In their own words!
Read a short synopsis of the interesting lives of the men and women behind the Viking Fleet.....
Captain Paul G Forsberg / Owner Operator of the Viking Fleet
A brief history of the story so far.....
My father, Captain Carl Forsberg founded the Viking Fleet in 1936 in Freeport, New York. I was a mate on my father's Freeport Viking boats until 1951. In 1951, when I was 12 years old, my father relocated the business and our family to Montauk, New York.
At 12 years of age I owned my own 24 ft. boat in Montauk. I worked in various commercial fisheries from 1951 to 1957. In 1957, at the age of 18, I received my 100-Ton Captains License. From 1957 to 1959 I ran my own charter fishing boat. From 1959 to 1991, I was involved in the party boat fishing business in Montauk during the summers. During the winters I worked on commercial draggers.
The Viking Fleet, which is a year-round operation, consists of three party fishing boats, one highspeed ferry, 1 commercial fishing vessel, 1 cruise vessel and one new vessel (The Viking Fivestar) under construction at this present time.
We are the largest, privately owned fishing fleet on the northeast coast. The fleet is owned and operated by myself and my son, Steven Sr. Two of my grandsons (Carl and Steven Jr) have both earned their 100-ton captains licenses, and operate the Viking boats.
Currently Viking Fleet operates fishing boats out of Montauk NY, Tarpon Springs FL and New Bedford MA.
I am proudly holding issue 11 (55 years plus!) of my 100 ton Captains license and continue to run the boats in New York and Florida. Fishing is in my blood, it is how my family have provided for ourselves and our many full time employees. Fishing and operating our ferry boats is not a part time or second career for any us - it is what we do. For this reason I continue to fight tirelessly on my own time and at my own expense for the rights of recreational fishermen everywhere.
Captain Paul G Forsberg
Captain Paul is currently based in Tarpon Springs Florida where he lives with his lady, Patricia. For the 2008 season Captain Paul will sail his own boat, the Viking Freedom up to Montauk where he will run the Viking operation. On the way up Captain Paul will commercial fish enroute. The Viking Freedom is a sail assisted commercial research vessel, that Captain Paul uses to research virgin grounds. In 1996 Captain Paul found some fantastic new porgy grounds in New Bedford MA and since then we have been fishing every year out of New Bedford MA.
Captain Paul will go commercial fishing offshore for the summer months from our dock in Montauk when his schedule allows. Captain Paul will also supervise the construction of the Viking Fivestar when he is not out fishing. Captain Paul has seven grandchildren and one supercute great granddaughter. In fact the fourth generation are now Captaining the boats! Captain Paul lives a very active life! Along with running one of the largest year round businesses in Montauk, he enjoys lots of dancing, motorcycling, excercising, skiing, sailing and of course fishing.
Captain Steven D. Forsberg
I was born and raised in Montauk New York – fishing capitol of the world! As a small child I grew up fishing with my father Captain Paul Forsberg from the time I could walk. Fishing is the only job I have ever had. In fact, I could not see myself doing anything else! As a child I started off working deck and as soon as I had earned my Captain’s license I began running the Viking Boats. In the eighties my brother Paul B. Forsberg and I made a living by commercial fishing during the winters. Throughout my career I have had the opportunity of trying several different types of commercial fishing, from long lining, dragging, scalloping, gillnetting to pin hooking but in my heart recreational fishing is where I love to be. I have pioneered the offshore party boat Tuna fishing and continue to love running the offshore deepwater challenge trip’s. Now days a lot of my time is spent in the Viking Office scheduling the trips, boats and crew. My role in the company has evolved into a managerial position, ensuring that every boat sails on time and is running in tip top shape. I spend long hours sweating it out in the engine rooms of all of our boats. That said I would rather be at the helm any day of the week than sitting behind a desk! I have a great interest in marine construction and am enjoying designing and building our latest vessel the Viking Fivestar with my father and son.
Captain Steven Forsberg Sr (on the left)
Captain Steven lives in Montauk with his wife Elizabeth Forsberg, also a licensed Captain. Together they have a young daughter . Captain Steven’s son Steven Jr has followed in his father’s footsteps and is helping him run the Montauk operation. Captain Steven’s two older daughters are based in Florida. His oldest has recently graduated from college and is a licensed occupational therapist and has a gorgeous little girl Lola, (Captain Steven is a Grandpa!). Her sister is also a great student, on track to graduate high school early. Captain Steven enjoys fishing for a living and recreationally. He is a fantastic cook and enjoys cooking for the whole family. If you need a fish recipe, he is your man. When he can take time away from the business Captain Steven enjoys clamming, surfcasting and fishing with his wife Liz and his daughters on their private boat. During the winter Captain Steven’s garage becomes headquarters and its there that you will find him and his crew working on his latest project. This year Captain Steven will be traveling to Alabama a lot to over see the progress on the construction of our new boat, Viking Fivestar.
