“Wouldn’t it be nice?” Those four words have inspired many daydreams, which rarely become reality. But it is those four words, spoken between two entrepreneurs, that have inspired a real endeavor in Windley Key. “Wouldn’t it be nice… if we could combine everything we love about boats and the Keys into one destination?”
What started as a lazy-day conversation has turned into a full-fledged endeavor. Those four words are transforming a marina and neighboring property that has been boarded up since Hurricane Irma into a haven for local boaters and Keys lovers.
David Peterson and Gabriel Pacheco cofounded the SD Marine Group in 2021. The two men met over their passion for boating and joined forces with their dream. A dream being realized for locals as much as (if not more than) tourists.
Gabriel grew up in Miami and spent weekends and summers at his family’s second home in the Keys. He loved everything the Keys offered and made it his permanent home more than two decades ago.
Though Gabriel embraced the laidback lifestyle of the Keys, his career was everything but. He worked as a paramedic and flight medic since he was 20, balancing that high-stress job with boating until that hobby evolved into his current endeavor.
Gabriel met his business partner, David Peterson, on the water. David is a successful businessman based in Delray Beach that spends as much of his free time in the Keys as possible. Now, he’s mixing business with pleasure by being hands-on in all facets of this business endeavor in Windley Key.
David and Gabriel’s lazy-day conversation started with the thought of how nice it would be to go to a marina that was more than just a marina. A one-stop shop for boaters and a place that embodied the Keys lifestyle in every way.
“Wouldn’t it be nice” sparked something inside them that became a full-fledged fire when SD Marine Group acquired Smugglers Cove followed by Snake Creek Marina early this year. The two properties are now merging into one: The Islamorada Yacht Club.
The Islamorada Yacht Club will be a true haven for boaters, both locals and tourists. The bayside cove will soon be home to a new boutique hotel, restaurant, and bar. And the oceanside marina is already providing full boating services and amenities, including sales, storage, maintenance, repairs, docking, fuel, ice, bait, and more.
“We’re taking everything we love about the Keys and as sportsmen and family men and putting it into Islamorada Yacht Club. It’s a destination with a name that matches the luxury of the islands but an atmosphere that welcomes everyone.”
The Islamorada Yacht Club is not going to be exclusive to members, nor are its services. The SD Marine Group operates a full-service marine center on site. Boaters can head there today for boat sales, rack storage, routine maintenance, repowerings, outboard/inboard service, electronic upgrades, boat customizations, and more.
SD Marine represents 5 of the finest brands in the boating industry: Cigarette, Front Runner, Caymas, Sea Cat, and Xplor. It is also an authorized Mercury, Yamaha, Suzuki, and Cox Diesel dealer and service center. As if that’s not enough, SD Marine is also a full yacht brokerage that covers everything in between and serves clients worldwide.
Islamorada Yacht Club, which encompasses SD Marine, is easily accessible by land or sea. The Overseas Highway intersects the bayside cove and seaside marina on the north end of Windley Key. It’s an ideal location for a true boater’s haven.
Now, no matter their needs or desires, boaters everywhere will say, “Wouldn’t it be nice… to go to Islamorada Yacht Club.”
-Jerrica Mah is a writer, Army wife, and freelance book editor who loves to travel vicariously through stories.