Below Deck Med Is Rocked By a Shocking, Unexpected Departure on Season 8 Premiere

On Below Deck Mediterranean's season eight premiere, one crewmember learns of a loved one's death before getting caught in a lie by Captain Sandy Yawn.

By Brett Malec Sep 26, 2023 2:00 AMTags
Watch: “Below Deck Med” Rocked By A Shocking Departure

Below Deck Mediterranean's new season is starting out on rough waters.

On the dramatic season eight premiere of the Bravo series, two of the yachties—Chief Stew Tumi Mhlongo and Stew Kyle Viljoen—were missing from the episode because of visa problems entering Italy. And in addition to Captain Sandy Yawn's crew issues, one new teammate made a shockingly unexpected exit from the M/Y Mustique before the first charter guests even arrived.

While trying to verify Bosun Ruan Irving's yachtmaster credentials, Sandy was shocked to learn the papers allegedly belonged to someone else. Explaining that the entire ship could get detained over one crewmember's falsified documents, the captain immediately called Ruan to her office.

"The officer just had me scan this," she told him on the Sept. 25 episode. "Is this really you?"

After someone else's photo appeared in the database, Sandy told the bosun, "Whoever issued this, it's not yours. Where did you go to school?"

While a hesitating Ruan claimed he got his yachting credentials in Monaco, the Captain was quick to fact check him. "No, you can't get your yachmasters on a boat in Monaco," she responded. "They don't have a school in Monaco."

Captain Sandy Yawn's Romantic Proposal to Leah Shafer

Left with no other option, Sandy left the South Africa native at the dock in Genoa until she could verify his yachtmaster papers so they could begin their first charter.

Fred Jagueneau/Bravo

But Ruan's credentials weren't the only obstacle he faced on day one. During the premiere, he was also devastated to learn of the passing of a loved one back home.

"One of my best friends just died," he shared with Deckhand Luka Brunton while sobbing over the tragic news. "He's the only friend I've known since this big that's been through everything with me. He had a head-on collision with a bus. I feel like I'm gonna pass out."

In a confessional, Ruan elaborated on why the loss was so heartbreaking.

"My friend passing away, he was not just a friend, he was a brother," he explained. "Good or bad, he was by my side. If I think back to eight years old, every memory is with that guy. I didn't really grow up with parents. My dad died when I was young, so it really wasn't about family, it was more about friends that I grew up with. Right now, I don't even know where my head's at, what to think, what to feel. I've lost someone who means so much to me."

And the news ultimately led to Ruan calling Sandy from shore to drop a bombshell.

Below Deck Mediterranean Season 8: Meet the Cast

"Sorry about this captain, but I don't think I'm gonna get the tickets sorted in time and I don't want to hold the vessel up any longer," he told her over the phone. "I'm just gonna go home and I don't think I'm gonna come back."

He added, "I'm kind of just deciding to call it quits and just head back to South Africa."

See if Sandy can find a replacement bosun when Below Deck Mediterranean airs Mondays at 9 p.m. on Bravo. Keep reading to relive the most dramatic departures in Below Deck history. 

Camille Lamb

If there's one thing to learn from Camille Lamb's Below Deck firing, it's to not slack off on the job. That's exactly why the season 10 stew was let go by substitute Captain Sandy Yawn, as Chief Stew Fraser Olender continued to criticize Camille's behavior on board.

From being caught drinking while preparing for a new charter to partying at late hours and more, Fraser informed Captain Sandy that he had reached his "last straw."

"She's the common denominator in all of this," said Captain Sandy. "Great girl, great personality, but at the same time, we have to do what's best for the boat."

Kyle Dickard

Below Deck Adventure's Kyle Dickard was let go just three episodes into the reality franchise's latest series—which premiered in November 2022. After picking fights with his fellow deckhand Nathan Morley—as well as kissing crew mates in front of guests—Kyle was offered by Captain Kerry Titheradge the opportunity to resign so that his firing would not end up on his personal record.

Kyle took the Captain up on his offer and left the boat after just one charter.

Raygan Tyler

Captain Sandy let bosun Raygan Tyler go during season seven of Below Deck Mediterranean, not only for causing the boat to take a small hit while docking, but also for not stepping up to the plate as a leader.

But Captain Sandy didn't want her firing to discourage the bosun, as she told Raygan, "If I had the time and I wasn't running a boat this size, I would train you. I would teach you."

Elizabeth Frankini

In addition to onboard romances and failing to follow directions, one of the biggest reasons behind stew Elizabeth Frankini's Below Deck firing was her infamous laundry room accident, during which made a toxic mess when combining bleach and laundry soap.