Captain David Marmeno
I was born and raised on Long Island . I grew up with the Great South Bay as my childhood playground. At an early age I began clamming from the shore. I managed to dig enough clams to buy my first boat. I was twelve years old. She was a 16 foot wood Sea Skiff with a forty horsepower outboard. I used this boat to go clamming and to drift in the Fire Island Inlet. These magical days fostered a deep love in my heart for being on the water as well as a love for boats of all shapes and sizes. I was the kid who was always hanging around the many boat yards in my town, learning maintenance and repairs. Even after all these years I still enjoy maintaining the boats I am responsible for.
I graduated from High School and then went on to College and earned a degree in Marine Biology. During my college years I discovered Montauk, my own wonderland. I made many trips out East to surf, fish or scuba dive. All the time Montauk was a place I wished I would be able to live. Sometime wishes do come true. I finished College in 1986 and moved back West and took a job in Aquaculture. I held this position for a year and a half. Having a regular 9 to 5 job left me with some spare time. I began a restoration project on an old 1937 motor yacht which became my pride and joy as well as my home for many years. Though I enjoyed my aquaculture job, I did not like living up Island so I took my boat and myself and moved lock stock and barrel to Montauk. I found work as a mate aboard the Viking Starlight where I worked under Captain Richie Rade. He was one of Montauk’s finest porgy fishermen and was a long time mentor of mine. I loved my job and learned so much, and realized (to my joy!) I could make a living going fishing everyday. The years flew by and I finally got around to earning my Captains License. This cemented my career plan and I am now proudly in my 20th year as a full time Viking employee
Captain David Marmeno is currently living in Montauk with his wife and their young daughter. When he is not running one of the Viking boats Captain Dave is aboard his own recreational boat fishing or having fun! In the off season Captain Dave is very involved in the Montauk Fire Department. Captain Dave also enjoys outdoor activities like surfing, skiing and motorcycling. Captain Dave was awarded the Viking Employee of the year award in 2006.
Captain Dave Marmeno
Captain Richard Castellano
I hold my fourth issue USCG 100 Ton Master License. I grew up fishing the Long Island Sound, which led me to own my own charter boat in Freeport, NY where I serviced mostly corporate clients. I then relocated out to Montauk, NY where I began working for the Viking Fishing Fleet. As a captain with the Viking Fleet I became very familiar with the Canyons of the North East as well as Georges Banks. Fishing these waters I pursued many different species, Tuna, Swordfish, Shark, Mahi, Cod, Pollack and Tile, to name a few. The Viking Fleet then led me down to fish the Caribbean waters.
My interest in boat maintenance and repair took me to Tarpon Springs, Fl, where I spent a winter completing a new 160' Viking boat. Several winters following saw me refurbishing three of the other Viking boats. I quickly made friends with some commercial captains and began fishing with them as often as possible, gleaning knowledge of the waters of the Gulf of Mexico from captains with years of experience.
Along with Captain Paul Forsberg we launched the Viking Fleet of Tarpon Springs in 2003.
From 2003 to June 2005 I ran the 140' Viking Starship taking passengers fishing to the Florida Middle Grounds. I was fortunate enough to bring aboard two local Captains, George Lontakos and Jerry Rathey, making for an unbeatable team. In fall of 2005 I debuted the 120' Viking Superstar and have been fishing the Gulf of Mexico ever since. Along with Captain Paul Forsberg I purchased the Gulfstar in 2006 and have since updated / remodeled her into what she is today. The Gulfstar is geared for nearshore and offshore charters and anchors me in Tarpon Springs FL most of the year.
Captain Rich Castellano
Captain Joseph DiLiberto
I was born and raised in New York City. I grew up fishing Jamaica Bay and Rockaway Inlet with my dad, mom and brother in the late 40’s and 50’s. When I got married in 1967 I moved to West Islip and started fishing the Great South Bay. I graduated Brooklyn College in 1972. I’m proud to say that I was a NY City Police officer from 1962-67 after which I entered the NYC Fire Department. My first Captain’s license was issued in 1976, after which I operated a 31’ six pack boat from West Lake Lodge. I retired from the Fire Department in 1980 and bought Prime Time in 1982. I sailed her out of Captree State Park until 1988. In 1990 I moved to the Florida Keys but returned to NY in 1991 and worked for Captain Jim Gillen at Captree. 1995 was the year I joined the Viking Fleet in Montauk and ran the Block Island ferry for 10 year- from 1996 until 2006. Since then I have been running half day fluke trips on the Viking Starship, and enjoying being back on the fishing side of things.
Capt. Joe DiLiberto
Captain Steven N. Forsberg
I was born and raised in Montauk, growing up on the Viking dock. In fact I sailed on my first two day Tuna Trip at age five. By age eight I was working as a mate on a charter boat and by age eleven or twelve I was a regular mate on the Viking Fleet party boats. At age eighteen I earned my Captains License and by age nineteen I had upgraded to my 100 Ton License. That Fall I began running the two day Tuna Trips and have never looked back. I love all kinds of fishing but offshore fishing is my passion. My family has been involved in the Party Boat fishing Industry for Four generations. I currently work in our family business with my Grandfather Paul, my father Steven and my cousin Carl. The Industry is changing and we here at the Viking Fleet intend to change with it. In fact we are currently constructing a new vessel, the Viking Fivestar in Alabama. During this past winter I made two trips to Alabama to oversee the construction.
