Aerial view of a Prince William Sound Aqua Culture Facility

Aerial view of a Prince William Sound Aqua Culture Facility

The Prince William Sound Aquaculture Corporation (PWSAC) is a non-profit founded in 1974 by a local fishermen’s organization to optimize wild salmon resources in the Prince William Sound and Copper River regions. PWSAC operates five hatcheries to produce ocean-raised wild salmon for commercial, sport, and subsistence fisheries.

MER has been fortunate enough to have PWSAC as a long standing customer.  They contacted us to help replace two 80kW CAT generators at their Main Bay Hatchery.

Initially the specification called for two stand alone BOLLARD™ IG100 (100kw) radiator cooled generators.   These would augment the 300 kW water turbine on site.   It was later decided to add paralleling.  Load sharing allows the units to auto start and auto sync as more load is applied.  When load drops, one gen-set can shutdown.  The other carries the lighter load, saving wear and tear and oil and fuel. The auto start/auto sync are controlled by a Deep Sea 8610.  The motor operated circuit breakers were installed in custom MER panels, with programming and wiring provided by MER. After testing at our new facility in Seattle, the units were shipped to Main Bay and installed on site by our team.

Engine longevity is further extended with SCOR bypass oil filtration. SCOR extends engine life and oil drain intervals by removing contaminants to below .9 microns, neutralizing sulfuric acid, and replenishing additive levels.

For PWSAC, the end result has been a user friendly generator upgrade with improved efficiency, longevity, utility and savings. Learn more at


Twin IG100 (100kW) paralleled gen-sets during installation at PWSAC, Main Bay Hatchery

Twin IG100 (100kW) paralleled gen-sets during installation at PWSAC, Main Bay Hatchery



SeaFire Nano, Delta I, Delta II & Gamma Series


SeaFire lights are known for their durability, brightness, efficiency, and style. For years our lights have been paying for themselves in energy savings on commercial vessels around the world. We thought it was time to bring these same savings to the small vessel market as well. We’ve worked hard the past year to expand our lineup to bring you the Nano, Delta I, Delta II, and Gamma lights.

The new lights are equipped with heavy duty housings, 316 stainless brackets and hardware and military grade finishes. With IP69K waterproofing technology good enough to withstand a high temp pressure washer, our lights are ready for whatever the sea throws at them. Performance and efficiency are optimized with premium drivers, water proof wiring, and optics that deliver more light, less radio interference, and consume less energy than the competition. Versatility is built in with dimmable LEDs, flush mounting kits, and interchangeable lenses with a wide variety of beam focus and color options, allowing complete customization of distance, flood, and light color. We are so confident in the new models that we’re backing them with an unprecedented lifetime warranty.

The sum of these benefits together in one package creates a product that is truly incredible. They are easy to install, easy to live with, easy to maintain, and will save our customers valuable time and money.

Check them out today at or see them in action in our booth at PME! (Booth 1321)

New MER Parts & Service Entrance

New MER Parts & Service Entrance

Reaching New Heights – By Michael Hudson

Since the beginning in 1964, in a building in old town Ballard that was once a Chinese laundry, we have traveled far. However, our home and our heart has remained in the center of the Northwest Maritime Industry.

We are excited to announce our new location on the Seattle ship canal, in the historic MARCO yard, just down from Fishermen’s Terminal.  As this year is our 50th anniversary, 2014 will be remembered as a year of growth and major events.

The big change that comes with our new facility is a major advancement in the scope of our capabilities; allowing us to offer much more to our customers. The footprint of the new building is three times the size of the old shop; providing efficiency and capacity in production far beyond what we could offer in the past. This gives us the ability to reduce lead times and respond more quickly to customers’ specific needs. We also have improved overhead lifting capability and equipment for handling larger machinery than ever before which will increase the Bollard product range and power ratings. A new, 380 square foot, state of the art paint booth has been installed which enables us to handle big projects and apply an increased variety of paints like linear polyurethane. The improved paint finish provides increased long term durability and corrosion protection while retaining its color after many years of service.

