While Tres Martin and Brad Schoenwald have taught a number of their Performance Boat School students the essentials of go-fast powerboat driving skills one on one, they've instructed many more in groups. But while—at least at first blush—a group setting might not seem as intensive as one-on-one instruction, it can turn out to be more so.
"When you get a good group of people together it can be great because they share their experiences and interact with each other," says Martin. "They talk about their own experiences, what they've learned and the mistakes they have made. They bond and get comfortable with each other. It tends to bring out some good questions that they want answered.
"The only thing about groups, and we've had up to eight students at a time, is that it's a sunrise-to-sunset experience on both days," he added.
While the daylong classroom aspect of the school's course can be shared in a group setting, each student still gets his or her one-on-one, hands-on driving time with the instructor. Martin says that each student still spends at least two hours behind the wheel and must demonstrate proficiency in all required skills before their course completion certificate gets signed and awarded. The most challenging aspect of putting together a multi-student class, he says, can be finding two days that all the participants can agree on.
"It's pretty easy to get four guys to agree to come together in one spot, but getting them to agree on the days to be there is a little harder," says Martin. "What's important to know is that we give them the same course and the same effort, and that they have to fulfill the same course requirements whether it's a group of students or one student. We won't walk away from the on-water instruction until each student has mastered the skill set and we are ready to sign the certificate. We work with them until they do it right, every time. There's no, 'Sorry, we're out of time,' we have to get going now.' They have to get it done, 100 percent and we're not done until they do."
Editor's Note: Tres Martin's Safety Corner appears bi-weekly on speedonthewater.com. Confirmed upcoming school locations and dates are: Miami (Mar. 14-15); Lake Cumberland, Ky. (April 14-15); Lake Norman, Okla. (April 17-18); Grand Lake, Okla. (April 19-20; and Lake Havasu, Ariz. (Desert Storm, May 1-2).
Tres Martin's Safety Corner
(Photo courtesy/copyright Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.)