MOUNT DESERT — A new 50-ton Marine Travelift boat hoist will soon be on its way to the Hall Quarry home of John Williams Boat Company, service manager Jaime Weir said Monday.
Travelift hoists are a familiar sight at boatyards. Heavy-duty slings hang from the large frame. A boat maneuvers over the slings, the hoist lifts the boat clear of ground level, and the hoist moves the boat around the yard. The distance between the two slings is fully adjustable to achieve a balanced lift and avoid sensitive areas of a boat’s hull. Two-wheel 90-degree steering and two-speed drive are standard on current Travelift models.
When the Sturgeon Bay, Wis., manufacturers of the hoists say their products have “proven durability for decades of reliability,” they have some good evidence. More than 3,500 hoists are currently in operation worldwide, according to company materials, in a full range up to 1,200-ton capacity.
The existing machine at JW was the first of its kind on Mount Desert Island when it arrived in 1973. With regular maintenance, it keeps chugging along. It will remain at the yard as a backup, Weir said. “It doesn’t owe us anything.”
The new hoist is a 50-ton BFMII model, scheduled to be delivered in the first week of May. Abel’s and Morris Yachts have similar models currently in use, Weir said. “Bumping up to 50-ton will increase our capacity for launching and hauling. This model is able to be operated from a remote control. The ability to walk around the boat and check things increases safety.”
Looking a few years ahead, Weir said, the yard also hopes to build a slip where they use the lift farther out into Somes Sound. “We have plenty of water here,” he said, “so building a little further out would let us haul and launch on any tide.” That would have major advantages both for emergency hauling, which is often needed for transient customers in the summer, and for regular operations.