Old 07-24-2020, 02:50 PM
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Default Redneck engineering / boat lifting suggestions needed

Here is the situation, it is what it is and not what I would have done, I would have installed a boat lift, but it’s what I have to work with now. Have a house in the Keys that has 15,000 lb davits and a small aluminum cat I want to launch. The previous owner had a 28’ boat, so the davits are set up and spaced about 30’ apart. Since this is a vacation home that is used by myself for one weekend a month and two stays for one week each during the summer, I am trying to come up with the cheapest, easiest method.

I have an 18’ aluminum cat with a 70 hp on it, weighs less than 1,500 lbs total, so not a huge boat or amount of weight. The house is elevated and I can park the boat/trailer under the house while I’m not there. There is street to water access with plenty of room around the davits to maneuver a trailer. Currently, I have to pull the boat to the nearest ramp (about 10 minutes by road), launch the boat and drive it back to the house and have someone drive the truck/trailer back as it’s a community ramp and no room for parking. Have to repeat to put the boat away, do able, but realistically It takes about an hour to launch or retrieve and I can’t do it by myself.

I would like to be able to use the davits to launch/retrieve the boat from the house and cut out the ramp all together. I have a small Kubota tractor I was getting ready to sell, but it has a 3 point hitch on it and I could leave it down there to easily move the boat around.

Here are my redneck engineering thoughts that I need help with. First, I could pull the boat along side the davits and use them to lift it off the trailer and swing it out over the water, but the boat is only 18’ long and the davits are much further apart than that, so I’m afraid instead of the davits having a straight up and down pull (or close to it) the cables are going to be coming from an angle and possibly putting stresses on the boat it wasn’t designed to handle (pulling forward/backward and up), rather than pulling it more straight up and down.

My first thought was to make a cradle like they use in the dry stacks for cats, basically 25’ or so long aluminum I beams that are connected together that could be lowered into the water, the boat floated over and then the cradle with boat on it lifted up. If I went this route, I would just set the boat and cradle on the ground and that’s where it would stay rather than on the trailer under the house.

My second thought, since there is room to move the boat forward on the trailer so the transom is forward of the rear cross member of the trailer. Pull the trailer under the davits, hook the one davit with the spreader bar to the rear corners of the trailer and hook the other davit to tongue and drop the whole boat/trailer into the water and submerge the trailer deep enough to float the boat and reverse the process for retrieval. Plenty of clearance and depth to do that. Rinse the trailer off and park it back under the house when I leave.

Launching and retrieving from the davits can be done by myself, which should make it quicker and easier since I won’t have the ramp/truck logistics......although my wife is great, when I’m ready, it may be another 10-15 minutes or longer until she is ready or available, which eats up even more time and its not exactly what she wants to be doing.

Any thoughts, ideas or suggestions? Anyone want to volunteer to hold my beer the first time I try it?

Last edited by FinReaper069; 07-24-2020 at 03:00 PM.