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Sailboat Davits: A Comprehensive Guide for Beginners

Are you a sailing enthusiast looking to enhance your sailing experience? Look no further than sailboat davits! Davits are an essential piece of equipment for any sailboat, providing a safe and secure way to lift and store your dinghy or other watercraft when not in use. In this article, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about sailboat davits, including their benefits, types, installation, and maintenance.

What are Sailboat Davits?

Sailboat davits are a type of crane or lifting device designed specifically for sailboats. They are used to raise and lower dinghies, inflatables, or other watercraft from the water to the sailboat’s deck. Davits typically consist of a pair of arms, one fixed and one swinging, that lift and lower a platform or sling to transport your watercraft.

Benefits of Sailboat Davits

Davits offer several benefits to sailors, including:

Convenience: With davits, you can easily lift your dinghy or watercraft in and out of the water, eliminating the need for tedious hand- launched or towing.

Space-saving: Davits take up minimal space on your sailboat’s deck, making them an ideal option for sailors with limited deck space.

Safety: Davits provide a safe and secure way to transport your watercraft, reducing the risk of damage or injury.

Types of Sailboat Davits

There are two main types of sailboat davits: fixed and adjustable.

Fixed Davits
Fixed davits are the most common type of davit system. They consist of two vertical posts and a fixed horizontal arm, which supports the lifting platform. Fixed davits are ideal for smaller sailboats and are typically less expensive than adjustable davits.

Adjustable Davits
Adjustable davits are designed to accommodate various watercraft sizes and weights. They feature a telescoping arm that can be adjusted to fit different lengths and widths of dinghies or inflatables. Adjustable davits are ideal for larger sailboats or those with multiple watercraft.

Installing Sailboat Davits

Installing sailboat davits is a relatively straightforward process, but it’s important to follow proper installation procedures to ensure safe and secure operation. Here are the basic steps:

1. Choose the location: Position the davits on the sailboat’s deck, taking into account the weight and size of your watercraft, as well as the height and location of the lifting mechanism.

2.Mount the base: Attach the base of the davits securely to the sailboat’s deck using appropriate hardware and fittings.

3.Attach the lifting mechanism: Install the lifting mechanism, including the fixed or adjustable arm and the platform or sling, to the base of the davits.

4.Test the system: Before lifting your watercraft, test the davits with a load that approximates the weight of your watercraft to ensure proper operation and safety.

Maintaining Your Sailboat Davits

To ensure your davits operate safely and efficiently, it’s important to maintain them regularly. Here are some maintenance tips:

Inspect the hardware: Regularly check all fittings and hardware for signs of wear or damage, replacing them as needed.

Lubricate moving parts: Lubricate all moving parts, including the swinging arm and any pulleys or blocks, with appropriate lubricants.

Test the system: Regularly test the davits with a load to ensure safe and proper operation.

Troubleshooting Common Issues
Although sailboat davits are reliable, issues can arise. Here are some common problems and solutions:

Stuck or stubborn lifting mechanism: Apply penetrating oil, such as WD-40, to the affected area and work the mechanism back and forth until freed.

Slacking or loose hardware: Tighten all hardware and fittings, and consider replacing worn or corroded components.
Uneven lifting: Make sure the platform or sling is properly centered and that all lifting straps or cables are evenly adjusted.


Sailboat davits are an essential piece of equipment for any sailor looking to enhance their sailing experience. With the right installation, maintenance, and troubleshooting knowledge, you’ll be able to enjoy a safe, convenient, and space-saving way to transport your watercraft. Happy sailing!

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