Mercury Marine is considering the possibility of relocating its engine testing facility in Placida, Fla., to a site somewhere on Pensacola’s Bayou Chico, a company spokesman said this morning.

Tom Mielke, director of corporate communications for Fond du Lac, Wis.-based Mercury, says although the company is looking at “a couple” of sites on Bayou Chico, there has been no final decision to move to Pensacola.

“We’re browsing at this point,” says Mielke. “It’s not like this is a strong move towards settling on anything.”

The Bayou Chico site is an attractive one for Mercury, says Mielke, because it allows the company easy access to open salt water for both endurance testing for engines and salt water corrosion testing for components.

Mielke says Mercury is exploring other potential sites “all over the county,” all of which provide Mercury with similar access routes to salt water.

Once established, Mielke says he expects the new testing facility will employ about 35 people, the majority of whom will be testing technicians. Some of the employees, however, will provide additional support functions, Mielke says.

But for now, he says, Mercury is keeping its options open.

“Setting up a testing facility is something that you do with a long-term view,” says Mielke. “We want to make sure what we [decide to do] will take care of our needs into the future.”