Though Captain Sandy Yawn has been at the helm on all of the yachts featured on Below Deck Mediterranean since 2017, the first season of the Bravo reality series included Captain Mark Howard in the cast.
He was the first to take the yachties through Greece aboard the Ionian Princess, back on Chief Stew Hannah Ferrier's first season with Bravo.
Following his departure from the show, Captain Mark led a life away from the cameras. Many fans were saddened to learn that the longtime yacht captain had passed away in late October 2021. What happened to Captain Mark from Below Deck Med?
What happened to Captain Mark Howard from 'Below Deck Mediterranean' Season 1?
During his time on the reality program, Captain Mark was known for his signature midwestern attitude. His golden rule of yachting, "the guest is always right," ruled his and his crew's every move.
When we met him aboard the Ionian Princess, he had already been a yacht captain for almost 30 years, nearly a decade more than his Below Deck counterpart, Captain Lee Rosbach.
Before he docked on the shores of Greece, he had already sailed through the world — everywhere from the South Pacific to the Caribbean on both private and charter boats.
But he was more than just an expert of the sea; he also had a pilot license and he flied helicopters as a hobby.
After his time on the show, the Michigan native had largely been residing in Florida. In 2019, his Below Deck Med chief stew, Hannah Ferrier, shared that the two kept in touch "maybe once a year."
The yacht captain died at the age of 65 in October 2021. According to Us Weekly, the Fernandina Beach Police Department report noted that Captain Mark's wife, Susan Howard, found his body inside of their Florida residence after she returned home from a trip to a dog show on Oct. 27. It appeared as if Captain Mark had actually died several days earlier.
Following the news of his passing, Bravo released a statement on Instagram.
"Our thoughts and sincerest sympathies are with the family and friends of the respected Captain Mark Howard," it read. "As the captain of the first season of Below Deck Med, he will always be remembered for his many contributions and mentorship and will forever remain part of the Bravo family."
Several of Captain Mark's co-stars paid tribute to him online as well.
"What sad news, thinking of Mark’s family at this time," Julia d'Albert Pusey wrote in response to the Below Deck Instagram post.
"RIP Captain Mark Howard," Tiffany Copeland tweeted. "You were a joy to be around."
"Rest In Peace my friend. You were a great captain, friend and colleague. Always the gentleman," Hannah Ferrier wrote, along with a heart emoji. "You will be missed."
What was Captain Mark Howard's cause of death?
Captain Mark Howard's cause of death was publicly revealed nearly two months after his tragic passing. According to medical examiner report obtained by People, the former Below Deck Med star died from "hypertensive cardiovascular disease with chronic alcoholism."
His death was ruled to be accidental. According to an Us Weekly report that came out at around the time of his death, the Fernandina Beach Police Department report stated that "blood droplets on the floor that appeared suspicious in nature" were found near Captain Mark's body and that there was also "blood coming from the area of the right side of his face."
The former Bravo personality is survived by his wife, Susan Howard.