Fraser Olender has been a crew member on “Below Deck’s” original series for two seasons now, first as a stew then as a chief stew and he recently shared that the real world of yachting is often even more dramatic than what’s on the show.
“The drama you get on a yacht is very intense,” he told The Sun on September 13. “It’s actually 100 per cent worse and more intense off the show than it is on it… After all, you have 26 crew living on top of each other, and some of them will be idiots.”
Olender also discussed the incident that was shown on “Below Deck Down Under” in which the bosun Luke Jones was fired after inappropriate conduct toward a stew after a crew night out. “The incident that was shown is something many of us in the industry have all seen too many times,” he revealed. “We’ve all seen terrible things happen, and sadly often nothing happens as a result of it. No one is really protected.”
Luckily, he said he had heard from others in the industry that strides were being made toward preventing similar issues. “I’m just so grateful to work for a show that did step in and is bringing this issue to the fore,” he continued. “While it’s awful it’s happened, I’m glad it’s shining a light on preventing it and getting people talking.”
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Fraser Olender Shared Some of the Crazy Requests He’s Had From Guests
Olender also spoke about the interactions between guests and crew, which haven’t been as much of a factor in recent seasons of “Below Deck.” As a chief stew, he said he keeps a “very strict policy” about his crew members’ boundaries with guests and also works to “create a safe space” for them.
“I can gauge when a male guest is being creepy towards one of the girls under my wing,” he shared. “I have to tread carefully but keeping my staff safe is a priority… If they’re making one of my staff feel uncomfortable with flirtatious behavior, I will move the shifts around to make sure that stew has minimal contact with the guest. Sadly a lot of guests feel like they can get away with anything, and a lot of the time they do.”
In fact, Olender said it goes beyond creepy behavior and said a lot of guests’ requests can be even more outlandish than that seen on “Below Deck.” As an example, he revealed that one guest wanted to drive a really nice luxury car for a drive to dinner. “So within 72 hours, we purchased the impossibly sourced vehicle from Milan and had it taken to Portofino for 24 hours. Then that was that, and we shipped the car back off to wherever it needed to go… All for maybe 21 minutes of driving.”
Fraser Olender Has Been On the Show for 2 Seasons & Was the Chief Stew in the Latest Season of ‘Below Deck’
Olender made his debut on season 9 of “Below Deck” as a second stew and soon became a fan favorite for his honest and witty comments in his confessionals and his professionalism in service. He returned for season 10 as the chief stew, where he had some big challenges with the size of the vessel and some of his crew members.
Early in the season, Captain Lee Rosbach left the vessel for health reasons and was replaced by Captain Sandy Yawn, and Olender and Yawn had trouble seeing eye-to-eye at first. Things came to a head between the two of them and Yawn nearly fired Olender, but the chief stew managed to turn it around and ended the season on a successful note.