World’s largest capacity Travelift

If I were given the task of choosing “The Seven Maritime Wonders of the World,” I would include the new 1,000-ton Marine Travelift recently installed at Colonna’s Shipyard.

As ubiquitous as church steeples in New England towns, every marina has some version of the generic lift. But this one is the king of the Travelifts. Soaring above the waterfront, it is visible from across the Elizabeth River in downtown Norfolk, Va.

Colonna’s took delivery of the world’s largest-capacity Marine Travelift in April after completing a $10 million major expansion of its West Yard. The expansion included a state-of-the-art water treatment plant and nine work stations, as well as two heavy-duty piers to accommodate the Travelift that weighs 400 tons. The “new” 10-acre West Yard facility can now handle the simultaneous repair of up to 15 vessels.

Built at Marine Travelift’s yard in Sturgeon Bay, Wis., the unit arrived on 39 tractor-trailers. It has 16 tires and each pair of tires can be steered independently. It has an inside clear height of 55′ and a 58’2″ clearance between the 16 nylon slings. It is powered by a John Deere 6135HF-Tier 3 diesel rated at 600 hp at 2,100 rpm. Rated to pick up 1,000 metric tons, this makes it the largest capacity boat lift in the world, according to Colonna’s. Second place goes to Italy, where a 900-metric-ton lift operates.

Since April, 45 vessels have been hauled in the West Yard. So far, Colonna’s is happy with the new lift, which was partially funded through a Maritime Administration Assistance to Small Shipyards Program grant. “It resolves scheduling problems for us, particularly for emergency repairs,” said Richard Sobocinski, a vice president at Colonna’s. 

Before, if a vessel needed to be hauled, Sobocinski said there would sometimes be a wait for one of the drydocks to open. “Now we can say, ‘Bring it in’ and we will have it out of the water within hours.”

About the author

Kathy Bergren Smith

Kathy Bergren Smith has been a correspondent with WorkBoat since 2002. She is also a writer and photographer for the Port of Baltimore Magazine covering shipping and port activities. Smith, also a noted commercial and fine art photographer, resides in Annapolis, Md.

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