When you come in, we’ll be happy to give you a tour which will include our engineering department, an expanded fabrication area, and our new full service electrical department. With much more space for our expanding parts inventory, our parts & service department staff are better equipped to take care of you. A new dedicated training area will enable us to continue to offer classes that have been popular with operators. Also, with moorage available close at hand and the local yard services around Fisherman’s Terminal, we have unique capabilities to take on all different types of projects from re-power to re-wire.

You might imagine why we’re so enthusiastic about out new facilities. For fifty years our crew has enjoyed designing and building your equipment. Our new home gives us the ability to take that to a whole new level.


Breakers, Switch Gear & Control Panels

Breakers, Switch Gear & Control Panels

New Tech Makes Paralleling Simpler & More Cost Effective – By Bob Allen

Paralleling two generators, essentially making two or more machines operate as a single, bigger generator, has some distinct advantages. Paralleling can provide system redundancy, backup power, reduce downtime, and prevent both under and overloading of prime movers.

Originally, due to the cost and complexity of the necessary equipment, it was impractical for a lot of operators and for use on small generators. In the last few years the process has gotten easier, requiring a LOT less equipment, and may save boat owners a great deal of money in fuel and operating costs. In part, this is because newer engines now come equipped with the hardware to synchronize them with other engines. That’s the silver lining of the electronic governing required to meet the tougher exhaust emission requirements of today. Thanks EPA.

There are two basic steps to paralleling and load sharing generators together:  synchronizing the separate electrical frequencies and generator voltages, and then quickly snapping the generators together once they are synchronized, creating a single power supply.

The key word there is synchronized. This is the job of a PLC, or Programmable Logic Controller. Generator frequency, or hertz is controlled by engine speed, and engine speed on an electronically governed engine is monitored and controlled by an ECU. Since the ECU is digital, and the language it speaks is common across most engine manufacturers, some simple wiring allows the PLC to instruct the ECU to adjust engine speed. The same applies to voltage; gen-ends usually have the option of a digital voltage regulator, so the PLC can boss it around to tweak the voltage and match it to the voltage of the other generators.
Once the separate generator voltages and frequencies are in lockstep, they are paralleled, again with the PLC calling the shots. The generators already have main breakers, so it’s just a matter of the PLC controlling their operation. To do that, the breakers are fitted with charged springs, and snap open or closed instantly once commanded.

The PLC monitors the breakers, generator status, and the demand on the main bus. If the load is low, say for housekeeping and a few lights, the PLC will only use the housekeeping generator. If the load goes up to maybe  80%, the PLC will start up a second generator, adjust its speed & voltage to match the generator already on line, close its breaker and slowly ramp up the output and share the load. Once load falls again, the PLC will ramp down the excess capacity generator, open the breaker, cool it down and shut it off to save costs.

So what about catastrophic failure? Turning a generator into a motor and causing it to “drive” an engine has always struck fear in the hearts of engineers everywhere. Unparalleled systems with multiple power supplies are traditionally fitted with split buses, mechanical lock outs, or a slide bar to protect the equipment from the harmful effects of reverse power. The PLC does the same job, never allowing two breakers to be closed on the bus unless the sources are live and synchronized. If something doesn’t read right, or fails, the system simply becomes manual. The breakers are hand operated and the engines are started and stopped manually until repairs are made. If it’s the PLC that fails, simply replace it and go back to work, no programming required.

The goal here is redundancy and reliability along with the lowest cost of ownership. It’s not for everybody but it’s making sense for many applications with the falling cost and increased reliability of digital components.

For help planning a system, give us a call.

