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STURGEON BAY – After months of design, manufacturing, and rigorous factory testing, Marine Travelift has announced the availability of a “Variable Width” option for their lineup of Mobile Boat Hoists. This revolutionary customization option is available on both the BFMII and C-Series Mobile Boat Hoist machines and will better allow marinas and shipyards around the globe to safely and efficiently optimize space for service and storage.

The First Variable Width Machine

The first Marine Travelift model with the Variable Width option is a 75BFMII (75 metric ton lifting
capacity) and was delivered to The Marine Group Boat Works’ San Jose del Cabo location in March. This
model offers nine feet of width variability and can seamlessly expand and retract under full load in 60

The most important benefit this option will offer is the opportunity to block vessels closer together in
order to maximize space previously unavailable because of overall width dimensions on a standard fixed
width boat hoist. This means marinas and service yards can maximize valuable service and storage space
to serve more customers within their existing footprint.

“The variable width machine allows us to utilize otherwise lost space with a traditional boat hoist”, said
Pete Horner, General Manager at the Los Cabos yard. He also added, “It’s a two‐fold solution for us as
we can continue to grow our business in the same physical footprint and work on more boats at the
same time, ultimately limiting customer downtime and maximizing profitability.”

Variable Width Marine Travelift

Additional Benefits of Variable Width

The Variable width option can also provide the ability to move vessels through a doorway that was previously not an option with the width of a standard machine sized to fit piers. This would eliminate the need to double handle vessels when moving them in and out of the building. The design allows for handling a wider range of vessels, providing marinas and yards more flexibility to grow into different markets.

Whether an operator is storing boats indoors for the winter or wanting more space for hurricane storage, the width variation gives them the ability to fit more vessels in the same footprint without the use of yard trailers. This allows the yard to reduce equipment and also makes the operation more efficient when time is of the essence.

“The Variable Width Option provides the ability to handle a wider variety of hulls and without any major infrastructure changes. With the ability to vary the Boat Hoist width, you can not only lift wide vessels such as catamarans, but narrower mono hulls as well without exceeding recommended sling angles.” – Kurt Minten, Executive Vice President, Marine Travelift

About the Variable Width Option

This new option is powered by a hydraulic ram, housed within the telescoping top beam, and is assisted by Marine Travelift’s Patented All-Wheel electronic steering option. These two components are also teamed with a control loop system that includes angle sensors, a distance sensor, and wheel encoder to keep the machine square and ensure safe expansion and retraction throughout the full range of variability.

The Extension and Retraction functions can occur on either side of the machine for flexibility and maximum maneuverability. It is also designed to handle full load across the entire width spectrum and can stop anywhere within the full range of variability, with or without a vessel in the slings.

Variable Width Marine Travelift

“This machine combines many familiar systems that we have successfully developed and refined over the years: the Patented All-Wheel Electronic Steering system we’ve been using on Marine Travelift Mobile Boat Hoists and Shuttlelift Mobile Gantry Cranes, sensors/safety systems like the linear transducer and angle sensor have been utilized on our Hydro M_Drive Marina Forklifts, and the knowledge we’ve gained from building Hydraulic Transporters with a Variable Width option. We combined these to create a well-designed system that is not only efficient, but also safe – for the operator, the vessel, and the machine itself.” – Bob Johnston, Director of Customer Care, Marine Travelift.

Rigorous Factory Testing

Design goals for this Variable Width Option included Safety, Performance (speed/efficiency), and Functionality. To be certain that this option reached all three goals, Marine Travelift teams performed months of rigorous factory testing that included countless hours of use both with and without maximum load, on different grades, and a mock-up of the end user’s existing pier infrastructure.

Personnel from Marine Travelift’s in-house engineering team, Customer Care Field Service Technicians, Executive Sales, and Assembly Shop Experts all worked together closely with the team at Marine Group Boat Works to be sure all parameters were met and the machine would provide all the benefits they were counting on.


Variable Width Marine Travelift

Making the machine easy to maintain for the customer is a key feature so serviceability was considered at every stage of the design and engineering process. Strategically placed access holes are included to be able to easily get at the hydraulic ram and it rides on tracks inside the top beam so when disconnected it can simply be rolled out for any needed service/repair. In addition, the Expand and Retract functions operate on a greaseless system using high performance composite pads instead of a lubricant that could potentially contaminate the vessel or environment below. These pads are accessible from the exterior of the beam and have a high precision clearance, to ensure no change in the machine’s geometry while Expand and Retract functions are engaged.

The Variable Width option is available on all capacity boat hoists offered by Marine Travelift, and there are already orders in place for 35, 50 and 150 metric ton models which are all scheduled to deliver in 2023.


Officially established in 1954, Marine Travelift Inc. has a long-standing reputation as a marine industry leader and is recognized for its tradition of excellence on a global scale. The company manufactures mobile boat hoists, marine forklifts, self-propelled transporters, and other related marine lifting products. It also has an extensive U.S. and international dealer network, with more than 4,500 units in service worldwide.