Below Deck star and fan-favorite Eddie Lucas nearly died operating a tugboat in Baltimore after it almost capsized in the middle of the night. Eddie spoke with Below Deck Mediterranean Bosun Malia White on her new podcast Total Ship Show, where he retold his harrowing close-call.
Over the past decade Eddie has worked on tugboats as his main job outside of working with Captain Lee on yachts for Below Deck. While on the Malia’s podcast he was asked to recount his worst boating experience.
“The worst thing I’ve ever done on a tugboat, which is probably the worst thing I’ve ever done a boat… was first when I became mate, we were working a ship — it was an inbound ship — container ship, coming in. It was a black hull, it was about 3:30 or 4:00 in the morning, I was [driving] the ship,” Eddie explained. “And when you come in, there’s a lot of times the ship doesn’t have chalks or bits where you put your line on a good spot where you can lay flat against the ship. So I had to do this thing that we call shadowing the bow and that’s kind of where I lay off the ship and I’m shadowing the movements of the ship as it comes into the port.”
This is getting ugly.
Eddie’s Tugboat Crashed Into the Hull Of Ship & Almost Killed Everyone On Board
“It’s 4 o’clock in the morning and it’s pitch black. I was on a tugboat that really had terrible visibility in the wheel house. We had a wind that was blowing up from the stern, so it was actually blowing the exhaust past the windows, and the floodlights were illuminating the exhaust and so it was really tough to see that I was actually slowly creeping in on the ship. Also, at the same time, I had a jam on my winch and dealing with my deckhand on deck as he was trying to send the line up.”
A series of unfortunate events.
“Well at one point I looked over, and all of the sudden I caught a glare on the side of the ship from my floodlights and I realized I was about not even a foot away and coming in on it. And the ship, as you know, all ships they’ve got that bow flare that comes up, and a tug boat can’t fit underneath that. And, so what happened was I connected underneath the bow flare with the corner of my wheel house and as soon as it hit, all of the windows around me pretty much exploded in and the wheel house started getting crushed in on me, and then it started pushing us over, and if it kept pushing us over, and then you take water over your rails, then you can get what’s called tripping the tug, which can cause it to flip over, and it’s very hard to get out of a tugboat when it’s upside down. And so it was a very close call but I was able to put both my engines in full reverse and grind my way out of there, but that was probably the most terrifying thing I’ve ever been through on a boat. Got really close to paying the piper on that one,” Eddie finished.
Did Eddie Get Fired For Crashing His Tugboat?
After Eddie finished telling his tale of nearly drowning to death, Malia and her friend asked him if he lost his job.
Luckily he had a really good captain and crew who were understanding of how it was a tough situation that could’ve happened to anyone. Also, Eddie explained, the tugboat they were operating had given other operators a tough time because of its poor design.
Eddie is still working as a tugboat operator in Baltimore at Chesapeake Bay, where he works two weeks on, two weeks off, living only 25 minutes from work. He also bought a new home and lives with his girlfriend and puppy dog.
Although Eddie didn’t lose his tugboat job, it’s unclear if he will be back on Below Deck next season. After his deck crew performed terribly on Below Deck season 9, Captain Lee Rosbach wasn’t too impressed. In the Below Deck season 9 reunion episode, Rosbach didn’t answer whether he would have Eddie back on. However, the captain has always had a soft spot for Eddie, so it’s hard to see him not having him back on his ship.