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Shelby Mattingly Goes Back To School

For Shelby Mattingly of Elizabethtown, Ky., the last couple months have been educational. Make that exceptionally educational, starting with her taking on the role of sales and marketing manager for speedonthewater.com. Mattingly runs her own successful apparel business—Boat Babe Official—so she knows how to sell and has experience in the high-performance marine marketplace.

Speedonthewater.com sales and marketing manager Shelby Mattingly is now a graduate of the Tres Martin Performance Boat School.

But ad sales and marketing for speedonthewater.com, which in addition to daily news produces videos, digital magazines, a weekly newsletter and a standard-setting Year In Review magazine? That’s a different animal—particularly for someone with zero media advertising sales experience.

In just two months, the 31-year-old is already crushing it.

Earlier this week, Mattingly, added another item to her resumé. She completed the Tres Martin Performance Boat School driving course. And despite that she and her husband, Chris, have owned a half-dozen go-fast boats and currently have a Midnight Express 43 Solstice center console powered by five Mercury Racing 450R outboard engines at their second home in Madeira Beach, Fla., she brought as much behind-the-wheel experience to the course as she did to her role at the speedonthewater.com.


“I have an inflatable boat,” she said, then laughed. “That’s the only one of our boats I’ve ever driven.”

The Tres Martin course was a Valentine’s Day gift from her husband. On Monday, Mattingly and her fellow students, Cintia Pombo, Midnight express salesperson Lesly Puentes and Hagan Huber—the fiancé of Midnight Express principal Eric Glaser—met at the center console builder’s Miami headquarters for the classroom portion of the course. Among the various elements of the curriculum, the one Mattingly found most fascinating was boat trim.

A conference room at Midnight Express became a classroom for Mattingly and her fellow students.

“Trim was the thing I knew the absolute least about,” she said. “It was fascinating.”

The next day, Mattingly met with Martin, who recently added former Navy SEAL Jose Delgado to his instructor roster, at Haulover Marine Center for the in-water portion of the program. While her fellow students ran with Martin in a quad outboard-powered 43-footer from Midnight Express, Mattingly chose her own 43-footer as her classroom.

“I felt like I needed to take the course in a boat with five engines because that’s what we have and that’s what I’ll be driving,” she explained.

Martin led his student through the basics of hands-on boat handling. He taught Mattingly to execute emergency maneuvers for collision avoidance and more. While running a boat to its top speed is far from the point of the course—it’s all about safe operation, staying out of dangerous situations and handling tricky moments on the water when they inevitably arrive—she got comfortable running the boat at 75 mph.

For most of the day, Mattingly said she felt relaxed and comfortable as Martin helped build her skills behind the wheel. But her driving course final exam, so to speak, meant running through Haulover Inlet on their return to Haulover Marina. Videos of powerboaters struggling in the notorious cut between the Atlantic Ocean and Biscayne Bay, often a jumble of rough water, tide and current, played as endlessly in her head as they do online.

“It was so rough and I made it through really well,” she said, then giggled. “I was like, ‘Dang, where’s the video camera when you need it?’ When we got into Biscayne Bay, Tres said, ‘Wow, that was nasty. You did really good.’”

A few minutes later, it was time to dock the 43-footer. Martin coached her through the docking process and Mattingly aced it in front of her instructor and the entire Haulover Marine Center dock crew.

“You don’t use the steering wheel at all,” she said. “It was super busy and I was a little nervous, but I did really well. Even the dock guys were like, ‘You did great.’”

When the Mattinglys tackle this year’s Boyne Thunder Poker Run in Northern Michigan, there’s a good chance Shelby will be at the helm for a portion of it. Photo from Boyne Thunder 2022 by Pete Boden copyright Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.

In giving his wife the Tres Martin course, Chris Mattingly created more than a designated driver when he and the couple’s friends feel like enjoying adult beverages. The course brought out a passion for powerboat driving that Shelby Mattingly never knew she had. Before this week, she was content to ride in the co-pilot’s seat full-time.

Those days are gone.

“We’re back in Kentucky now, but the first day we’re back in Florida we are going out again so I can drive,” she said. “I can’t wait to drive it again.”

Asked if her husband may have inadvertently “created a monster” with his Valentine’s gift, Mattingly laughed.

“He did,” she said, then laughed again. “He definitely did.”

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