AskDefine | Define davit

Dictionary Definition

davit n : a crane-like device (usually one of a pair) for suspending or lowering equipment (as a lifeboat)

User Contributed Dictionary




  1. A spar formerly used on board of ships, as a crane to hoist the flukes of the anchor to the top of the bow, without injuring the sides of the ship.
  2. Either of a pair of cast iron cranes, fitted with blocks and tackles and placed along both sides of a ship, from which the lifeboats are slung.



crane to sling a lifeboat
  • Finnish: taavetti
  • German: Davit
  • Korean: 대빗

Extensive Definition

For the name of a person, see David. A davit (dāv'ĭt, dā'vĭt) is a structure, usually made of steel, which is used to lower things over an edge of a long drop off such as lowering a maintenance trapeze down a building or launching a lifeboat over the side of a ship.
The development of the davit from its original "goose neck form" to the current devices advanced greatly when A.P. Schat patented a number of systems in 1926 that allowed the lifeboat to glide over obstructions on a ships hull known as the "Schat Skate". This was followed by a self-braking winch system that allowed the lifeboat to be lowered evenly and then the modern davit was invented.
Davits have always been designed to fit into deck spaces that the naval architects deemed necessary and a variety of designs emerged:
  • GRA - Gravity Roller track davit - usually above promenade decks.
  • SPG - Single pivot gravity davit - for many different deck spaces.
The standard became so common that shipyard specifications call for Schat type davits from whatever source.
Davits can also refer to single mechanical arms with a winch for lowering life rafts and raising spare parts onto a vessel.
Recent developments are based on aft-launched ramps where the lifeboat is ejected, as opposed to being lowered by a winch, into the ocean. Similar systems developed by Schat companies are used on offshore oil/gas rigs placed around the structure.
davit in Czech: Člunový jeřáb
davit in German: Davit
davit in French: Bossoir
davit in Dutch: Davit
davit in Norwegian: Davit
davit in Norwegian Nynorsk: Davit
davit in Swedish: Dävert
davit in Turkish: Davit
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