“Below Deck'”s“ ”Captain Kerry admits Ben Willoughby wasn't his first pick for bosun: 'He may not make the whole season'

"Ben wasn't my first choice to be in that position, but he does know the boat well," Captain Kerry tells EW.

Newly crowned bosun Ben Willoughby may have felt like the last Below Deck docking was rainbows and sunshine, but dark clouds are on the way.

Captain Kerry Titheradge reveals exclusively to Entertainment Weekly that not only was the former lead deckhand not his first choice for bosun, but Ben's future isn't locked in on St. David.

"Ben wasn't my first choice to be in that position, but he does know the boat well. He's very good at his job, but he definitely needs to stay focused and understand what the chain of command means," Captain Kerry says.

Also, firing bosun Jared Woodin immediately before a new charter meant that someone from the deck team would need to lead. "He knew the boat well. I didn't know the boat," Captain Kerry says about Ben. "I used to live by a mantra that you can teach a job, but not a personality. And I think if you can treat someone differently, maybe they might not be the ideal personality for the job. But at the time, I needed the right skillset for the job, and that's what he had."

But Captain Kerry adds a teaser that could be a harbinger of tension to come. "I had a lot of faith in him to do that job. But you'll see in the episode as well, more than once, I said, 'Are you up for this?' I mean, I think three times I asked him," Captain Kerry recalls. "And the last time you could see his face, he was sick of being asked a question. And that might give you an idea of the future discussions I'll be having with him."

<p>Fred Jagueneau/Bravo</p> Ben Willoughby and Captain Kerry Titheradge

Fred Jagueneau/Bravo

Ben Willoughby and Captain Kerry Titheradge

A possible future discussion could involve Ben's boatmance with deckhand Marie "Sunny" Marquis. Did Captain Kerry know about the bubbling flirtation?

"That was part of the conversation I had with him about having to act different amongst the other crew. I wasn't officially aware," Captain Kerry says. But he was aware of Ben's messy love triangle from last season: "I was aware of his history in his position," the captain adds. "I give everyone a fresh start. Hopefully people react differently to different styles of leadership. And I was hoping that he would react to a different style of leadership later in the season more than once. He came quite close to things not being very good for him. And he may not make the whole season."

Could this neatly tied bowline start to unravel?

Below Deck airs Mondays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Bravo.

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