During the season 10 finale, which aired on Monday, March 20, Lee, 73, praised the recent cast on the hit Bravo series.
“I really hate to say goodbye to any of this crew. I would stack them up against anyone. I really would,” he told the cameras. “Going on 40 years I have been a yacht captain. Have I seen a lot of crazy s—t? Is a 40-pound rabbit fat? Yeah. Have I been in situations where I didn’t think I was going to make it through? Oh yeah.”
Footage of the captain’s time on the show played as he recalled his biggest ups and downs over the years. (The Michigan native has been on Below Deck since its 2013 debut.)
“Deciding to become a yacht captain has been the best decision I ever made in my life. I made a promise that I would come back and that is a promise I delivered. I want people to look at the job that I have done and go, ‘He set the bar high, and he kept it high,’” he continued. “God damn, what a ride. I don’t know what is going to happen in the future, but the ocean is always going to be a part of me.”
Earlier in the season, Lee left St. David to deal with ongoing health issues. “My injury, it’s getting worse. The left side of my body, I don’t feel anything,” he explained in a December 2022 episode. “I expected a lot more progress than I’m experiencing, and the most frustrating part about it is, I can’t do a god goddamn thing about it, and it’s hard.”
At the time, Lee said he wanted to do “right by” his fellow cast members by stepping aside. “One of my biggest problems now is I’m not able to observe. I don’t know who’s doing what, it’s my job,” he shared in a confessional. “They expect that out of me. There comes a point if a captain is really being objective, he should be putting the best interests of his crew first.”
“I can’t express how much I appreciate [her filling in for me]. And maybe one day I will get to return the favor for her,” Lee, who had an offscreen feud with the Below Deck Mediterranean star, 57, about her leadership as new episodes of season 10 aired, said to the cameras.
Before his onscreen departure, Lee opened up about the progress he made with his health, exclusively telling Us Weekly in December 2022, “Back surgery came out great, it really did. You will find this season that I do something that I’ve never, ever done before in my career or in my life. And there’s gonna be a lot of situations where you’re gonna go like, ‘Wow, didn’t see that coming at all.’ And not only will it be true for the viewers, [but] it was also true for myself and the crew.”
Us later broke the news that Lee would be leaving the franchise after season 10. The Bravo star will be replaced by Below Deck Adventure‘s Captain Kerry for season 11 as new episodes currently film in Grenada.
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