Below Deck's Original Captain Wasn't Captain Lee Rosbach

Shut the front door! or rather, batten down the hatches! The original skipper slated to star in "Below Deck" wasn't Captain Lee Rosbach, which seems unimaginable as "Below Deck" wouldn't be "Below Deck" without that salty old sea dog. Per Bravo, Captain Lee has remained a steady presence over the seasons, steering the Honor, Ohana, Valor, My Seanna, and other luxurious mega yachts through some stormy times, most of which have resulted from the drama onboard, not the tranquil turquoise waters they glide on.

Fans got a glimpse of life at sea without Captain Lee when "Below Deck" veteran Captain Sandy Yawn stepped into his boat shoes during Season 10. However, before you could say, "Ahoy, matey!" Captain Lee made his" Below Deck" return to the tiller. "I feel like I'm back where I belong. It's like riding a bike... but it's a big bike," the bearded rogue announced in a sneak peek trailer. "How did the kids behave?" he asked. "Good," Captain Sandy replied — lying through her teeth.

Captain Lee first jumped aboard during Season One and has only missed a few charters. However, "The Stud of the Sea," famous for his iconic side-eye and witty one-liners, nearly didn't make the reality TV cut. "I wasn't really prepared to be on a TV show. It all happened accidentally because I wasn't supposed to be the captain," he revealed (via Cosmopolitan). "If it hadn't been dumped in my lap, I never would have done it," the silver fox admitted.

Reality TV backup

Captain Lee Rosbach had no intention of becoming a reality star. He fell into the starring role in "Below Deck" after the casting wind shifted. "[Aleks Taldykin] was supposed to be the captain — that's who they hired. For one reason or another, it ended up being me. But I didn't audition." And it's been plain sailing ever since. Well, not quite, unfortunately.

Fans of the show are aware that Captain Lee's been struggling with his health — it was why he made a temporary exit during Season 10. According to E! News, the 73-year-old was finding it difficult to walk due to an undisclosed medical issue and had to fly to the U.S. for treatment."I made a lot of improvement. I was spending every day in physical therapy. And it was tough," Captain Lee admitted upon his return (via Bravo). "Doctors have assured me that I'm not gonna damage myself anymore by working, and I'll be goddamned if anything's gonna keep me from it."

However, sadly, it was announced in February that Captain Lee's "Below Deck" voyage had ended. Sources told U.S. Weekly that he's been replaced by Captain Kerry Titheradge for Season 11, which was filmed in tropical Grenada. According to Bravo, Captain Kerry was previously heading up the sister show, "Below Deck Adventure." The dad of two has 30 years of experience on the high seas, has sailed around the world, and owns his own boat service, Yachting Concepts.

Goodbye may not be the end

Sadly, it wasn't Captain Lee Rosbach's choice to hang up his hat and wave goodbye to his life on the sea. "Below Deck" producers decided for him due to his ongoing medical problems. "I did not quit. I did not retire. I was just not invited back," Rosbach told the South Florida Sun Sentinal, sharing that he received the news over the phone. Ouch. "I guess I can see their point of view. They really couldn't get a straight answer from anyone on how my health was."

Still, his reality TV career might not be over for good. Rosbach shared that he'd come to "an agreement" with Bravo to possibly work on future projects. He also said he'd happily return to "Below Deck" if Captain Kerry Titheradge steers the show's ratings in the wrong direction. "Maybe not this year, but who knows what next year brings?" he told the Sentinal.

Meanwhile, as he regains his land legs, Rosbach appears to be making the most of his forced retirement. His Instagram is packed with pics of him enjoying the high life, spearfishing while giving a gun show, flashing his impressive pecs, and hanging out with his beloved wife. "My bride and I at sunset after officiating a beautiful Key Largo wedding for our dear friends Laura Monteverdi and Madison Walker," he captioned a photo of him and his spouse. "Couldn't have been happier for them. What a privilege."