History of Kerr's Marine Tool Company
"Used by Better Dealers Worldwide"
Founded by Bob and Helen Kerr, Bob Kerr's Marine Tool Company became a corporation in 1963. Before incorporating, Kerr's Marine was a marine business in Winter Garden, Florida, (located west of Orlando) for 21 years. During that time, Bob worked on many Outboard Motors and recognized a need for a more suitable holding fixture than a wooden board held with a vise. With Helen's encouragement, Bob designed and patented many of the tools that are sold today.
Their son, Jim Kerr, purchased the marine business and Bob and Helen began their new career, manufacturing outboard engine repair equipment. Their son-in-law, Fred Crabtree, joined the Tool Company in 1964, and served as manager until 1992, leaving to become general manager of the Lake Apopka Natural Gas District. Jim Kerr sold his marine business and worked for the tool company before joining the Marine division at Walt Disney World.
The Kerr’s, unable to afford much advertising, traveled the U.S. selling their equipment out of the back of their pick-up truck. They made many friends throughout the marine industry and their tools quickly became known worldwide.
In 1974, Bob and Helen's daughter, Sue Crabtree began working part time for the company, while also caring for three school age children (Karen, Jimmy and Andy). As their children grew, they also became interested in the business and worked there during summers and holidays.
In the early years, it was a struggle. Good help was hard to find and expensive. Many nights Bob and Fred would work to build the tools while Helen and Sue packed the orders. After Bob retired in the early 90's, Helen, Fred and Sue ran the business.
Today, the Crabtree's eldest daughter, Karen Crabtree, is the General Manager and has held this title since 2006. Sue and Fred are active in the company as well, and the whole family continues to be involved in the success of Bob Kerr's Marine Tool Co.
Even though Bob passed away in 1997, Helen in 2001, Jim Crabtree in 2011 and Jim Kerr in 2015, Bob Kerr's Marine Tool Company continues to make the marine repair shop a more efficient and cost effective service shop for their customers. Bob Kerr's Marine Tool Company is celebrating their 55th year of manufacturing service equipment. Their tools can be found at vocational schools, military bases, state and national parks, rehabilitation centers and marine dealers worldwide.
This family commitment to our customers spans three generations and we continue to stand behind our products.