He is an avid fisherman and also scuba dived and surfed. Growing up along the South Fork of the St. Lucie River, he witnessed first-hand the devastation caused by the discharges from Lake Okeechobee, and as a Commissioner is focused on correcting the other pollution inputs that threaten Treasure Coast waterways.
He attended the University of Colorado Boulder and studied Environmental Biology, and earned his USCG Captain’s License. After college, he settled in Maui, Hawaii and worked as a charter fishing boat captain where he targeted marlin and other pelagic gamefish, and competed in prestigious tournaments. It was during this time that Merritt discovered he has LHON, a rare hereditary condition that degenerates my optic nerve. There is no treatment for the condition. Within a year, he became legally blind.
Merritt moved to the City of Stuart in 2010 with his wife, Chelsey, whose own family ties to Martin County stretch back more than 100 years. He has worked for West Marine in Stuart as the Fishing Manager, and was re-elected for his second term as City of Stuart Commissioner. Though my disability prevents me from continuing to run charter fishing boats, I do charter for friends out of their own boats. He and his wife are now raising two wonderful daughters and a Jack Russell terrier, spending as many days as they can in and along the water.