Captain Jason Chambers of Below Deck Down Under has spoken up about his tough second season and whether he would do anything differently.
The 50-year-old had a difficult time on the Bravo spin-off, dealing with two different episodes of sexual misconduct in the cast at the same time.
He was lauded for taking right into action with head stewardess Aesha Scott, and for firing Luke Jones after he drunkenly crawled into Margot Sisson’s bed without her knowledge after a staff night out.
He was asked if he would change the way he handled anything in the series overall while speaking to promote his cooperation with Invisalign.
‘With the incident – if we’re talking about that – if I was out at anchor, I would’ve had to have sat up and manned that crew mess,’ Captain Jason told us.
‘If I was in port, I would’ve rung my agent to try and take him off the boat so we could get a good night’s sleep. If I had some time, I probably would have really got to the bottom of it, and understood it.
‘However, after all that, I made the decision to get him off the boat. With production, I get to see what actually happened, so I didn’t have to have that engaging conversation back on board and try and get to the bottom of it. We actually saw what happened. So, then dismissal is just the only way to go.’
Reflecting on giving Laura Bileskalne the boot hours later for her inappropriate behavior towards Adam Kodra on the same evening – as well as the comments made towards Margot after Luke’s exit – he continued: ‘I don’t regret making a decision with Laura straight after, because I have to set a tone. And if the tone is not fired, it’s just going to keep coming up.
‘That would have been more drama in weeks to come. I wanted a fresh start and sometimes you’ve got to throw the bad apples out.
‘In real life, as I said, I wouldn’t have even had the cameras, or I would have been searching the cameras on the boat, and tried to find out and piece it together. We were lucky enough to actually have enough footage to make a decision. So, I don’t regret any of those decisions whatsoever.’
Captain Jason is no stranger to making changes to his crew on board, having fired some individuals during his first season in the cockpit.
Following some rough patches, he shuffled the interior crew, handing contentious chef Ryan McKeown his marching orders and asking stew Magda Ziomek to leave the boat soon before the series finished.
When asked about the differences between his first two trips, the yachtie said that now that he has his Bravo sea legs, he would have varied things up a bit sooner on his debut.
‘Season one, we were in the middle of Covid, we couldn’t do too much, our hands were tied [on] making changes a bit earlier,’ he said. ‘I probably would have made one or two changes earlier, I think you know who… But we couldn’t move too many people on early, we had to wait for some reserves to come in.
‘The people we did have [as] back-up got stuck in other states in Australia. That didn’t worry me too much because my thought process is that we should try and grow people as much as we can.
‘Season two, I could make changes, but the changes I made weren’t part of a growth change. We had to make some important changes straightaway. Making the change with Adam, that was a change of performance, that’s where I want to get the team to the best.
‘I think I did that in season one as well, trying to get the end result to show the audience where we want to get to, and the crew where they should get to. I kept the same narrative for season two. We want to actually end with the best possible team, doing the best possible things they are doing on a boat.
‘If I can’t get that out of the crew member, and I can find someone better, I’m going to make a change for the better of the boat.’
As well as changes in staff members, Captain Jason also had a transformation himself in between filming, undergoing Invisalign procedures to improve his smile.
He began the process last October, in between performances at BravoCon in New York, and was astounded by how simple everything had been, and how flexible the crew had been to his hectic schedule.
‘Because I was travelling, the process would usually be that you’d go into the clinic and pick up a couple of aligners and then move on,’ he revealed. ‘They gave me my whole 30 weeks to travel with, but then they have the My Invisalign app, so I just had to take photos every week.
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‘There were one or two weeks where I actually just forgot to put them in, and they were onto it. They actually said, “No, you need to put them in!” And I’m like, “How did you know?” I was freediving a lot and I left them, and obviously the machine could actually see, through the My Invisalign app, that they weren’t progressing as they should have been.
‘If you don’t have them in, it actually hurts a little bit when you put the next one in, and that tells you that it’s actually working. That little bit of pain for two seconds, [you realize] “It’s going a little bit further, it’s moving, it’s working.”’
‘I’m not shy to smile or show them,’ he added of his progress. ‘Before, everyone used to say “Smile, you got a good smile.” I had a puppet smile. Now I don’t mind.
‘I’m talking a lot better, I’m actually opening up a little bit more, you probably can’t hear the Australian slang as much now… My pronunciations are a lot better and I’m learning to just be comfortable with everything that’s happening.’