Newly relaunched boat builder keeps old promise

TITUSVILLE, Fla. – Central Florida businessman and angler Chris Peterson is restoring flats boat manufacturer Hell’s Bay Boatworks, according to a recent statement from the company.

Peterson, a USGC licensed Captain, watched in dismay as the boat builder, went under in late 2005, the company reported.

“All key elements were still intact so I made a bid for the company,” said Peterson. “Many long time key employees came back on board, and less than 30 days later we were making boats again.”

Peterson soon was introduced to Coastal Conservation Association member Bill Camp. Previous ownership had promised a boat for a CCA auction and then failed to deliver. Camp was the successful bidder on the boat and actually paid a $15,000 deposit, which was lost. While the new company was not under any obligations to deliver on old promises, its new owner said he did what he thought was right.

“It’s easy to think you’re not responsible, but I had to set a new tone for doing the right thing at Hell’s Bay” said Chris. “We didn’t take anyone’s money or make the deal, but, Hell’s Bay Boatworks is here to stay and I couldn’t just send Bill off so.”

Mercury Marine agreed to power the boat. “We are glad we could help make this right,” said Arne Irwin of Mercury Marine. “It is nice to be part of the relaunching of Hells Bay Boatworks and to know their new owner mirrors our corporate philosophy of customer commitment and integrity.”

“We had given up on achieving any reasonable solution to the situation,” said Robert Hendricks, CEO of CCA Florida. “There was no legal obligation and these sorts of things never seem to be righted. I can’t believe Chris Peterson shouldered this debt and took care of Mr. Camp.”

Hells Bay Boatworks donated $10,000 and Mercury Marine sent a new 60 HP Big Foot 4 Stroke more than matching Bill’s original commitment.

“Together the two companies have righted a wrong. This has been a roller-coaster for me,” said Bill Camp. “I can’t say how wonderful it is to know that they stepped up like this.”

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