The Herring Plant where Freddie was shot

The Herring Plant where Freddie was shot

The Powerful Man With Kind Eyes – By Bob Allen

It was 1969… I was a 19 year old kid just off the farm from eastern Washington, working on the beach gang at the Uganik Cannery. When Freddie and I met, my first impression was “this is a powerful man with kind eyes”. He was a rare bird; ran a seiner named the Chinook. The Chinook had a 38’ wooden hull, shallow draft, and a 471 Jimmie.  It was once one of the Cannery owned seiners that went to private ownership after the salmon traps were made illegal in the 50s. We used the Chinook for lots of Cannery chores from pushing the pile driver around, towing the garbage barge, or filling in as the set-net tender in late season when most of the sites had hung it up.

Freddie was half Native, strikingly handsome, and a war hero, though he never spoke of the war. He held the record for the tightest grouping with an M-1 rifle at 500 yards for years; maybe he still does. He taught me how to steer a straight line in the dark back in the days when radar was a luxury and GPS hadn’t been invented yet. We used a compass and a clock with a chart and pair of parallel rulers to find our way around. I remember Freddy telling me, “Find a star you like and follow it.” I grew to call him a good friend. Freddie had a stainless steel plate that made up a significant part of his scull compliments of some German artillery from WWII. He would laugh and say, “It’s good for radio reception”. He was a solitary man with a big heart, a patient teacher; he gave me some of the best lessons in early life on a boat.

Freddie homesteaded a cabin after the war on the back side of Sally Island, just a few miles from the Cannery. Uganik was a lonely place in the winter. He would skiff over to help the cannery watchman, have a laugh and a drink or two, and lend a hand whenever needed. Sometimes he would fill in if the watchman needed a trip to town, but mostly Freddy was content to live alone in his remote cabin, off the grid, off the radar.

Not far from Fred’s place and the cannery, was an old herring oil plant.  It hadn’t been run since ’48, but the owners kept a watchman there anyway. The warehouse there had a good roof where many seine boats stored their web during the winter. That watchman was Andy Pelto, a colorful bird in his own right, and no stranger to a bottle of moonshine. He had a wide scar across his face that looked like his nose had been split in two and sewn back together by a drunk, which it had, but that’s another story. He and Freddy would get together from time to time to play cards and sample Andy’s moonshine. Andy had been an officer in the war and Freddie an enlisted sergeant, so they would often fight the war over again after the first bottle went down. One night things got out of hand and Andy shot him dead at the table. Andy got off on a plea of self defense claiming Freddie pulled a knife. Some say Andy was settling an old score over a girl.  Whatever the case, the truth died with Andy, but Freddie wasn’t Andy’s only drinking buddy to die mysteriously. It was an abrupt end for my good friend. He unknowingly touched many people’s lives, including my own.  His cabin still stands behind Sally Island, abandoned and alone, but a testament to the man who lived there.

SeaFire Marine LED Lighting

Dual 20 Degree Alpha II Lights on the F/V Dorothea

Beam Angle Diagram

Figure 1: Beam Angle Diagram

Figure 2: Polar Graph Example

Figure 2: Polar Graph Example

Clients often ask about the beam angles on our SeaFire lights and how much coverage and distance each will provide. Some will say, “I don’t think 60 degree beam angle is large enough” or “What beam angle should I be using?.” The answer largely depends on the application in which you intend to use our lights but also hinges on your understanding of the definition “Beam Angle”.

Any directional lamp emits light energy in the shape of a cone. As you might expect, the candlepower intensity is the greatest at the center of the cone and it diminishes the closer it gets to the edge of the cone; eventually, in theory, to zero. The usable portion of the cone is defined at the point where candlepower falls to 50% of the candlepower at the center. Our eyes perceive this portion of the lamps cone as one intensity of light even though, at it’s edges, the intensity has dropped to half. This portion of the total cone of light is defined as the “Beam Angle”. That is the definition of “Beam Angle” by correct and scientific method.

