VHF Radio—Don’t Leave Shore Without It

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Even in an exotic high-performance boat such as a Mystic C4400 catamaran, a VHF radio—even a handheld unit—is a necessity. Photo courtesy/copyright Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.

When I was 13 years old and dinosaurs roamed the earth, I watched a dive boat sink three miles off Anacapa Island, a speck of uninhabited land that’s part of Southern California’s Channel Islands chain. Unfortunately, I watched it while bobbing in the Pacific Ocean with my friends and fellow divers—our diesel-powered boat’s bilge pumps failed in the bumpy seas during our final shallow-water dive, which made it a long one, and by the time re-boarded the boat the compartment was nearly full and the engines were mostly submerged.

Fortunately, most of us were still in our wetsuits when boat went down like a stone. A few wetsuit pieces floated to the surface, so those without found a bit of additional protection from the cold water of the Santa Barbara Channel.

We bobbed in the water for close to four hours that day before we got lucky. Our skipper hadn’t gotten off a distress call so no one knew of our predicament, but somehow a passenger on a fishing boat—the last boating leaving the island—spotted us in the water. They rescued us and brought us back to Ventura Harbor. Without being too dramatic, I’m pretty sure that if we hadn’t been spotted I wouldn’t be here to write this story. As I said, the water was cold—less than 60 degrees—and the Santa Barbara Channel is notoriously full of sharks.

Even if we’d had mobile phones back then, they wouldn’t have done us any good. Cell service is spotty at best near Anacapa Island—I’ve been there since

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Tres Martin: A Man Safely In Motion

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For Performance Boat School founder Tres Martin, class is always in session.

With the Desert Storm Poker Run on the horizon in late April and the 2016 high-performance boating season getting underway, Tres Martin, the founder of the Performance Boat School that bears his name, is about to have a lot on his plate. And that’s just the way he likes it. Martin’s current projects include consulting on the bottom design for Sunsation Boats' next Center Console Xtreme—a 39-footer—model, as well as doing “a little R&D work” on an ill-handling 38-foot V-bottom for a private client.

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Tres Martin School Adding ‘Official’ Center Console Performance Course

With performance center console sales still booming, it was only a matter of time before the Tres Martin Performance Boat School created a center-console-specific training curriculum. According to Martin, the course came out of demand from buyers of performance center consoles—many of which can top 80 mph—and their insurers. (The course description will be added to the school's website later this month.)

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With the continuing boom in the performance center console market, a Tres Martin Performance Boat School course for owners of those vessels was a natural addition to the school's instructional offerings. Photo courtesy/copyright Jay Nichols/Naples Image.

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Fun Yet Deadly? Lake of the Ozarks Tops Best Recreational and Deadliest Lakes Lists

Last Monday I received an email from Dr. Michael Janssen regarding a couple of lists that were announced this year regarding one of his favorite hobbies—boating. Janssen, the renowned spinal surgeon behind the Center for Spine and Orthopedics in Thornton, Colo., also is an avid scuba diver and snowmobile rider—just don’t ask the world champion offshore racer to pick a favorite pastime.

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Is Missouri’s Lake of the Ozarks really the Best Recreational Lake and the Deadliest Lake in the U.S.? Photo by Jay Nichols/Naples Image

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Heading For A Strong Finish

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Out West, Monster Bash will cap the 2015 go-fast boating season (click image to enlarge). Photo by Jay Nichols/Naples Image.

While I have zero doubt that there have been more than a few close calls and stupid moves during the 2015 go-fast boating season, it’s been one of the best years in recent memory when it comes to safety as measured by major incidents on the water. And with just two big events left this year——the Florida Powerboat Club’s Key West Poker Run on the East Coast and Lake Racer LLC’s Monster Bash on Lake Havasu out West—there’s no reason it can’t stay that way.

Just ask Tres Martin, the founder of the nation’s best-known and respected Performance Boat School that bears his name. Martin believes that this year’s lack of major go-fast boating accident incidents is no accident. In fact, he thinks awareness of exactly what’s at stake—the future of the activity—is improving.

“I think there’s been a bit of forward thinking on the part of a lot of people who know their boating rights are on the line,” he said. “One or two more ‘bad ones’ would set us back quite a way in our industry.”

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