Submitted: 07-28-2011 by ZachE
There are many models of Harken Hoisters to choose from. The model 7802 that I purchased is rated to lift 25 to 90 pounds with a 4:1 mechanical advantage. If you forgot your high-school physics, a 4:1 mechanical advantage means that you are lifting 1/4 of the weight of your boat when you use the Harken Hoister. This model provides a maximum 10-foot lift. There are other models with longer ropes and with different weight ratings.
The hardware and ropes that come with this product are top quality. You raise and lower your boat by pulling on only one rope. The hoister has an automatic brake that stops the boat from falling if you let go of the rope.
To get the full 10-foot lift with this product, you must have 10-feet of space in front of the ceiling-mounted "rope organizer". Make sure that you can meet all of the installation requirements before buying. You can call Harken customer service or download the instruction manual if you have any questions.
If you cannot meet the installation requirements to get the full 10-foot lift, you have the option to lower your boat onto saw horses or tripods (not included). Under very specific circumstances, you could raise/lower the boat directly from your car. But that would depend on a number of factors, including the size of your boat and garage and the height of your garage door. If you drive a SUV or minivan, you probably cannot fit under your garage door with a boat on your roof.
You can find cheaper hoisting products, but they may have the following problems:
No matter what type of overhead hoisting product you use, I recommend installing independent safety lines. By independent, I mean not sharing any attachment points with the primary hoisting product. Even the Harken Hoister's brake cannot stop a boat from crashing to the floor if a screw eye comes loose from the ceiling. Since you are not lifting any weight with the safety lines, they do not need a complicated pulley system. The safety lines can be run through simple screw-eyes.
- Use cheap rope that you will need to replace;
- Requiring pulling on two ropes simultaneously to raise/lower your boat;
- Not have an automatic brake;
- Use only two attachment points on the ceiling and consequently not raise your boat high enough to walk under it.