The first Munson Boat

Over sixty years have passed since this photo was taken of the first Munson boat with our founder, Bill Munson, at the tiller. It is sad to say that she was not aluminum and rotted away years ago. Steel rusts, wood rots, fiberglass delaminates and riveted aluminum can’t take a pounding. That’s why Munson Boats are built from all welded aluminum plate.

In the Navy

With a passion for boats, Bill Munson joined the US Navy in 1969. While serving in Vietnam, Bill was assigned the task at which he was best suited…welding and repairing aluminum Swift Boats in the Mekong Delta. Hundreds of the 50 ft long, shallow draft Swift Boats were used to patrol strategic waterways and many took an absolute beating. Bill was introduced to the benefits of aluminum boats where he saw firsthand the uncompromising abuse aluminum boats can tolerate, being quickly repaired and put back into service.

Alaskan Fisherman

After the war, Bill began working as a commercial fisherman in Alaska. He quickly became very busy designing & building aluminum boats for himself and other Alaska fishermen, combining his experience as a commercial fisherman with his understanding of welded aluminum boats. In 1980, he founded his first boat building company, Munson Manufacturing, Inc.

Munson Squares-Off

The Munson “V” hull square-bow design was ideal for workboats such as large skiffs & gillnetters. The design perfectly accommodated bow-rollers, but also provided more usable space and improved ride quality in chop compared to traditional skiff designs. During the early 1980’s, the Munson square-bow aluminum skiff became the vessel of choice for high speed, heavy load applications.

The Munson Landing Craft is Born

The first Munson landing craft was built in 1984.  At that time, landing craft were traditionally flat bottom and performed poorly in heavy seas. A bow door adaptation to the square bow resulted in a new “V” hull landing craft, combining a deep forefoot for cutting through chop with a bow ramp for beaching operations. Gradually, over time, the Munson landing craft has been refined and evolved into an exceptionally seaworthy design that has proven itself to be as capable as any boat of equal size.

Starting Over

Needing capital, Bill Munson sold Munson Manufacturing in 1986 to a group of investors who eventually banned Bill from the production floor for criticizing quality and told him to “shut up and just sell boats”. He didn’t and was soon fired by the board of directors for interfering with production with his clients’ best interests in mind. In 1994 he founded the William E. Munson Company and vowed to put Munson Manufacturing out of business (which he did). Many of his crew followed him to the new company.

The Ultimate Workboat

Back in control of his own company, Bill believed the world needed a standardized line of welded aluminum landing craft. He began to offer stock hull designs, engine packages and outfitting options. The vessels shown on this website are examples of Munson parts and pieces that have been selected and arranged into an overall configuration that suits the customer and satisfies their mission requirements.

Twice the boat

The millennium ushered-in an entirely new concept in landing craft with the Munson PACKCAT Catamaran Landing Craft. This new multi-hull landing craft configuration offered more stability, shallower draft and enhanced maneuverability with heavy loads. Over the years it has proven itself worthy of a prominent place in our arsenal. The patented catamaran design has drawn a lot of attention that has broadened the acceptance of landing craft into new applications.

Quality from start to finish

In 2004 Munson moved into its purpose-built manufacturing facility. This facility was designed and built from the ground up for the production of welded aluminum boats. Overhead bridge cranes aid in the movement of raw materials and projects across the production floor while a CNC router provides down to the millimeter precision on cut parts and radiant floor heating combined with a central Argon gas supply create a stable environment for consistent welds from one welding machine to the next.