Using the diagram on Figure 1 as an example you will notice that the center point of the lamp has a luminous intensity of 2000 and that the intensity fades on each side the further out you travel. When the luminous intensity reaches 50%, or in this case 1000, you mark those points and measure the angle between them.

Often times this information will be displayed on a polar graph. (Figure 2) A polar graph allows an engineer to assess whether the luminaire has a “narrow” or “broad” distribution, gauge its symmetry, and determine absolute or relative intensity on the light’s axis. Using Figure 2 as an example, the luminous intensity at the center of the lamp is roughly 2200. This particular lamp has a very narrow and focused distribution which is reflected in how drastically the intensity drops at 10 degrees. Many people misinterpret polar graphs as the actual “throw pattern” of the light when actually it just graphs the intensity change at different angles from center. Understanding how to properly interpret polar graphs  and beam angles are extremely helpful in determining the right product for the job!
If you have more questions on the science behind our SeaFire lights as well as understanding beam angles or graphs you can contact us here.

David Walker

David Walker at SeaFair 2011

David Walker left our world on 05/15/2014,

We had planned his retirement party for just next week, bought him a gift for his boat so he could stay in touch.  He was taking off up the inland passage with the family for the summer.  He’d been working tirelessly on the boat for the past three years getting ready for the point in his life when he could take the time to travel.  He had a hard time getting away from us, claimed to love his job and was always so diligent he would show up at odd hours and during his vacation time to make sure we and his customers were well taken care of.

I will miss him, we all will.  He left this world in such a hurry.  One minute  enjoying the company of his family, a perfect evening on the waterfront in his beautiful home on the Lake and the next moment he’s gone.  Victim of a tragic accident, so bizarre only an accomplished story teller to come up with circumstances so random.

David was a joy to work with, always a smile and a kind word, an old soul and a true gentleman in every way.   They say the good die young and the rest of us carry on to learn the lessons of life.  There are worse things in life than death and I’m sure David is in another place enjoying the comforts earned from a life well lived.

The light in this world is a little less bright for the loss of a good man.  Our hearts are heavy for his loving family.

David would be the first to say, “Live this day like it could be your last, tomorrow is not a guarantee”.

We love you Dave, we will miss the pleasure of your company, we won’t forget you.  You have brought joy to our lives, shown us the meaning of grace, and left a lasting impression on us all. We wish you fair winds and following seas….

Your MER Family,

Bollard Engines & Generators

Bollard Engines & Generators

50 Years In The Making – By Michael Hudson


[bol-erd] noun
a: A thick, low post, usually of iron or steel, mounted on a wharf or the like, to which mooring lines from vessels are attached.

b: A measure of the pulling force of a vessel against a stationary object like a bollard. i.e. Bollard Pull.

c: The best engine and generators on the planet.


Fifty years ago, MER Equipment was founded to provide marine machinery and support to commercial operators. Over time, we’ve learned a few things about how to build a machine that is dependable and provides the lowest possible operating cost. As you can imagine, we’ve gotten a lot of feedback from our valued customers on what works, and what doesn’t. Everything we’ve learned and everything we’ve been taught has been distilled into our engines and generators. The result of 50 years of refinement is our BOLLARD Engines & Generators line.

Marine Generator Group w/ SeaDrive PTO

Bollard 13kW, 99kW and 315kW marine generators with SeaDrive Front Power Take Off (PTO)

A Bollard generator set, propulsion engine, or hydraulic power unit is engineered for the most demanding applications. If you are an operator who makes your living with a Bollard, you have high expectations for dependability and strive for the lowest, long term operating costs. You want it to be quiet, smooth, and run like a top. It needs to be sized right and have the motor starting capacity to match whatever gets thrown at it. You want total solutions which consider where your engine will be installed and how it will be used. You demand careful thought be put into the design to account for serviceability, and need the accessories to go with it. We’ve put thousands of hours into the development and testing of products like our SeaDrive hydraulic pump drive, SCOR lube oil regeneration systems, and SuperFlex exhaust systems and blanketing, so they’ll integrate seamlessly with the engine you buy. To back it all up you count on the 24/7 service and support that comes with a Bollard. We’ll walk you through a trouble shoot even if you didn’t buy your engine from us. Each machine is custom built to meet your specific requirements.

