In 1968, Randy Repass began selling nylon ropes for fishing and boating out of his garage in Sunnyvale, California. He opened his first store in 1975 in Palo Alto, California, called West Coast Ropes. In 1977, the company acquired West Products and changed its name to West Marine.
The company merged with E&B Marine in 1996 and began offering a larger amount of boat and fishing equipment.
In 2003 the company acquired BoatU.S. Product Division.
In 2014, the company announced that it would close all of its Canadian locations. As of September 2017, the company operates as a subsidiary of Monomoy Capital Partners, who acquired the company for $328 million.