Westport LLC reopens

Yacht-builder closed in March

PORT ANGELES — Westport LLC, a Port Angeles-based luxury yacht maker, has resumed production, the company confirmed Wednesday.

In a statement emailed Wednesday to Peninsula Daily News, Ron Nugent of Westport’s marketing department said Gov. Jay Inslee’s lifting of the statewide COVID-19-related stay-home order as of Monday allowed employees to return to work.

Inslee issued the order March 23, shutting down non-essential businesses statewide, including Westport, to allow health and government officials to address the pandemic.

That same day, Westport, the largest yacht maker in North America, laid off up to 335 employees, according to the company’s Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification to state employment officials, which listed the action as a “permanent layoff.”

Human Resources-Safety Manager Jennifer Swogger said March 24 that the company would be closing its facilities with the exception of essential staff.

Two managers told the PDN last week that the company had hoped to resume production Tuesday, the day after the order was lifted.

Nugent and Swogger did not respond to requests for an interview Wednesday about how many employees are working now and other details of the reopening.

The company issued only a four-sentence statement.

“Westport will be following all the state- and county-mandated precautions and guidelines required for social distancing,” Nugent said.

“Since 1964 Westport has taken a long-term view of the future, and has invested heavily in personnel, design, naval architecture, infrastructure, engineering and proven technologies to secure its position at the forefront of the industry.

“Westport currently builds luxury yachts 112, 117, 125, 130 and 172 in Washington state.”

Westport has administrative offices in Seattle, yacht production operations on Marine Drive in Port Angeles and a yacht-cabinet-making facility at the former Walmart building off East Kolonels Way east of Port Angeles.

The cabinet-making operation was to employ 200 workers, according to a conditional use permit issued prior to beginning production.

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Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at [email protected].

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