homemade hoist for boat

I’ve seen hoists for boats, think Harker makes one. I have limited space for my canoe, currently keep it under the house. I have installed hooks in the 2x4’s of the rafters of my open-sided carport,so I can hang it there, but was thinking it would be nice to be able to raise and lower the boat from the top of the car. Seems like it wouldn’t be that hard. Any thoughts?

hoist for boat
I would think that 2 trapeze type handles(made out of closet poles and rope), one on each end, could be lowered from a pulley system from the ceiling joists. Slide them over bow and stern as the canoe is still resting on the car, then pull the ropes and raise it to the ceiling. Use a cleat or rope lock to keep the canoe up at the ceiling. If you can get more than one pulley, you can rig them up so that you don’t have to lift the full weight of the boat.

I use just
two rope loops…no wood, no pulleys. Just slide the boat in each end at a time.

Boat winch.
I have a couple of boat trailer winches in the garage that we use for processing deer. It wouldn’t take a whole lot of thought/effort to make something up to lift a canoe. They were less than $20 each at a sporting goods store.


I used pulley’s
I build my own w/ Pulleys purchased at the hardware store. They specifically say “not for overhead use” because if you let the rope go, it will not ‘brake’ and will come crashing down on your head. I’m thinking of adding some type of crank - perhaps the boat winch mentioned in the other post that would have a breaking mechanism for safety. I got pulleys rated at hundreds of pounds more than I need just to be safe. It works very well and I now store my kayak on top of the canoe and can hoist them both up easily - Canoe is an old town discovery 169 - about 85 lb. and the kayak is a Wildernsess Systems Pamlico 100 - I’m guessing about 45 lb. plus some weight for paddles, pfd’s etc.

Actually - a hoist would be better
and easier - I effectively built my own hoist using pulleys - buying a hoist - as long as the weight rating is high enough, would have been easier.


Some thoughts

– Last Updated: Apr-30-08 10:33 AM EST –

I built my own pulley system with 6 pulleys and 4 hooks in the ceiling of my garage. 2 hooks & 4 pulleys might be enough though (with a minimum of really only 2 pulleys needed, but with 4 it is easier to pull the rope with less friction).

I have to have the boat perpendicular to our cars, basically hanging over the hoods when the cars are parked in the 2-car garage.

I actually ended-up tying the rope in the up position permanently, meaning I do not really use the pulleys! What I do is drive with my kayak on my car's rack into the garage, slide the front of the boat into the right loop, then just rotate the back of the boat and strap the left loop around it while I hold it up on my shoulder. No lowering/lifting required in my case.

If you can park your car under your pulley system, it would be a breeze to just lower the loops, strap them on the boat, then lift up from your car rack.

I use flat belts and belt clips that snap and release very easy. Not sure how durable they are but I think they can safely handle about 50 lb each (the hooks, rope, and pulleys are many times over this, so my weak spot is the belt clips - may need to upgrade to something sturdier if these fail, but so far they seem adequate).

Here’s mine:

– Last Updated: Apr-30-08 11:58 AM EST –


2-1 mechanical advantage.
hoisting rope routed to side of vehicle, cleats to wall.
slide the board under the gunwales and then insert the ends of the rope-Y into the slots in the board.

What I'd do different: route the hoisting ropes so that they terminate at one spot. That way, you could operate both ropes. By myself, I have to raise or lower one end a few feet, cleat it, then raise/lower the other end, cleat it, and repeat about three times. I'd also eliminate the rope-Y and slotted boards in favor of boards with the rope permanently attached. You'd slide the sling onto the boat end, and it would just hang there. Replace the rope-y with a straight rope that has a hook on it. Lower the hook, catch the hook onto the sling, and up you go.


I just use
a pair of tiedown straps attached to the overhead beams, and raise/lower one end at a time.