Viking 54 Sport Tower Review

A design that maximizes the use of space as well as appeal

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A side view of the Viking Yacht 54 Sport Tower cruising across the ocean.
The 54 Sport Tower from Viking is an impressive performer. Courtesy Viking Yacht Company

Viking Yachts has a proven formula for expanding its fleet by building a completely new model within a model. The New Gretna, New Jersey, boatbuilder’s latest example is its 54 Sport Tower, a model that premiered at the 2022 Miami International Boat Show. Utilizing the resin-infused composite-constructed hull of its 54 Convertible that launched one year before, the Viking engineering and design group unleashed its pair of five-axis profilers to manufacture a series of molds that created a new hard-sided deckhouse, hardtop and cockpit, resulting in the largest express sport-fishing yacht in the company’s 58-year history.

The 54 ST is part of the 54 Open series, which also includes the 54 Open and Sport Coupe. Our test boat was Hull No. 1 of the series, a stealthy bluewater battlewagon made available to us by its owner through Viking dealer Staten Island Yacht Sales. Express-style sportboats demonstrate peak appeal to owner-operators who typically fish with small crews by allowing the skipper to be just steps away from the cockpit. Adding a tuna tower doubles the boat’s efficacy, and the combination of its fishing features married to an inviting interior is an attraction for both new and experienced owners—especially those who participate in tournaments. The style also caters to owners who are considering either moving up or down in boat size.

A view of the ocean and helm control panels of the Viking Yacht 54 Sport Tower
The bridge layout is reminiscent of much larger Vikings, with all displays and controls within easy reach. Courtesy Viking Yacht Company

Cockpit and Command Deck

Sporting 154 square feet of usable space, the cockpit is well-designed and outfitted for offshore work. A livewell is built into the transom with a split lid, and is available with a transparent viewing window and interior lighting. Recessed storage compartments beneath the fiberglass sole can be divided to accept deposits from the ice machine, handle the day’s catch, stow gear, or supplement the livewell capacity when needed. Removable on-deck livewells also can be added, with direct drainage overboard through custom scupper fittings.

A walk-through ­transom door with lift gate, along with a single large lazarette hatch to protect and access a Seakeeper SK16 ­gyrostabilizer, contribute safety, comfort and convenience. Beneath the coaming finds the Cablemaster shore power feed, 12- and 24-volt outlets to supply power to kite reels and dredge gear, dockside freshwater inlets, as well as freshwater and saltwater outlets.

Watch: We show you how to rig one of the best baits for blue marlin: the swimming mackerel.

The mezzanine deck features twin seating separated at the centerline to reach the command bridge and engine room. Beneath each seat, insulated storage is ­suitable for an available freezer option. The mezzanine steps also add capacity for gear and a drink-box cooler.

The command station is organized with large, distortion-free glass panels recessed into the one-piece fiberglass wraparound windshield. An adjustable Stidd helm chair is mounted on a raised platform to deliver comfort and ­spot-on visibility when steaming offshore, watching the activity in the cockpit, or monitoring three Garmin 8622 displays in the raised console above the fiberglass—or optional teak—helm pod. Electronic ZF single-lever controls with built-in bow-thruster buttons are matched to the stainless-steel steering wheel, and Optimus power steering provides the right consolidation for effortless control and rapid response.

Available air conditioning at the helm keeps the cool breeze flowing. A recessed portside console box contains a pair of VHF radios, Bocatech switches, gyro, thruster, thermal camera, watermaker, ice chipper and trim-tab displays, among other ship’s systems, and the Rupp hydraulic outrigger switches. Engine and other Garmin instrumentation are flush-mounted into the hardtop underside, as are a pair of Miya Epoch Super US-9R teaser reels and a pair of rod lockers to accommodate rod-and-reel outfits and gaffs. Flanking the helm are companion navigator chairs with storage underneath.

The command deck is noteworthy for its volume because it uses much of the boat’s almost-18-foot beam. Aft of the helm, the area resembles the space you would find in a convertible’s salon, with a dinette to port and an L-shape lounge to starboard, plus another deep-capacity refrigerated drink box. Chilled air flows from the vents in the cushions lining the area for desired climate control. The insulated deck sole and the ceiling height do a good job absorbing ambient noise, making it easy to converse at normal levels. Aft bulkhead options include a choice of soft rollup or fixed design.

The second command station is provided by Viking subsidiary Palm Beach Towers by way of a 5-foot-6-inch gap tuna tower with a one-piece fiberglass standing platform, complete with molded-in LED spreader lights fore and aft underneath. A 63-inch control box is equipped with everything needed to control your fishing day, including a Garmin 8612 multifunctional display, VDO tachometers, start/stop buttons and a freshwater washdown outlet. No such thing as a bad day at whichever office you select with this ride.

