Viking Yachts has deal to acquire Ocean Yachts

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Viking Yachts signed a letter of intent to buy the land and structures of fellow New Jersey sportfisherman builder Ocean Yachts and plans to build some of Viking’s smaller yachts at the Mullica Township plant.

“We are kind of at full capacity here. We wanted to spread out a little bit,” Viking director of communications Peter Frederiksen told the Press of Atlantic City. “We would build Vikings there. We are not buying the product line, just the land.”

Frederiksen said the deal is still in its early stages.

The sale would mean the end of the Ocean Yachts name. The company was founded in 1977 and it built sportfishing boats from 37 to 73 feet and employed as many as 200 people in its heyday in the 1980s and ’90s.

Ocean Yachts did not recover from the Great Recession, and it has only a dozen employees as it finishes its last boat — a restoration of a vintage Ocean, co-owner John Leek IV told the Press.

“This one came back to be restored,” Leek said last week as he stood in front of the 55-foot 1982 Super Sport. “In a lot of ways we came full circle with this boat.”

Leek, who will remain on-site and play a significant role in Viking’s operation after the sale, said the deal could mean as many as 200 new jobs at the Mullica Township facility.