Boston Whaler

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Boston Whaler

Founded June 5, 1958
Founder Dick Fisher
Products Fiberglass boats
Parent Brunswick Boat Group

Boston Whaler is an American boat manufacturer. It is a subsidiary of the Brunswick Boat Group, a division of the Brunswick Corporation. Boston Whalers were originally produced in Massachusetts, hence the name, but today are manufactured in Edgewater, Florida.


Richard “Dick” Fisher graduated from Harvard University in 1936. He ran a company building small, lightweight boats out of balsa wood. He designed a rowboat and got the materials to build it, but he never completed it.

In the 1950s, polyurethane foam, a stiff, lightweight, buoyant material, was invented. Fisher imagined it as a replacement for the lightweight balsa used in small boat construction, and in 1954 he constructed a small sailing dinghy filled with the foam, with a design similar to the Sunfish. He showed the finished product to his friend, naval architect C. Raymond Hunt. Hunt recognized potential in the process, however he did not feel the design was particularly suited to sailboats. Instead, he created a design based on the Hickman Sea Sled featuring a cathedral hull.

Fisher built a prototype out of Styrofoam and Epoxy. “It had two keels,” said Fisher, “one inverted V between the runners and an anti-skid, anti-trip chine.” Fisher tested the boat all that summer and thought it was “the greatest thing ever”. That fall, Fisher started running the boat in rough weather, and found that the hull displayed issues with handling and cavitation. Under heavy load, and off-plane, the cavity in the middle of the hull forced air into the water, and then back into the prop. Fisher approached Hickman, the original designer of the wooden Sea Sled for a solution. However, Hickman thought his design needed no modifications. Fisher contemplated putting “some stuff on the bottom to move that airy water out of there.” He used a method of trial and error, laying fiberglass on the bottom of the hull in the morning and running the boat behind his house when the glass cured. If the design did not work, he would bring it back to his house and start over.

This prototype boat began to have a slight V bottom and the two runners on the sides. Fisher then approached Hunt to examine the design changes. Hunt added his own design changes to the prototype; most notably, a third runner in the center of the hull. Fisher then built a prototype based on this new design to serve as a plug for the production mold.

Fisher and Hunt then took the boat on sea trials. One of these tests was to run the 13-foot (4.0 m) boat from Cohasset, Massachusetts to New Bedford and back, which is roughly 120 miles (190 km). During these sea trials, Fisher found another small flaw in the boats design: it was “wetter than hell.” “A lot wetter,” he said, “than the other boat had been.” The reason for this, according to him, was the 9-inch-wide (23 cm) sole throwing spray into the boat.[1] Since the mold was already made, it was modified by adding to the flat center between the three chines, turning it into a V-shape. In 1956, this design became the original Boston Whaler 13.

In 1958, boats made by the Fisher-Pierce manufacturing company were first marketed and sold under the brand name Boston Whaler. The boat was very stable and had great carrying capacity. These two features, along with great performance and rough weather handling made it very desirable. Also since the Whaler was so light in weight compared to the other boats at the time, it could be propelled by lower horsepower engines.[2] Thru the late 1980s, the classic 13 ft 4 in (4.06 m) Whaler, and the 16 ft 7 in (5.05 m) Montauk were the most popular models in terms of sales. Gradually though the company moved away from these designs to a more conventional deep-vee hull, and after 1996 no more of the classic tri-hull boats were manufactured.

In 1969 the Boston Whaler boat operation of Fisher-Pierce was sold to the CML Group, whose portfolio would eventually include brands such as NordicTrack and The Nature Company. In 1989, amidst financial problems, the CML Group sold Boston Whaler to the Reebok Corporation, where, despite several advertising campaigns and new hull designs, it did relatively poorly, and was sold to Meridian Sports in 1994. Two years later in 1996 Brunswick Corporation purchased Boston Whaler for $27.4 million in cash and debt.


While Boston Whalers are primarily seen[where?][by whom?] as recreational boats, Brunswick Boats maintains a commercial division that sells Boston Whalers to coast guard and naval units worldwide. Boston Whalers were used in the Vietnam War by both the Navy SEALs and the United States Coast Guard in rescue and river patrol missions.[3]

Current models[edit]

Current production models range in length from 11.3 to 42.5 feet (3.4 to 13.0 meters). Brunswick also owns Mercury Marine; as a result, new Boston Whalers, like all other Brunswick boats, ship from the factory already equipped with Mercury engines. Models include:

