Roll, Roll, Roll Your Boat

Feb 4, 2003

(CODEN, Ala.)—Barnhart Crane and Rigging Co., a leading provider of heavy rigging and transportation solutions, has worked in many fields and lifted and/or set an amazing variety of components, from transformers and generators to windmills, from nuclear reactors to church steeples, but a recent job qualified as a little unusual: the company was hired to roll a boat.

Specifically, Barnhart Crane was retained to lift and set components that will be used to construct a crewboat used in the offshore industry. Master Boat Builders Inc. of Coden, Ala., called on Barnhart to provide the know-how and the brawn to roll three components, the heaviest of which weighed 320 tons. A fourth component, which weighed approximately 130 tons, was then set in place.

“Master Boat Builders constructs the sections of their crewboats upside down on a jig, but they can’t weld the pieces together until they’re right side up,” said Shaun Sipe, branch manager of Barnhart Crane and Rigging’s Gulf Coast Division, with offices in Theodore, Ala.

Barnhart used two Demag cranes, a CC2600 600-ton crane and a CC 2000 330-ton crane, to “bookend” each of the three sections of the boat. “We used simple rigging on the ends. We picked up a side then tracked and swung, like you would a door, using the ground as the hinge,” Sipe explained.

The bow section of the boat weighed 100 tons, while both the mid section and the
stern section weighed 320 tons. Barnhart personnel lifted each of the three sections in turn from the jig, rolled them over and then set the pieces on piers, where they will be welded together. A fourth component, the folsom deck, was then lifted and set in place on top of the hull components. In previous jobs for the boatbuilder, once the sections have been assembled into a complete boat, a crew from Barnhart Crane typically returned to lift the boat and set it in the water for launching. In this case, the components were set on a skid, allowing the manufacturer to launch the vessel without Barnhart’s assistance. The company has rolled more than a dozen boats for Master Boat Builders in the last two years.

Barnhart Crane & Rigging, established in 1969, is a leading national supplier of specialized heavy rigging and transportation solutions. The company, with 14 locations across the United States, also provides crane services, machinery moving and plant relocations, as well as project cargo logistics and heavy equipment storage at its 100-acre, 700,000-square-foot warehouse facility in Memphis, Tenn.

Barnhart Crane & Rigging, an ISO 9001 certified supplier, also operates terminal facilities at the Port of Memphis; Decatur, Ala.; and the deepwater Port of Mobile, Ala. For more information, visit

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