Kitchen galley of the Viking Yacht 54 Sport Tower.
The highly functional interior has wide-ranging appeal. Courtesy Viking Yacht Company

Accommodations

A sliding glass door leads below. Similar to a convertible layout, the beam makes for maximum overnight privacy and rest. Two arrangements are offered and share a commonality of features, including high-gloss horizontal walnut joinery and easy-care Amtico flooring.

Our test boat had a three-stateroom layout: a master forward with a queen-size bed, ample storage, a 32-inch high-definition television, and a private head with a fiberglass shower stall; upper and lower berths on the port side outfit the remaining two cabins and share the second head and shower. The starboard-side galley is a wall of cabinetry, manufactured stone counters, and a premium appliance package, including a 50-inch HD television. Booth-style seating is available in the salon, and a washer and dryer are located in the companionway. The two-stateroom version has a larger salon with an L-shaped lounge and high-low table. Either arrangement should appeal to any traveling ­tournament team.

The stark white and clean engine room of the Viking Yacht 54 Sport Tower.
A pair of MAN 1550 CRM engines propel the boat to a top speed of 40 knots. Courtesy Viking Yacht Company

Engine Room and Performance

Mechanical installations are neat in true Viking fashion, and the Awlgrip-finished engine room provides move-around accessibility. On centerline there is 79 inches of headroom walking in, and 61 inches at the forward bulkhead. Also at the engine room entrance are four digital displays that monitor the status temps of the Dometic refrigeration equipment, a set of analog gauges for main-engine oil pressures, water temperatures and digital tachs.

The 54 Sport Tower refuses to fall short of Viking’s high-standing seakeeping principles. We were able to sea-trial the boat in the open ocean off Fort Lauderdale, Florida, with the twin V-12 MAN 1550 CRM diesel engines hustling us along at 40 knots. At 1,950 rpm, the boat cruised at 34.6 knots and burned 58 gph per side with a nearly full load of fuel, full of water, and the owner’s gear. As we throttled up to 2,100 rpm, the boat recorded a respectable 36.4 knots, consuming 126 gph. This model performs similarly to the 54-foot convertible, a testament to Viking’s design and engineering department’s effort to push the envelope toward a smooth and dry ride by consistently refining the running surface.

Read Next: Meet the man behind the brand: Pat Healey, president and CEO of Viking Yacht Company.

Introducing new models is a way of life for the Viking Yacht Company, and the 54 ST is a prime example of the company’s heritage to build a better boat every day. I have run many express boats in my past career as a charter- and private-boat captain. Some of them were noisy, some were slow, some had so-so visibility, and some had terrible mechanical systems and installations. Express boats are basically a hybrid design—good at some things, not so good at others. But this 54 ST is fast, quiet and would be fun to fish on. Equally impressive, combined with its sister companies Atlantic Marine Electronics and Palm Beach Towers, Viking is a unique builder, delivering its boats in a turnkey, ready-to-go-fishing manner. And who doesn’t like a ready-to-use, right-out-of-the-box product these days?

Viking 54 Sport Tower Specs

  • LOA: 54’6″
  • BEAM: 17’8″
  • DRAFT: 4’10”
  • DISPL: 70,230 lb.
  • FUEL: 1,230 gal. (standard); 1,430 gal. (optional)
  • WATER: 198 gal.
  • POWER: V-12 MAN 1550
  • GEAR/RATIO: ZF2050A/2.25:1
  • PROPELLERS: Veem, 5-blade
  • Hull Color: Haze Grey Gelcoat
  • Climate Control: Dometic
The view of the ocean horizon from the Viking Yacht 54 Sport Tower
The boat’s tower is highly functional and well designed. Courtesy Viking Yacht Company
Seating in the bridge of the Viking Yacht 54 Sport Tower
The air-conditioned command deck is just steps away from the action. Courtesy Viking Yacht Company
A view of the ocean from the cockpit of the Viking Yacht 54 Sport Tower.
The teak cockpit is well laid out and ready for either a fighting chair or rocket launcher. Courtesy Viking Yacht Company
A latch door to an engine room built into the mezzanine of the Viking Yacht 54 Sport Tower.
Engine room access is via a centerline hatch. Courtesy Viking Yacht Company
Interior stateroom of the Viking Yacht 54 Sport Tower
The island master stateroom forward. Courtesy Viking Yacht Company

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