Beginnings in Lake Placid, Florida
Performance Marine was Founded by Jene and Darin Whitaker in 1978. Jene was 22 years old and Darin 18 the couple ventured into the boat business. They were both into boating, water sports and high-performance vehicles which became a passion for both of them.
Starting the Shop
Growing up in Lake Placid with all the lakes and waterways in the area they felt the need for a business to serve boaters in their community by providing high-quality products and service. They built a small shop on U.S. Highway 27 just north of the small town with a showroom, service bays, and fenced in the property for boats on display or being repaired.
Jene and Darin built a reputation on customer service and being able to do the job right at a fair price. Some of the first manufacturers Performance Marine began carrying were Mercury/Mariner Outboards, Mercruiser Inboards, Skeeter Bass Boats, Hurst Bass Boats, Duracraft, Sabre and others.
Performance Marine Racing
In 1980, the team at Performance began building race cars to run in the 12 hours of Sebring, Road Atlanta, Daytona, and other Endurance races. Many locals helped out with the races. The team also built Mud Racing Cars, Race boats, and Drag Race Cars. During the day they would work on boats, and after hours they would work on racing stuff. With the racing venture came the need to start a machine shop addition onto the boat shop where they could build and machine engines, not only for their race cars, but for all sorts of other applications.
Performance Marine Today
Performance began to grow with the hard work and dedication of all the long-time employees and loyal customers over the years. In June of 1999 Jene was killed in a boating accident while testing a high-performance boat at Mercury’s test facility “Lake X.” After Jene’s death Darin and the team picked up the pieces and kept the company moving forward and continued to grow. In Year 2000 Darin Expanded Performance again by doubling the property size for more boat parking which was paved and fenced in. In 2009, Performance added another addition of a bait shop next door which sells artificial and live baits.