Bollard Equipment will be built in Seattle near Fishermen’s Terminal. Fittingly enough, our new facility is located in part of the old MARCO yard. We invite you to work with our team of Application Specialists, designers, engineers, electrician and fabricators to build and customize the machinery that’s right for you. You can also count on our Parts and Service Support teams to be ready when you need them. Please go to www. for more information.


Broken Crankshaft caused by Torsional Incompatibility

Broken Crankshaft caused by torsional incompatibility between the a diesel engine and generator end.


Understanding Torsional Vibration & the Importance of TVA – By Spencer Bailey

Destructive torsional vibration occurs when different pieces of rotating equipment don’t get along. When designing or building a piece of engine driven equipment, it’s important to consider the torsional properties of the different components being joined. Failing to account for these internal forces can lead to rattling, excessive noise, poor performance, and even catastrophic failure.

Broken Crankshaft caused by Torsional Incompatibility

Broken Crankshaft caused by torsional incompatibility between the a diesel engine and generator end.

Torsional Vibration has become more common in diesel driven equipment than in years past. The large, slow turning, diesel of the past has been replaced by smaller, high RPM, engines. However, the equipment being driven has largely remained unchanged.

This shift in the relationship of size and displacement between the engine and driven machinery has increased the chance of torsional incompatibility. That’s not a big deal, but it has put a greater emphasis on
performing a Torsional Vibration Analysis (TVA) to ensure compatibility before building a new system. The days of just bolting up an engine to a generator and expecting it to work are over. Torsional dampening devices are now often necessary to prevent premature equipment wear or catastrophic failure.

Torsional vibration effects all engines, and is caused by the pulsating torque applied to the crankshaft from the firing of each cylinder. The crankshaft actually twists back and forth slightly with each stroke. This vibration is especially present in diesel engines, due to their high compression ratios. The pulsating output of the engine can be calculated as a frequency that changes with RPM. The higher the RPM, the higher the frequency. Problems start to occur as the firing frequency of the engine begins to match the natural frequency of the driven equipment. Typically the natural frequency of t

he driven equipment is so much higher than the engine’s that it isn’t an issue. However, with faster turning engines, it becomes a concern.

Natural frequency is the same phenomenon that allows a singer to break a wine glass. If a singer matches the natural frequency of the glass with enough volume, vibration in the glass will amplify to the point of shattering. This harmonic frequency is determined by factors including an object’s mass and spring rate. That is why wine glasses with different weights will break at different frequencies, requiring a singer to change their pitch to match the unique frequency of the glass.

Engine components have natural frequencies too, which are influenced by their inertia, mass, spring rate and twist. Like wine glasses, smaller engines have lower inertias and therefore lower natural frequencies. This may bring the system’s natural frequency to within the firing frequency of the engine at typical RPMs. Running equipment within this range can sometimes be heard as a “groan” which goes away when the RPM is increased. Operating within these frequencies puts added stress on engine components, and can cause oil leaks, premature failure of pumps, bearings and drive shafts. In worst cases a crank shaft can literally snap, just like a singer breaking a wine glass. Fixed speed engines, such as generators, can be more susceptible to resonance, since the engine speed can’t be lowered or raised to shift it’s frequency.

Fortunately, hazardous frequencies can be identified through a TVA, and engine systems can be tuned to keep their frequency a safe distance from the preferred speed of the engine. We couple a lot of different equipment to the back and the front of our engines, and strive to make sure everything is compatible before we build it. Our TVA testing will help optimize design and will also identify the engine speeds to avoid, protecting engine components from harmful frequencies and ensuring years of reliable performance.


