For several decades, Munson Boats, Burlington, Wash., has been specializing in the design and construction of aluminum landing craft. With both monohull and catamaran hulls, the boats have bow ramps and open foredecks for carrying cargo and passengers. One of the many uses of this design is for firefighting and emergency response. 

“The bow ramp can be used for beaching and attacking land fires,” said Jesse Munson, company vice president. “It’s also good for disembarking personnel and bringing injured people on board. And when out in the water, the ramp can be used as a recovery platform and a dive platform.”

The Vancouver (Wash.) Fire Department appreciates the concept and took delivery recently of a new 46'×16' Munson landing craft. The monohull is powered by twin Scania DI13-77M diesels, each rated at 750 hp, driving twin HamiltonJet 364 thrusters. Top speed is just north of 32 knots, which is important given the necessity to respond to emergencies on the Columbia River between Astoria and Lewiston, Idaho.

“It’s the biggest, most powerful fireboat we've done,” said Munson.

The power also includes a dedicated pump engine, a 425-hp Cummins QSB6.7 that turns a Hale 80FCG 2,500-gpm pump that supplies water to eight hose hydrants and three monitors, two 1,200-gpm port and starboard and one 2,200-gpm on the cabin roof.

“We went with a stand-alone fire pump engine because we all agreed that it’s better to have full power to the jets to handle the boat while being pushed around by the fire monitors as well as the currents in the river,” said Munson. “It’s more expensive, it adds weight and complexity, but when they need to use it, they still have everything they had before to control the boat.” 

The engine room also contains a 9-kW Onan 9MDKBK genset.

The walk-around cabin is outfitted with HVAC, sky-view windows, workstations, storage cabinets, a refrigerator and an aft head compartment. Electronics include three Furuno multifunction displays for radar, AIS, GPS, satellite compass and sounder. A Voyager III FLIR camera is mounted on the radar arch.

The new Vancouver fire/rescue boat is also equipped with a MaxiLift ANT M-350 crane with a 4,290-lb. capacity, which can be used for handling hoses, oil boom and even sinking boats.

— Bruce Buls