Below Deck: Ashton Pienaar celebrates one year sober, reflects on past mistakes on Bravo

Ashton Pienaar looks back on Below Deck stint as he hits one year sober.
Ashton was brutally honest about his regrets and hopes for the future. Pic credit: Bravo

Below Deck alum, Ashton Pienaar celebrated one year sober this week and used the day to reflect on his past mistakes on the Bravo show.

Ashton will forever be known for two things in the Below Deck franchise. Season 6, where he nearly lost his life, and his misogynist drunken behavior in Season 7.

It has been nearly a year since Below Deck Season 7 ended with a reunion show that featured Ashton claiming he changed his ways. The former bosun used Instagram to acknowledge just how far he has come in the past year.

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Ashton looks back on Below Deck

The South Africa native shared raw insight into what went down on Below Deck. Ashton recalled signing onto Season 6 of the Bravo show with confidence. He was proud of the person he was at that time.

Ashton reminisced on the moment he was dragged behind the boat and almost died. One would think the moment would have the most impact on Ashton’s life, but it didn’t.

“The reality, though, was that it would have nothing on the moment I sat and realized that I was no longer proud of the person I had become,” Ashton wrote. “Season 7 of Below Deck was the worst experience of my life. Witnessing the way I behaved through rewatching myself on TV left me feeling ashamed, embarrassed, broken, and lost.”

Fans know Ashton’s aggressive drunk behavior was out of control by the end of the season. The incident in the van where he nearly punched Kate Chastain left viewers outraged. Ashton became public enemy number one on Below Deck, with fans tearing him to shreds.

“Being stripped bare of my ego and everything I thought I was in front of the world is one thing, being stripped of all that and more in front of my friends and family was nearly unbearable,” he stated.

Alcohol as a coping mechanism

Ashton admitted that, like many people, he used alcohol as a coping mechanism for issues he was avoiding in his life. His behavior on Below Deck made him realize it was time for a change.

“1 year ago today, I decided that I will be better that I will do better. That I will become a brother to look up to and a son to be proud of,” Ashton shared. “I have gone deeper into my being then I knew existed, to rebuild myself. I have faced my fears, accepted hard truths, and relived traumatic experiences. A journey, most certainly not a destination.”


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It is a journey Ashton embraces. After all, what was initially the worst time of his life, Below Deck Season 7, ended up being the greatest gift to him.

Ashton Pienaar celebrated one year of sobriety, letting fans know he has changed. He may not be proud of the man he was on Below Deck, but he will forever be grateful for the new lease on life the show gave him.

Fans aren’t necessarily ready to forgive and forget all of the toxic behavior Ashton portrayed. However, confronting demons and getting sober always deserves credit because it is not easy for anyone.

Below Deck airs Mondays at 9/8c on Bravo.

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3 years ago

Like a typical mom I am proud of the maturity you have now. You have come a long way, Are you now a captain?