F/V Kariel - Steve Fish

F/V Kariel in dry dock at Hanson Boat Co. in Everett, WA

Steve Fish tends to trust his gut, and the results speak for themselves.  As a young man, he felt Alaska was a much better fit for him than college in the lower 48. Over the years Steve has become a recognized highliner and leader in Alaska’s fishing industry.  Photos of the deck of his boat, the Kariel, overloaded and literally awash with halibut adorn the walls of Chinook’s at Salmon Bay in Seattle.  His boat and his equipment have taken him all over Alaska in his fishing career.  When it came time to replace his main, and his generator, he wanted to pick the right machinery manufacturer.  He chose MER.  “I like dealing with them; they’re very professional,” he explains. “If they didn’t have answers to my questions, they said so and got the information.”   One key to Fish’s success is continually upgrading Kariel, keeping downtime to a minimum while maximizing efficiency on deck and in the engine room.

“We’re a family owned business”, says Tyler Allen, Operations Manager, and owner Bob Allen’s son.  “We’ve been involved in the Alaskan fishing industry since the 30’s.  A lot of us here have been, or are commercial fisherman.  We get it.  This equipment is your livelihood.  It’s big, it’s complicate, and there are a lot of moving parts.  We place a tremendous weight on reliability and making sure what we supply really fits the need.”

The result is a very successful repower of the 30-year-old 66’ x 20’ Ed Monk long liner design. The new John Deere main, a 6135AFM75 (425 HP) , and MG65-KS1 (65 kW) Genset configured by MER was installed without a hitch by Hansen Boat yard, and hasn’t missed a beat.

The fuel savings have been impressive, especially at idle. “We idle at .3 gph, and since we do a lot of idling it becomes a significant cost savings,” Fish said.

Fish choose Hansen Boat Company in Everett for the work, and couldn’t be happier. “They’re terrific,” he says. “And they’re innovative. They don’t do cookie-cutter work.” The venerable company was started by the Hansen family in the 1920s, and has developed a reputation for top quality construction and renovating.

“I’d been looking at the John Deere for a while,” Fish says. The existing, original Cummins was still doing its job, but it was time to upgrade. “I figured a new electronic engine would be a good investment. The 12.5 liter Deere just wasn’t quite enough for what I needed, but when it was reconfigured to 13.5 liters, that was just about perfect.”

SeaDrive Front PTO - 65kW generator

Fish’s SeaDrive Front PTO installed on his new 65kW generators by MER

Kariel’s existing genset wasn’t quite due for replacement, but the time was right to move into the electronic age for that as well.   Steve decided to go with MER’s 65 kW Bollard  MG65-KT1, adding a SeaDrive PTO to the front to handle the deck hydraulics.

Steve Fish’s reputation goes beyond the success he has on the water. His quiet confidence and communications skills have helped him become a leader in the longlining fishery. “Fishermen need to be involved,” Fish says of the industry aspect of the profession. As past president and current board member of the Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association, he has always looked out for commercial fishing interests.

A member of the Fisheries Conservation Alliance, Fish has championed Rockfish conservation and sustainable fishing. “We need to be involved in conservation with an eye toward how it will be to make a living long term, and how our kids will make a living.”

When Fish learned about MER’s SCOR (Sea-Change Oil Regeneration) system, he opted to have them added to his two new engines, as he grasped the long-term savings in fewer oil changes, reduced oil disposal and longer engine life.  “The less oil product I buy, the better for me and the better for the earth,” he says.

Fish has three children of his own: Lexi, Eva and Erikson. The three of them grew up around fishing, and they and his wife Kari (Kariel) head out with him occasionally. “These are good family times,” Fish says. His son-in-law Adam Hackett even joins the team when he’s not fishing his own salmon troller/longliner.

Steve Fish’s gut sense has come through for him once again. The repower has been a success all the way around. MER and Hansen made the process simple and professional. “I’m very satisfied with how the project went,” Fish says.


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