Times When Someone Almost Got Seriously Hurt On Below Deck

Ashton Pienaar Below Deck
Karolina Wojtasik/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Obtaining a gig onboard a Below Deck yacht isn’t easy. Each season, these open positions require certain levels of skill, which the chosen crew members must all have. With an unforgiving ocean raging below each vessel, lives can very quickly be threatened should unskilled crew members be hired. In addition to needing a heightened skill set, it should also be noted that one wrong move can cause injuries, so mindful steps must also be taken.

Even still, crew members have slipped up. Long-time fans of this franchise will likely recall Chef Ben Robinson slicing his hand open during Below Deck Season 3. This cut was so deep that Eddie Lucas could see Ben’s cartilage. In a similar galley-gone-wrong showing, Chef Marcos Spaziani hit his head on Below Deck Sailing Yacht Season 3, tearing a portion of his scalp off, with strands of hair still horrifically attached.

On a few rare occasions, quick-thinking actions have prevented an injury from becoming a tragedy. Proving just how committed these yachties must be to safety, these are the times when a simple misstep almost caused someone to be seriously hurt on Below Deck.

Tom Pearson’s Anchor Drag

Tom Pearson/Instagram

Over on Below Deck Sailing Yacht Season 3, Tom Pearson had an overnight anchor watch. The night had been fairly calm, with hardly any traces of wind. Therefore, towards the end of his solitary shift, the tired deckhand left the wheelhouse to make himself a cup of coffee. Once downstairs, however, alarms sounded as the winds quickly picked up.

Tom ran back upstairs and then outside. The cushions on deck were blowing in the wind, so he began to grab what he could, thinking that this was the only issue at hand. As this was happening though, the sailing yacht’s anchor dragged, nearly running the vessel aground. Luckily, others woke up and helped Tom to right the ship before anything else went south.

After the dust settled, Captain Glenn Shephard had no choice but to fire Tom. His lack of oversight could have caused a major collision, which would have seriously harmed the crew, whoever they collided with, and the Parsifal III itself.

Bruno Duarte Nearly Lost His Leg


During filming for Below Deck Season 5, Bruno Duarte‘s leg became caught as he was deploying the yacht’s slide. As this occurred, Bravo‘s production teams continued to roll their cameras. Thinking quickly, Bosun Nico Scholly worked alone to free his deckhand’s leg.

Suffering only a deep rope burn and several nights of pain, Bruno narrowly avoided a disastrous accident, which potentially could have cost him a limb.  

Ashton Pienaar’s Brush With Death


If you watch Below Deck, then you likely already guessed that this piece would feature Ashton Pienaar. Halfway through Below Deck Season 6, a line used to tow tender boats wrapped around Ashton’s ankle, pulling the deckhand into the ocean. As Rhylee Gerber sounded the “man overboard” warning, Captain Lee Rosbach quickly took the boat out of gear, while Ross Inia and a cameraman named Brent Freeburg loosened the tow line. Once his ankle was no longer bound, a shaken Ashton swam to the nearby tender.

In a very emotional crew meeting, the cast watched a video replay of Ashton’s accident. Here, everyone learned that the deckhand was just seconds away from his foot being severed by the taut line. This would have seen Ashton bleeding out to death in the water.

Rhylee, Captain Lee, Ross, and Brent’s quick-thinking actions all combined to save Ashton’s life, making this Below Deck’s most dramatic close call seen yet.

Brian de Saint Pern Also Nearly Lost A Leg

Brian de Saint Pern/Instagram

Appearing on Below Deck Season 7, Brian de Saint Pern nicked his knee on stainless steel, breaking open the skin. Not thinking too heavily about his scrape, Brian bent down to scrub the teak. “When you scrub the teak wood with chemicals it brings whatever is inside of the wood out. And all that whatever, bacteria, chemicals, all of that mixture, we call it teak juice…and I think that got into my knee,” he explained, once the pain began to set in.

Overnight, his pain intensified, so Captain Lee sent Brian to the hospital. Here, he received an antibiotic injection, as a severe infection had developed. The doctor then told Brian that he needed to remove the infected tissue that remained inside his knee. “I was still awake and they were literally pulling out tissue,” Brian explained.

Following this incidence, everyone agreed that had they waited any longer to get Brian help, he would have lost his leg. We are beyond glad that Brian was able to avoid being seriously hurt on Below Deck.

Elizabeth Frankini’s Mustard Gas

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On Below Deck Season 8, Stewardess Elizabeth Frankini mixed up a laundry room concoction that could have easily killed everyone onboard. Clearly distracted, Elizabeth mixed soap and bleach together. Within a few minutes, multiple crew members began to feel lightheaded. After the area was cleared, the Chief Engineer was called in to investigate.

Elizabeth’s mixture was then found in the laundry room. Her soapy mess was quickly compared to mustard gas, which was used in World War II. Once safely removed, the crew’s health began to improve.

Overall, the entire yacht was very lucky, as a run-in with mustard gas can cause serious injuries that range anywhere from blindness to death.