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Commentary: Never Too Cool For School


If you own a high-performance catamaran or V-bottom and haven’t taken a Performance Boat School driving course, one needs to be in your future. Photo courtesy/copyright Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.

Every year, about a month before the annual Desert Storm Poker Run and its assorted activities in Lake Havasu City, Ariz., Tres Martin, the owner of the world’s foremost high-performance powerboat driving school that bears his name, invites me to take the course—for free. And every year, at least so far, I’ve said no. The primary reason? Time or, more to the point, the lack of it.

Next year, I’m going to make the time. I don’t care what it takes.

Yes, I’ve written about Martin’s course more times than I can remember and I’ve used him and his driving school partner, Brad Schoenwald, as sources in dozens of safety-related stories during the years. I’ve interviewed a slew of folks who’ve taken their courses, from veteran offshore racers such as Rick Bowling to first-time go-fast pleasure boat owners, and heard nothing but praise for its content and gratitude for the lessons learned.

So come late April 2017, I’ll be able to count myself as one of a handful of marine writers—my friend and fellow journalists Eric Colby took it awhile back and had nothing but great things to report—who has graduated from Tres Martin’s course. Naturally, I plan to write about it, but this time around it will be a first-person account.

So what’s motivating a guy who’s covered high-performance powerboating since 1994—but doesn’t own a boat and drives them infrequently at best nowadays—to go back to school?

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