Recently I had the pleasure of interviewing Todd Olason, owner of Viking Bay Enterprises. Todd has designed stainless custom engine vents starting with certain models off Sea Ray, Tollycrafts and Bayliner Boats.
Tell me a bit about yourself and what Viking Bay is all about? In my personal life my passion for boating has been there since I was born. My Father and Grandfather and our family were boating since 1955. My Grandfather built and launched his first and only boat in 1955 with his twin brother. The Twins were Boeing engineers and extremely high level craftsmen. I came along in 1967 and have been boating with my family ever since.
I decided in March of 2012 to start Viking Bay Enterprises. I really wanted to “love what I do for a living” and created Viking Bay to be all about the combination of my passion for boating and creating unique but useful boating accessories. In addition to the custom engine vents we do some custom ironwood, Mahogany or Sepele wood grill tables or cockpit tables.
How you got started making Custom Engine Vents?
In December of 2011, I had a couple of people on Clubsearay.com/forum that wanted to find a source for stainless steel engine vents. I saw the pictures they posted, knew all about exactly which vent they were talking about and knew I could do that. I offered to help and Viking Bay was born.
What are the Benefits of your Custom Engine Vents?
The challenge I faced in creating these vents is that everyone wanted a more durable stainless product. The plastic ones would get brittle and their design protruded from the sides of the hull. After a little UV damage they would be susceptible to cracking and chipping from fenders hanging over them or catching a dock. If I replicated these vents exactly I felt that although they may hold up better, the rigidity of the stainless could cut a fender or injure someone. So I redesigned the vent to not only look good, but recess the vent’s vanes and eliminate any potential for damage to a fender or anyone climbing in or out of the boat if the location of the vent was near their path. Another advantage is the bolt pattern and footprint will completely cover the originals and align exactly. There are other vents on the market similar, but are made out of a much more inferior stainless and they are a thinner gauge vs. the 16GA material we use.
Plastic Boat Engine Vents retro-fitted with Viking Bay Stainless Boat Engine Vents
What are the Advantages of your Custom Engine Vents?
Tip: Remove the old vent, clean and/or use a cleaner wax to prepare the area. Use a countersink in the existing hole to slightly relieve the gel-coat surrounding the hole. This prevents the gel-coat from cracking around the hole. Now re-drill the existing hole with a 1/8” bit. Take the countersink again and deepen the chamber to accept the new screws *.
* NOTE: Todd does not provide screws because some customers like flat head screws and others oval head.
What problems does your Custom Engine Vents solve? This is important, buyers don’t buy products they buy solutions to their problems. Or they have everything they need in life and buy now because they want stuff that’s cool and trendy.
The biggest problem this solves for our customers is the longer term or possibly permanent solution to the plastic brittle vents they have. The recessed vane design will not protrude to catch and retain water, cut a fender or, even worse, injure someone. I believe that as we continue to slowly grow and get the word out about this product and design, these will become more mainstream for the older model boats.
As we discover other popular models of vents we will be designing solutions for those as long as the market is there. We are currently working on a similar vent that is very common on the Bayliner and some of the other Tollycraft models. Get a price on Stainless Custom Engine Vents for your boat today…..