Name Length Layout Min HP Max HP
Tender 11.3 feet (3.4 m) Skiff 5 15
Sport <11.3 feet (3.4 m) Skiff 5 25
Super Sport 13 feet (4.0 m) Skiff 25 40
Super Sport 16 feet (4.9 m) Skiff 75 90
Montauk 15.4 feet (4.7 m) Center Console 40 60
Montauk 17.3 feet (5.3 m) Center Console 90 115
Montauk 19.3 feet (5.9 m) Center Console 115 150
Montauk 21.3 feet (6.5 m) Center Console 150 200
Dauntless 17 feet (5.2 m) Center Console 90 115
Dauntless 18 feet (5.5 m) Center Console 135 150
Dauntless 21 feet (6.4 m) Center Console 150 200
Dauntless 24.6 feet (7.5 m) Center Console 250 350
Dauntless 27.8 feet (8.5 m) Center Console 350 600
Outrage 18.8 feet (5.7 m) Center Console 115 200
Outrage 23 feet (7.0 m) Center Console 250 350
Outrage 25.4 feet (7.7 m) Center Console 350 450
Outrage 28 feet (8.5 m) Center Console 500 800
Outrage 33 feet (10 m) Center Console 500 800
Outrage 35.7 feet (10.9 m) Center Console 750 1,200
Outrage 38 feet (12 m) Cuddy Cabin 900 1,600
Outrage 42.5 feet (13.0 m) Cuddy Cabin 1,200 1,675
Vantage 23 feet (7.0 m) Center Console 250 350
Vantage 28 feet (8.5 m) Center Console 400 600
Vantage 33.5 feet (10.2 m) Cuddy Cabin 500 800
Conquest 27.8 feet (8.5 m) Cuddy Cabin 450 500
Conquest 32.2 feet (9.8 m) Cuddy Cabin 600 800
Conquest 36 feet (11 m) Cuddy Cabin 750 1,200
Conquest 41.3 feet (12.6 m) Cuddy Cabin 1,200 1,600
Realm 35.5 feet (10.8 m) Cuddy Cabin 750 1,200
Realm 38 feet (12 m) Cuddy Cabin 1,200 1,600
Name Based On Length Layout Min HP Max HP Status
Guardian Montauk 15 feet (4.6 m) Center Console 40 60 defunct
Guardian Montauk 17 feet (5.2 m) Center Console 80 100 defunct
Guardian Outrage 18 feet (5.5 m) Center Console 90 200 defunct
Guardian Outrage 19 feet (5.8 m) Center Console 115 200 defunct
Guardian Outrage 21.3 feet (6.5 m) Center Console 85 240 current
Guardian Outrage 25.6 feet (7.8 m) Center Console 115 300 current
Guardian Outrage 27 feet (8.2 m) Center Console 300 600 defunct
Justice Conquest 20 feet (6.1 m) Center Console 135 250 defunct
Justice Conquest 25.41 feet (7.74 m) Center Console 200 400 current
Justice Conquest 28.41 feet (8.66 m) Center Console 400 500 current
Justice Conquest 32 feet (9.8 m) Center Console 400 600 defunct
Justice Conquest 37 feet (11 m) Center Console 750 900 defunct
Challenger Conquest 27 feet (8.2 m) Cuddy Cabin 300 600 defunct
Challenger Conquest 35 feet (11 m) Cuddy Cabin 300 600 defunct
Vigilant Conquest 27 feet (8.2 m) Cuddy Cabin 400 450 defunct
Protector Impact 25 feet (7.6 m) Center Console 450 current
Protector Impact 30.3 feet (9.2 m) Center Console 900 current

Advertising and unsinkability claim[edit]

Boston Whaler has, for many years, sawn boats in half to illustrate their durability, performance, smooth ride and “unsinkability”. The original 1961 Life magazine ad pictured Dick Fisher sitting in a floating 13-foot (4.0 m) Whaler with a crosscut saw halfway through the hull.[5] After the cut was completed, Fisher used the stern section to tow the bow section back to shore. Modern Whaler advertising uses a chain saw. Due to the foam core construction, the Whaler will remain afloat when sawed completely in half.[6] Boston Whaler boats also remain afloat when completely swamped (full of water). Because of these attributes, Boston Whaler’s trademarked sales line is “the unsinkable legend.”

Today, this “unsinkable” attribute is not exclusive to Boston Whalers. All motorboats (and certain other boat types) under 20 feet (6.1 m), manufactured for sale in the United States are required by law to have positive flotation, such that a completely swamped boat will still float.[7] This is accomplished through the use of closed cell foam, or other non-permeable material. Boston Whaler, however, does claim to exceed the Coast Guard requirements.[8]

See also[edit]




  1. ^ Matthew D. Plunkett (1 September 2017). Unsinkable: The History of Boston Whaler. Motorbooks. p. 18. ISBN 978-0-7603-6000-2.
  2. ^ “continuous Wave: Whaler (Boston Whaler)”. Retrieved 2011-08-04.
  3. ^ “Patrol Craft Sold for Export”. Archived from the original on 2006-05-09. Retrieved 2006-06-24.
  4. ^ “Boston Whaler Guardian – Durable & Reliable Watercraft”. Brunswick Commercial & Government Products. Retrieved 2022-08-14.
  5. ^ Hebert, Jim (February 2000). “Original Design and Conception of the 13-foot (4.0 m) Whaler Hull”. Retrieved 2006-06-09.
  6. ^ “Boston Whaler Was Always Ahead of Its Time”. Retrieved 2014-08-10.
  7. ^ “Boatbuilder’s Handbook — Flotation”. U.S. Coast Guard. Archived from the original on 2006-09-09. Retrieved 2006-09-19.
  8. ^ “Boston Whaler”. Boston Whaler, Inc. Archived from the original on 2009-03-18. Retrieved 2007-06-24.

External links[edit]

  • Official website
  • Innovators in Boating – Richard ‘Dick’ Fisher & Boston Whaler

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