected later this year. However, not every season has been a hit. In fact, certain years have held both positive and negative impacts for this series.
If you are new to this show, or are just looking for a certain season to binge watch, we’ve sorted them out by watch-ability, to help weed out the years that neither Captain Lee Rosbach nor Kate Chastain‘s humorous cynicism(s) could save.
Without further ado, these are our rankings for the first 10 seasons of Below Deck from worst to best.
Season 1 launched the entire Below Deck franchise into existence. In the inaugural episode, we met Eddie Lucas and Chef Ben Robinson, both of whom went on to star for several additional years. Captain Lee was also introduced at this time.
While this first season was important for the series, it lacked enjoyable drama and held an inconsistent, highly replaceable cast, earning it the lowest spot of number 10 on our Below Deck rankings.
Season 5 contained many green crew members. When EJ Jansen, a cringey “cool beans” Bosun, joined, he claimed that the deck was his now “buddy boy” to deckhand Nico Scholly. They constantly bickered. Nico also cheated on his girlfriend with Stewardess Brianna Adekeye, which wasn’t fun to watch.
However, Kate’s fling with a man she named “Aqua Jesus” gave us a few laughs. Even still, Season 5’s crew was too inexperienced, earning it a lower ranking at number nine.
Season 9 held potential, as several beloved cast members returned. However, racial tensions that weren’t properly dealt with held this season back. To explain, deckhand Rayna Lindsey overheard a racial slur from her Chief Stew Heather Chase. Rayna confronted Heather while also alerting Eddie.
When Heather asked Rayna how she was shortly after, Rayna only gave a thumbs up, causing Heather to spiral. When Wes O’Dell intervened, Rayna questioned his blackness, which created further drama. Season 9 was uncomfortable, hence its low Below Deck ranking at number eight.
This season would have earned a higher spot if it weren’t for the fired deckhand named Trevor Walker, aka the former “hair model for Paul Mitchell.” Trevor’s attitude brought down the vibes, earning Season 4 a lower ranking at number seven.
Season 7 was Kate’s last hurrah on this series, but she sadly had to go out on a toxic note. Onboard, a misogynistic group of male crew members formed, causing Kate to storm off of the boat mid-season. When she returned, her friendships with the outspoken, strong female cast members were refreshing, giving us some of the best lines and reads from the one-season-wonder that was Courtney Skippon.
That said, the heightened levels of toxicity that remained throughout this season downgraded Kate’s final time on this series that she helped to mold. Season 7 is therefore ranked in the middle-ground(ish) spot at number six.
Season 8 was a pivotal year, as the series had to replace the legendary Kate. Around this time, the COVID-19 pandemic also loomed, causing production to shut down the season early. Onboard, Chief Stew Francesca Rubi did her best, but she had big, witty shoes to fill.
The season had multiple crew firings and saw Captain Lee open up about the loss of his son to an opioid addiction. We also met my favorite charter guest of all time, Delores, who jumped off of the boat, and then the tender, following being kicked off of the yacht. We rank Season 8 in the number five spot, and we wish that it had been given more time to develop.
Season 10 was one for the books. Midway through, Captain Lee had to turn his wheelhouse over to Below Deck Mediterranean‘s Captain Sandy Yawn, as he dealt with severe nerve pain in his lower extremities. Watching this series deal with another series’ captain was interesting, to say the least.
Fraser Olender‘s friendship with Hayley De Sola Pinto provided many laughable moments, while Chef Rachel Hargrove spiraled downwards, making great television in the process. However, the interior department had a few “ugh” moments and members, earning Season 10 a number four spot.
On deck, tensions escalated to the highest point, as Ashton was pulled underwater following a line wrapping around his ankle. While Season 6 reminded viewers how dangerous this career can be, it was also mostly fun to watch. However, there were a few interactions between Kate and Josiah that raised eyebrows, as their attentions turned towards the dark with Caroline Bedol. Overall, we rank Season 6 in the number three spot.
This season contained the iconic scene of Kate folding a phallic towel for a guest, all because he told her she had a “resting b**ch face.” Overall, this season was fresh and fun, and helped to hook many viewers onto this series. We thereby rank Season 2 highly in the number two spot.
Season 3 wins. Here, Raquel “Rocky” Dakota was “ironing the captain’s shorts” in the laundry, while also using this room to secretly hook-up with the already-taken Eddie. The chef loved beef cheeks, Rocky jumped overboard, and Connie Arias wore whipped cream and peanut butter attires.
Season 3 was chaos that we watch often. It easily gets the number 1 Below Deck season rank.
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