Sales have been excellent – the best since the years prior to the 2008 Recession. Our inventories are non-existent for both the Viking and Valhalla Boatworks brands. Service work at all of our facilities is strong and steady. We’ve enjoyed great success in the fishing tournaments, and next week we will hold our largest-ever Viking Key West Challenge.
We had a great 2020 Fort Lauderdale show, adapting to the changing conditions by downsizing but still displaying the largest fleet of yachts in the industry. We approached our VIP event differently, too, expanding it from two to three days to ensure safety.
Several recent waves of publicity have brought us great exposure – both inside and outside of the marine industry. Video of the Super Bowl champions celebrating on a Viking and a Valhalla went viral; coverage of the V-46 performing at Mercury’s iconic Lake X was non-stop; Team Galati’s back-to-back wins in the Los Suenos Signature Triple Crown dominated the sportfishing headlines; and the Viking/Valhalla buzz continued with a very successful Palm Beach International Boat Show.
Back at home, we are completing a huge dredging and dock restoration project at the New Gretna plant, and we’re preparing to begin the expansion of the Mullica facility. Human Resources and Health Services have done an excellent job maintaining the health and safety of our workforce. While we’ve seen a small uptick in cases due to variants in the virus, COVID is under control at Viking. We have been approved as a vaccine distribution site in the state of New Jersey, and we expect to secure the vaccine very soon so we can administer it to our valued boatbuilders, their family members and the residents of Bass River Township.
There are some very serious challenges ahead, including the current supply chain crisis and shortages of critical materials such as resin and products manufactured from plastics. As we know from our own history, the marine industry is not immune to the effects of global and domestic issues and policies.
We are looking at ways to increase our production rates, however, the current administration’s $1.9 trillion COVID relief package has made it challenging to retain and expand our workforce. With the current state and federal unemployment funds available to them, our young boatbuilders have no incentive to work. But we will stay the course, and our workforce will continue to be the best in the industry. As we said 12 months ago, nothing is going to stop us from building a better boat every day. Thank you for all your support as we celebrate our 57th birthday.
–Pat Healey, Viking Yachts President and CEO