Jeff Hemmel started powerboating early. (All photos courtesy/copyright Jeff Hemmel.)

Jeff Hemmel started powerboating early. (All photos courtesy/copyright Jeff Hemmel.)

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Someone far wiser than me once suggested, "Write what you know." And while I will be the first to admit that I still have a lot to learn, I do know a little about pleasure boating. I better; after all, it's the vast majority of my monthly paycheck. I'm also, however, a true pleasure boating enthusiast. Chances are if you're reading this column, so are you.

I thank my parents for introducing me to the water. It was at our family's lake home that I learned to water ski not long after kindergarten, drove my grandfather's vintage Thompson solo at age 10 (hey, I had a license!), and burned through literally hundreds of gallons of gasoline in our family Sea Ray during those golden years when someone else was paying the bills.

Later, I fell under the spell of a used stand-up Jet Ski, learning firsthand about the more mundane side of boating, things like fiberglass repair and engine maintenance. I also, however, only increased my passion for the water. Add four summers spent working at a marina during my college years, and you've got a pretty good boating education, by osmosis if nothing else.

Eventually I found myself competing on that stand-up Jet Ski. It led to my first real job in the industry, writing for Watercraft World magazine. Later, I added Boating to my resume as well. I've done some pretty cool stuff in these two jobs, everything from riding the waves in South Africa to pulling the 12-man pyramid at Cypress Gardens.

I've also had the pleasure of testing a lot of boats, from tricked-out wakeboarding models to your average entry-level runabout. Best of all, however, I've been able to maintain the same stoke for boating that I had as a kid piloting that Thompson all those years ago.

Welcome to my column. Maybe we can all learn something.

Editor's Note: Jeff Hemmel is a contributing editor for Boating, the nation's largest recreational boating magazine.

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