Our History

MER was born in 1964, indirectly the result of the largest earthquake ever recorded in Alaska, 9.2 on the Richter scale. Ivan Fox, our Founder, was at the time in charge of Alaska Salmon production for New England Fish Co. After the earthquake and the resulting Tsunami, much of the fleet and processing capacity was severely damaged. Ivan and his crew worked tirelessly the spring of 1964 to salvage the salmon season. Even to the extent of having to raise the floor in his own remote cannery on Kodiak Island by 4 feet. The earthquake actually lowered the ocean floor under his cannery in Uganik Bay, causing his warehouse and processing floor to flood during high tides. Hundreds of boats were swamped and millions of dollars of processing equipment had to be rebuilt in just a few month’s to make the summer deadline. Ivan and his port engineer, Larry Schusted, opened up shop in Ballard (Seattle, WA) to rebuild the marine engines and equipment damaged in the flood. Taking the name Marine Engine Repair, they saved the season and Ivan and Larry’s commitment to the fleet made them a trusted, reliable, parts and engine supplier to the Alaska fishing and workboat fleets.

Ivan Fox

Larry’s specialty was remanufacturing the Detroit Diesel 2 cycle engines common in the fleet.  In the Early 1970s MER introduced the Isuzu diesel engines to the west coast.  The Isuzu engine was a fuel efficient 4 cycle engine that quickly became the go-to generator engine on all the fishing boats in Alaska. The combination of the quality-made Isuzu engine and proven reliability of the Marathon and Kato generators kept our fishermen busy doing what they do best: fishing and not repairing equipment. Through the late 1900s, MER developed and built generator and propulsion packages to suit the needs of fishermen, workboat owners, even some industrial users all over the United States.

In 2002 MER took on the John Deere marine engine line and quickly became one of the largest John Deere marine dealers in the world.

In 2015 MER was invited by John Deere to become an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) to develop their BOLLARD™ line of Marine generators. The OEM status allows MER customers to enjoy worldwide factory and dealer support of the John Deere engines they build into their “BOLLARD”  branded generators and power units.  No matter where a BOLLARD™ ends up in the world, there is now a network of parts and service support backing them up.

We’ve been called the best little engine company on the west coast. Our process, to start with the most reliable engines, generators, and power transmission components. We design and build them into custom packages tailored to the commercial marine fleet. We focus on fuel efficiency, ease of maintenance, longevity, versatility and protection devices. We incorporate proven products for fuel efficiency, sound reduction, reduced emissions, and design for ease of installation and serviceability.  All aimed at the goal of minimizing the cost of ownership for our customers.

Most of our customers are repeat customers. They use their equipment to make a living. Many of our new customers have come to us from the recommendation of a friend. Typically an engine or generator sale is an interview process. Questions asked and answered with the goal of engineering a long-term solution to a need. The goal isn’t to minimize the initial up-front cost or to maximize our profits. Our prices are a function of our materials costs. If you buy a product from MER you probably paid a little more than you could have for an “off the shelf” solution. We have found over the years it is in our customer’s interest to spend a little more upfront, design and engineer for the job and location at hand, get it right the first time, and save a small fortune in the long haul.

Our objective is to help you keep your hard earned money.

The owners of MER Equipment are crab and salmon fishermen, marine engineers, fabricators and mechanics. Our family and friends are all fishermen, processors, workboat operators, engineers, and port engineers. We’re a third generation commercial fishing family and we’re in this business because we like what we do, it shows in our work and the products we build.

By its nature, mechanical gear consumes itself, wears out, and eventually fails, usually at the worst time. If it’s engineered and applied correctly from the start, it lasts longer, is more economical to own and easier to maintain.

There is no tool more expensive than the cheap one that didn’t do the job when you needed it most.

We try very hard to support the American worker. Whenever we can we buy the one made in America. Sometimes it costs a little more but the money stays home to circulate in our economy, to support American schools and families.