"Unfortunately, I didn't know that was so toxic and I feel so bad about it," she told E! News of the incident in December 2020. "You know, I do feel really bad, especially 'cause Francesca [Rubi] did say, 'Take it outside.'"

Luke Jones & Laura Bileskaine

The bosun and stew were both fired by Captain Jason Chambers for inappropriate behavior after a night of partying with their fellow yachties.

Luke Jones was let go after getting into Stew Margot Sisson's bed naked while she was drunk and unconscious. Laura Bileskaine also made unwanted advances on Deckhand Adam Kodra despite him telling her he was not interested in hooking up.

Jason made it known that consent was a must, and sent both crewmembers packing.

Lexi Wilson

Tensions between stew Lexi Wilson and Chef Mathew Shea came to a head during an explosive dinner fight on season six of Below Deck Mediterranean, during which Lexi told Matt that his parents "should've aborted you." That was the last straw for Captain Sandy, who fired her not long after the incident.

Tom Pearson

Deckhand Tom Pearson said "bon voyage" to Below Deck Sailing Yacht after getting let go by Captain Glenn Shephard. Tom hit his last strike with the Captain after failing to report that the boat's anchor was dragging during heavy winds one night, causing a potential safety risk for everyone on board.

"It had to be done. It was such a grievous thing that he dropped the ball there, he had to go, and we had to just be man down and live with it, you know?" Captain Glenn said of the decision on Watch What Happens Live. "So, obviously, you don't want to do that, but yeah, it had to happen."

Ryan McKeown

Some people are picky eaters, but Below Deck Down Under's Ryan McKeown was quite the picky chef, as he would judge guests' food requests and fail to take criticism from Captain Jason Chambers, as well.

Perhaps Ryan's Below Deck exit is one of the franchise's most memorable, as he mooned Jason and viewers on his way off the boat.

Magda Ziomek

Below Deck Down Under stew Magda Ziomek's firing was another case of slacking on the job. After constantly being on her phone texting or video chatting with her boyfriend, Chief Stew Aesha Scott decided to replace Magda before the end of the charter season.

Peter Hunziker

Below Deck Mediterranean's Peter Hunziker was fired from the series in June 2020 after he shared an offensive post on social media.

"Peter Hunziker of Below Deck Mediterranean has been terminated for his racist post," Bravo wrote in a statement at the time. "Bravo and 51 Minds are editing the show to minimize his appearance for subsequent episodes."

Hannah Ferrier

Chief Stew Hannah Ferrier was let go by Captain Sandy on Below Deck Mediterranean after boson Malia White discovered her co-star possessed undeclared Valium and a vape pen, the former of which Hannah claimed was for her anxiety.

"If I could do it all over again, I would've just declared them as soon as I came on board," Hannah stated in an August 2020 interview with E! News. "It was definitely not something that was intentional. I wasn't trying to hide anything.

Delaney Evans

Below Deck Mediterranean's Delaney Evans left just as quickly as she arrived. After initially being brought on during season six to help out Chief Stew Katie Flood, Katie determined that Delaney was doing more harm than good, choosing to let her go after just one charter.

"I think she was overwhelmed with the situation, and I think that, you know, in her mind, the best solution to the situation was just to go back to what they had before," Delaney told Bravo Insider of Katie's decision. "I think she was just overwhelmed with everything that was going on and all the feedback she was getting."

Shane Coopersmith

Deckhand Shane Coopersmith was a bit in over his head on season eight of Below Deck, as he was let go for failing to know basic skills, reporting late for duty and taking naps on the job.

Leon Walker

Chaos in the kitchen led to Captain Lee Rosbach letting Chef Leon Walker go on season three of Below Deck. After an oven fire broke out, Lee placed the blame on Chief Stew Kate Chastain but was ultimately the one sent home.

Chris Brown

Like several of the franchise's stars, Below Deck's Chris Brown was fired during season five for failing to fully perform his duties. After being let go by Captain Lee, Chris shared some parting words as he left the boat, stating, "Who gives a s--t?"

Mila Kolomeitseva

Chef Mila Kolomeitseva was fired by Captain Sandy on season four of Below Deck Mediterranean after failing to use her cooking skills to produce top-quality food for guests—including some not-so-nice nachos.

"Of course it makes me feel awful," Mila said of her departure. "People like me who have big egos sometimes have to be put down to earth a little bit. But it makes me feel like I want to work even harder."

Chandler Brooks

Sometimes people just don't work well together. That's exactly why Captain Lee fired Chandler Brooks during season six of Below Deck, telling the boson, "I don't think it's a good fit."

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