Don't count Captain Lee Rosbach out just yet.
The longtime Below Deck star shocked his crew on the Dec. 12 episode by announcing he's leaving the charter to seek medical help for a nerve issue affecting his ability to walk. Now, former Chief Stew and Lee's real-life friend Kate Chastain is sharing insight into his decision to exit season 10 early.
"I was at Captain Lee's house delivering a birthday present to his wife when he decided that," the Bravo alum exclusively told E! News while promoting her upcoming Peacock competition series The Traitors. "I knew before the crew knew. That was almost a year ago and Captain Lee was at BravoCon, he's healed, he's feeling great."
Kate continued, "I know that it was a very difficult decision for him to make because every captain goes down with the ship, and I'm sure that Captain Lee, for him to walk away from a boat, was so hard."
When it comes to Captain Lee's future on the series, Kate doesn't see retirement anywhere in his future as she shared, "Like I said, I think Captain Lee will go down with the Below Deck ship."
Lee's injury forced him to use crutches to move about the boat, but the hinderance to his mobility finally became too much and he couldn't do his job properly.
"I owe it to my crew to do right by them," he admitted on the latest episode. "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."
After gathering his crew, he announced, "As you guys know I've been struggling with my mobility and it's been hard and I've let you guys down and for that I apologize. So I've made a decision to leave the boat."
See how Captain Lee's departure plays out on the new episode of Below Deck Monday at 8 p.m. on Bravo. And don't miss Kate when The Traitors premieres Jan. 12 on Peacock.
(E!, Bravo and Peacock are all part of the NBCUniversal family)