Tommy Hofstetter is poised to make another splash in the powerboat industry in a surprisingly big way. Well, surprisingly to this editor who never knew the talented engine builder, multi-time world champion racer, highly regarded rigger and dedicated boating enthusiastic behind Chief Performance and Chief Engines in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., had his sights set on opening a full-scale marina in the Florida Keys.
Chief Marine Group’s Tommy Hofstetter is excited about the next chapter of his career. Photo by Victor Nappe
Yet that’s exactly what he did in the form of Chief Marine Group, which is located at the former Smugglers Cove Resort and Marina in Islamorada where U.S. Highway 1 crosses over Snake Creek.
“I’ve always wanted to do something like this—a full destination kind of place—and I feel fortunate that we were able to find such a great location,” said Hofstetter, who grew up in South Florida and many times visited Smugglers Cove, which has been vacant since Hurricane Irma devastated the region in 2017. “I’m super excited to let everyone know we’re up and running. We have some big plans for the business and this property.”
Because Hofstetter has broadened his boating industry knowledge during the past five years by focusing on the outboard-engine-driven luxury performance center console market with brands such as HCB Yachts, Cigarette Racing Team and more, he’s primed to build Chief Marine Group into a well-rounded boating business thanks to an enthusiastic and forward-thinking investment team and a strong family support system.
Hofstetter said Chief Marine Group is planning to have a display at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show later this month (Oct. 27-31) and is going to be one of the lunch stops for next month’s Florida Powerboat Club Key West Poker Run on Wednesday and Thursday (Nov. 10-11).
Along with a full-service marina and a dedicated sales team focused on a multitude of brands, Chief Marine Group is able to provide repower, service, repair and maintenance on boats of all types, sizes and engines packages. In fact, some notable projects in the works at Chief Marine Group include a 46-foot Skater Powerboats catamaran being rigged with a pair of Mercury Racing 1550/1350 engines and a 53-foot HCB being repowered with four new Mercury Marine 600 engines.
“I can’t wait to share what’s coming next,” said Hofstetter, who added that his son, Blye, and daughter, Atlantis, are working with him. “I’m excited to have my kids involved with the business.”
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