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What is a Davit on a Boat? (Definition, Types and More)

Written by J. Harvey / Fact checked by S. Numbers

What is a Davit on a Boat?

Storing and launching inflatable boats, lifeboats, jet skis, and other small boats or dinghies can be challenging. Because of this, pleasure boats use davits to help boaters conveniently lift these recreational devices.

So, what is a davit on a boat? A davit on a boat is a lifting device with arms, ropes, and pulleys. A davit can be manual, electric, or hydraulic.

Davit Definition


A davit is defined as a crane-like device that supports, raises, and lowers equipment such as boats and anchors. Pleasure boats use davits to conveniently hoist recreational items such as inflatables, lifeboats, jet skis, and other equipment.

A davit on a ship or boat can be manual or electric. There are also hydraulic davits that boaters can purchase in the market.

You need to consider a few things if you plan to install a davit on your boat. These things include the boat size and weight, ease of installation, convenience of use, durability, and cost.

Refer to the following tutorial video on how to launch the lifeboat davits.

Types of Davit System for Boat and How They Work


Davit manufacturers came up with many types of davits depending on their functions. Davits can also be classified based on their features.

Check out the different types of boat davits below and their brief description.

1. Swing-up/Snap Davit


A snap davit system is considered the most basic. It is a popular choice for small boats that have a swim platform.

It works by attaching the connecting hardware to the dinghy and the swim platform. The dinghy will be pulled up vertically after securing the dinghy fittings into the swim platform.

2. Single Arm Davit


This type of davit is popularly used for launching and storing rescue boats or rafts. It features a single arm that is responsible for hoisting and lowering the cargo.

This crane-like davit can be manual or electric.

3. Traveler Davit


This type of davit has a more advanced mechanism for lifting and lowering boats or dinghies. It is an automatic davit system.

The traveler davit features two cables that help control the hoisting and lowering of the item.

4. Gravity Davit


A gravity davit is a hinged type of davit that lowers items using gravity fall instead of cables. This davit system can be controlled using a remote or the brake handle of the winch.

5. Sling Davit


Sling davits operate using a sling that the boat rests in. They are commonly used on smaller vessels and are considered the most cost-effective davit system on the market.

The sling davit is installed behind the boat, floating, and waiting for a dinghy to be lifted.

6. Pull-on Davit


A pull-on davit works similarly to how the traveler davit works. The main difference is that this davit uses a cable release system that pulls or pushes the object being hoisted.

7. Hydraulic Gravity Davit


This davit system uses hydraulics to hoist and lower lifeboats. This system is a specialized davit intended for shipboard launching and recovering a lifeboat.

The mechanical system of this davit allows the safe launching of a lifeboat using gravity and hydraulics.

8. Crane Davit


You should be familiar with what a crane looks like. A crane davit features a folding crane that raises and lowers lifeboats. This is a common davit on a ship because it requires bigger space.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the purpose of a davit?

A boat davit helps boaters conveniently store and release recreational items such as jet skis, lifeboats, and dinghies. It can also be used for raising and lowering the boat anchor.

What are the components of a davit?

The components of a davit can vary depending on its type. However, a davit base and a lifting arm are two components in most of the davit systems.


What is a davit on a boat, and why is it important?

A davit system for boats is a tool that provides boaters with convenience during boating adventures. Hoisting and lowering inflatables, jet skis, and dinghies have been made convenient because of boat davits.

It can be an ideal addition to pleasure boats. However, it may not be necessary for regular crafts.

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