Recently, we've come across Qingdau Luhang Marine Airbag and Fender Co., which posits an interesting new way to launch boats - with airbags (as the name suggests). How does it work? Well, it's probably easiest just to show you:
Essentially, this reduces the need for the pre-fabricated boat ramps normally used to launch boats, and opens up new avenues for getting boats on the water. Online publication gCaptain has a pretty good Q&A with the makers of the airbags about the benefits and drawbacks - these can't be used for side launches, for example, so there is some limitation on size of the ship with which these will work well. Still, some of these boats rolling off the airbags are bigger than you might think. It wouldn't be surprising to see this kind of launch used more often in the States in the near future.