, 1948 but moved to San Pedro when he was fifteen years old. Coming from
a hardworking family, he immediately joined some of the local men on net fishing
expeditions and later went into lobster and commercial
During his seventh year on the island,
Cesario married Valerie Dawson and together they had six children: Cesar, Julian
and Christian (twins), Carlo, Johnnia and Janellie. Cesario continued to fish
for a living but also looked for other ways to increase his income. To sustain
his family, he also worked as a guide. As the town grew, hotels and restaurants
began to sprout up and Cesario saw a potential business importing assorted
fruits and vegetables to the island. He invested his savings in a 17 foot skiff,
powered by a 75 horsepower engine to make the trips to Belize City to purchase
produce. This venture proved profitable, as both businesses and locals were able
to sample a wide variety of goods at the Rivero residence.
As time went on, more and more often Cesario was
approached by people (mainly British nationals at the time) asking for rides to
Caye Caulker or Caye Chapel on his return trips to San Pedro. Generally loaded
with merchandise, if he had space on his boat he would gladly welcome them
aboard for a minimal fee. The continued demand for this service sparked an idea
for yet another business opportunity which would provide additional income for
his family. So using his same 17 foot skiff, Cesario celebrated the birth of
Thunderbolt Ferry Service.
Eventually, Cesario was able
to invest the profits of this new venture into a larger 20 foot skiff; this boat
being powered by a 200 horsepower engine. In a short time, business was booming
for the Rivero family as more tourists and locals took advantage of the ferry,
which was more affordable than flying. Through careful maintenance of their
boats, the family provided safe and reliable transportation for their customers.
This, coupled with their friendly service led to the success of Thunderbolt. In
time, to accommodate the increasing number of passengers, it became necessary
for Cesario to buy one of the largest ferry boats on the island - a 46 foot
skiff with two-250 horsepower engines.
Cesario Rivero is not only able to provide for his family but shares his
business with them. Cesar, the eldest, is the company's manager, boat captain
and also services and maintains the watercrafts. Chris is also a captain, as is
Ronnie, Cesario's son-in-law. Julian and Carlo contribute to the administration
and bookkeeping of the company. Even though Mr. Rivero maintains a very busy
schedule supervising this thriving enterprise, he always manages to spend
quality time with his grandchildren.
Unfortunately, a set
back in Cesario's life occurred in October of last year when Hurricane Keith
destroyed all of Thunderbolt's vessels, leaving the family without income for
four long months. In spite of this, Mr. Rivero, a determined businessman,
managed to reestablish the ferry service by restoring only two
Mr. Cesario Rivero's future plans are already
on the drawing board and include adding a scheduled trip to Corozal and
eventually more frequent trips to Caye Caulker and Belize City. Presently the
construction of a terminal on their premises (immediately behind the old
football field) is underway that will serve a dual purpose as a seafood and
Having had much good fortune, Cesario
feels it is important to give back to the community and has done so many times.
During the threat of Hurricane Mitch he volunteered his water fleet to evacuate
people from the island. He offers students a special rate for class trips
chartered on Thunderbolt and also gives discounts to Government officials and
civil servants such as the police and health departments.
In speaking with the San Pedro Sun, Mr. Rivero
commented, "I am proud to provide a water ferry for the people of the island.
Being a safety conscious man, I firmly believe in updating our equipment
for the safety and comfort of clients. My family's business is a reliable one
and we are committed to service. Even if only one passenger shows up on our
dock, we stick to our schedule. We would like to take this opportunity to thank
all the locals for their patronage throughout the years. They have played a
crucial role in the success of our business and we are grateful for their
Through Thunderbolt Ferry Services, Mr. Cesario
Rivero has definitely given traveling a new meaning. He is a pioneer of water
transportation and has provided many an opportunity to "ride the waves" into