Noted marine writer Eric Colby, the former editor of Powerboat magazine who also contributed boat reviews, features and columns to Boating magazine for more than 10 years, was released last week as a columnist for Performance Boats magazine. According to several sources, Colby’s dismissal was the result of his latest column for the magazine, which reported and commented on a fatal nighttime boating accident in New York. The driver involved reportedly had a blood alcohol level of .08, which is illegal in all 50 states.
“Eric is a good writer, but this is not the first time we’ve had sensitivity issues with his work,” said Chris Davidson, the publisher of Performance Boats. “He will no longer be writing for us.
“I really don’t want to comment,” Davidson added.
Colby was an independent contractor to Performance Boats and not an employee. According to several sources, his release was sparked by displeasure with his column, most notably from Joe LoGiudice, the president of Hustler Powerboats—a Performance Boats advertiser—who reportedly was close to the families involved in the incident.
“I found out I was being let go when I called Brett Bayne, the editor of Performance Boats, to ask him about another story that I might be able to sell him,” said Colby. “He explained to me that after Joe had screamed at Chris in the Hustler booth at the Miami Boat Show, Chris told Joe I would no longer be writing a column.”
Informed that Davidson said there were prior sensitivity issues with Colby’s columns for Performance Boats, Colby responded, “Well, that’s the first I’ve heard of them.”
As for his final column for the magazine, Colby stands by it.
“I wouldn’t change anything in the column,” he said. “My condolences go out to the family and to Joe at Hustler who was close to them. I’d prefer that these accidents never happen and give a columnist cause to take a less-than-popular stance on topics such as safety and/or nighttime operation.”