During my limited time off I enjoy visiting my sisters and my niece in Florida. I am also doing some remodeling at my house in Montauk.
Captain Steven N Forsberg
Captain Carl Forsberg
I grew up in Montauk, NY. My father took myself and my brother out fishing on an overnight cod trips since we were very young. From that time on I would go with him every chance I got. As soon as I was old enough, I would work deck whenever I was not in School. When ever I could I would. After I graduated high school, I took college classes in California for business during the winters and would come back to work in the summers. After college, I got my Captains license at age 20 and start running the boats. I would run the all day Fluke and Sea Bass boats, as well as the Night Striped Bass. I was also 2nd Captain on the overnight Tuna and Cod Trips. I then went to Florida and started running the Viking Superstar out of Tarpon Springs doing overnight Offshore trips Fishing for Grouper, Amberjacks, Snapper, King Mackerel and everything else during the Winter and Summertime. I am currently living in Montauk where I am running the Viking Fleet boats. I love fishing for both bottom fish as well as the Pelagic, and there is no place I would rather be than on the water.
Captain Carl Forsberg
Captain Eric Desbonnet
I was born and raised on Long Island, more specifically Shelter Island. I began working as a deckhand for the North Ferry at sixteen. On and off I have worked on the North Ferry for over 38 years. I also worked for the South Ferry during this period. I got my first 100 Ton license when I was 18 and I am currently operating on my 7th issue. I graduated with a degree in Fisheries and Marine Technology from the University of Rhode Island. After that I moved to Louisiana and worked on the oil patch, captaining crew and supply boats to the oil rigs. I came to work for the Viking Fleet in 2000 as a Captain on the Block Island Ferry. During then 2005 season, I ran a harbor tour business from the Viking dock during the day and ran the Viking ferry to New London at night. I live in Southold NY with my wife Kathy and our two sons Adam and Conor. When not working at Viking and during the off season, I am a nursing supervisor at ELI Hospital in Greenport, NY.
Captain Jay Burke
I was born and raised in Montauk and I am the 4th generation to live in Montauk. I am married to my lovely wife Dee for almost 30 years. Together we raised 2 near perfect children our daughter Jennifer who just graduated Fairfield University and is on her way to graduate school for her master’s degree and our son, JJ who just graduated high school and is on his way to Notre Dame .JJ also holds a Captains License. My wife and I spent most of our adult life in Miami Beach where we owned a charter boats Therapy and Therapy 4. After that I pursued a 10 year career as a long line sword fisherman. A portion of that time was as captain of the now infamous Andrea Gail. Very similarly to Billy Tyne’s experience with Hurricane Grace, I weathered out Hurricane Charlie on the Grand Banks in 1986. Much like the movie I saw 70 to 80 ft. seas only THANKFULLY my story had a better ending. Dee and I now live 6 months of the year in Stuart Fl. Where I run a small charter service there I teach wakeboarding and waterskiing and take out family’s river fishing. We also live 6 months of the year in Montauk. Dee has a Bagel Store Dee-Licious Bagels. During the Summer I am a Captain on the Viking Superstar. I have been a member of the Viking family since 2006.
Captain Anthony Darrigo
First Mate: Eric Hannan
It’s exactly 20 year’s since I was first introduced to the Viking Fleet when a friend recommended taking a Valley of the Giants trip….let’s just say I’ve been hooked with the Viking Fleet and the Viking way of fishing ever since. Growing up in Deer Park I spent most of my time on the Great South Bay mostly fluke fishing with my father every chance we got. Most of my Viking trips were to Georges Banks with Captain Steven Sr. the fishing was unbelievable but the passion displayed and the knowledge of the species and banks by Captain Steven was what inspired me to want to someday join the team. I have been working deck since 2003, mostly Striped Bass and winter offshore, but the words of Captain Steven Jr left me no choice but to get my license and begin working as his 2nd Captain on weekend Tuna and Steelwagen trips. Currently I am running Full Day Block Island Fluke on Sundays under the tutelage of Captain Carl. During the week I work in Manhattan but come Thursday night I am Montauk bound. Together with my wife Heather and our three children we divide our time between our homes in Deer Park and in Springs.
Eric is celebrating 12 seasons with the Viking Fleet this year, most of which was spend on Long Island fishing both inshore and offshore. Eric was also one of the crew members that helped start off Viking Fleet Florida and Viking Fleet New Bedford. He has been going on Viking boats since he was 5 years old- fishing both the north and south shore of LI. Eric currently resides with his wife Kelly and their family in the Hamptons for the past 14 years.