Former Pacific Fishermen Shipyard Manager Doug Dixon Dies

Doug Dixon receiving the Norwegian Commercial Club’s King Neptune award in December 2022. Photo: Norwegian Commercial Club.

Longtime maritime industry figure Douglas Dixon, who was the former general manager and director of Pacific Fishermen Shipyard in Seattle, has died.

Dixon died last week after a short battle with cancer, his friend Bill Forslund told Fishermen’s News May 4.

“Unfortunately my friend Doug headed to the hospital in late March with an unknown malady and was quickly diagnosed with cancer that had spread pretty much all over his body,” Forslund said.

Another friend, Nathaniel Howe, said that during his lifetime, Dixon was an “unrelenting advocate for the marine trades, both in Pacific Fishermen Shipyard and in youth outreach and workforce development.”

“He was instrumental in the Ballard Maritime Academy program at Ballard High School and certainly in the Youth Maritime Training Association and its scholarship program, absorbed into the Puget Sound Maritime Historical Society in 2014,” Howe said.

Dixon was actively involved in the maritime industry for 50 years overall. Following graduation from the University of Michigan with a Bachelor of Science degree in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering, he began his career in 1974 in California at Global Marine, with design work on drill ships, a Norwegian Aker H-3 oil drilling platform and supporting the work of the CIA with the USNS Hughes Glomar Explorer, recovering a sunken Russian nuclear submarine off the coast of Hawaii.

In 1977, when the king crab biomass and value rose dramatically, Dixon transitioned to MARCO Shipyard to Seattle to design and build crab boats. He worked with Norwegian-American fishing pioneers of the day, including highliners and their vessels like the f/v Northwestern of “Deadliest Catch” fame, together with sales of different types of hydraulic machinery MARCO invented.

After leaving MARCO in 1991, Dixon worked for Det Norske Veritas (DNV) certifying all types of vessels, then Lunde Electric and Guido Perla Naval Architects.

In 2001, he was appointed general manager of Pacific Fishermen Shipyard. During his tenure there, he assisted in the passage of the 1987 Commercial Fishing Industry U.S. Vessel Anti-Reflagging and Foreign Reconstruction Act and the U.S. Commercial Fishing Industry Vessel Safety Act of 1988.

His training in Norway as a Ship Surveyor by Classification Society DNV included conducting compliance surveys for U.S. Fishing Vessel Safety Act, International Loadline, SOLAS Safety of Life at Seas, United Nation’s MARPOL Marine Pollution Convention for international commercial vessels, and OSHA for the U.S. fishing fleet.

In 2020, Dixon was awarded the Propeller Club Maritime Achievement Award. He retired from Pacific Maritime Shipyard in 2022, and in 2023, he received the Norwegian Commercial Club’s King Neptune Award, which honors individuals and organizations whose contributions have furthered the economic growth, well-being and recognition of the North Pacific fishing industry.

“Doug was an unrelenting force for good, albeit with rough edges, for the maritime industry and leaves behind a gaping hole, not soon to be filled,” Forslund said.

At Dixon’s request, no public funeral will be held, according to his family.