Renowned Newport Shipyard Purchases Marine Travelift 500c for Its Celebrated Rhode Island Facility

New Machine Joins Shipyard's Existing Marine Travelift 100 BFM II Mobile Boat Hoist

STURGEON BAY, WI – Marine Travelift Inc. announced today that Newport Shipyard of Newport, Rhode Island, has purchased a 500C mobile boat hoist to replace a 300-ton Marine Travelift hoist the yard purchased in 2000. Scheduled to be installed later this year, the new machine will complement a Marine Travelift 100 BFM II hoist already on site.

Located downtown on Newport Harbor, Newport Shipyard is Newport's oldest working boat- and shipyard facility. With dockage for boats ranging in size from 20 to 350 feet, and host of one of the country’s most celebrated sailboat races, the Newport-Bermuda Race, Newport has been christened "New England's Yachting Hub."

Once it’s installed in June, the 500C will be the largest Marine Travelift mobile boat hoist operating in New England. According to Eli Dana, Newport Shipyard dockmaster, the new machine will handle yachts ranging from 50-foot catamarans to 200-foot megayachts.

"We decided to upgrade to a 500-ton machine because of the added customer demand to haul larger vessels," Dana explained. "We see a growing (number of) superyachts wanting to visit our area, but without the capacity to be hauled for repair work, they go elsewhere." He noted that the yard currently can haul yachts up to 150 feet, but with sailing yachts and motoryachts continuing to grow in size, Newport Shipyard's management recognized a need for a larger hoist. Dana also observed that the new 500C will boast a variety of features designed to enhance yard operations.

To start, the Marine Travelift 500C will incorporate two-speed hoists, which improves efficiency by allowing lifting at approximately twice the standard speed with no load, perfect for high-duty cycles. Next, a zinc-enriched primer will substantially increase the new machine's paint life in challenging weather and saltwater conditions.

The work and drive lights with sound-insulated generator will allow operators to use the lights during emergency nighttime repairs without having to run the engine. The sound suppression package will make communication easier while hauling vessels, and as a bonus, there will be less noise pollution to affect nearby residential areas. And that’s not all.

"The machine's extra height will allow us to haul deep-draft sailing yachts," Dana added, "and the all-wheel electronic steering will help us move vessels around our confined yard."

With Marine Travelift's patented all-wheel electronic steering, each of the hoist's wheels is able to steer, providing superior maneuverability. Operators can maneuver in close quarters, around tight corners and on uneven grades, which means the yard can utilize every square inch of available space.

Five optional steering modes are available. In addition to front- and rear-wheel steering, there is coordinate steering, which permits the hoist to be maneuvered around a pivot point to either side. Then there’s crab mode, in which all wheels turn in the same direction and angle so the hoist can be steered obliquely or traverse sideways; and carousel mode, in which all wheels turn around an axis point at the machine’s center.

"Without the all-wheel electronic steering, the 500C would have been impractical for their yard," said Chad Forman of Martin Walter Company, the New England and New York Marine Travelift dealer based in Norwell, Massachusetts. Forman worked closely with Newport Shipyard on the sale, which was finalized in October of last year, and he will oversee the three- to four-week installation of the new machine later this spring.

The 500C is the fourth Marine Travelift mobile boat hoist that Newport Shipyard has acquired. The renowned yard has been a Marine Travelift customer since the 1980s. Its first purchase was a 70-ton machine, then the yard moved up to the 300-ton.

In 2010, Newport Shipyard purchased the 100 BFM II to handle smaller and midrange race boats, catamarans and cruising boats up to the 90- to 100-foot range, working alongside its 300-ton companion hoist. In particular, the 100 BFM II was intended to manage the world-class, long-keel racing sailboats on the East Coast circuit.

"The 100 BFM II has improved the efficiency of our operations significantly by allowing us to haul the majority of multihulls and racing sailboats (without) having to use the larger 300-ton machine," Dana reported. "The all-wheel steering also has sped up the maneuvering time needed to move boats around our relatively small footprint."

Now that the 300-ton machine has been sold to another facility, the new Marine Travelift 500C will join the 100 BFM II. Together, they’ll continue to improve operational efficiencies at the busy yard, and Marine Travelift and Martin Walter Company will continue to serve as valued partners.

"We worked very closely with Eli Dana and Newport Shipyard on this project," said Jason Johnson, Marine Travelift’s North American sales manager. "We spent engineering time looking at the various yachts that would be hauled. We wanted to ensure the optimal sling length for both power and sail vessels."

Marine Travelift provided an elaborate series of drawings to Newport Shipyard. These gave Dana and his team a good understanding of how much clearance they could expect with a particular yacht in the hoist, how high the sailing vessels could be lifted for keel removal once on land and what spreader-bar length would be ideal for managing Newport customers' vessels and their various hull appendages.

Dana observed that the strength of the partnership is what keeps Newport Shipyard coming back to Marine Travelift. And, he noted, that partnership continues long after delivery.

"We’ve always had responsive service support both from the factory and our local dealer," he said. He also noted that, thanks to Marine Travelift and its state-of-the-art new 500C, the Newport Shipyard staff is eagerly anticipating the summer season, when they finally can welcome large sailboats and megayachts to the yard's storied Newport location.

"This is a very exciting time," Dana said, "not only for Newport Shipyard, but also for the marine industry in Rhode Island."

To learn more about Newport Shipyard and Martin Walter Company, visit and For more information about Marine Travelift and its full range of mobile boat hoists, call (920) 743-6202, e-mail the sales team at or visit

The world's first mobile boat hoist was conceptualized and manufactured in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, in 1945. 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 3,500 units in service worldwide.

Marine Travelift Inc.


Kristen Sommer

49 E. Yew St.

Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235-1976


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