Fabrication of a lightweight
dinghy motor davit



This project was a quick and easy one. I was not looking for a real heavy duty davit. My Honda 2 HP 4 stroke motor is not that heavy (26 lbs) but it can be awkward to handle when standing in a dinghy that is rocking in a power boat's wake. If you should wish to take on a similar project, you will have to make sure you measure for your particular boat. The arm on mine is 32 inches which reaches from the mounting location to the lifting point directly over the motor's power head and is also long enough to reach out to the center line of the dinghy when it is tied alongside so I can lower the motor directly onto the transom.

Material required:

53 inch length of 1 inch stainless steel tubing ($0.00 from canvas shop scrap pile of old bimini frames)

32 in. length of 1 in. stainless steel tubing ($0.00 from canvas shop scrap pile of old bimini frames)

28 in. length of 1 in. stainless steel tubing ($0.00 from canvas shop scrap pile of old bimini frames)

4 each 1 in. stainless steel eye ends ($4.99 ea. at Boater's World)

3 each 1 in. stainless steel jaw slides ($4.99 ea. at Boater's World)

1/2 in. starboard approximately 3 1/2 in. x 7 1/2 in. ($0.00 on hand from another boat project)

1 pair Helm FHC series 1 in. rail clamps ($12.99 from West Marine)

4:1 tackle for 5/16 in. line ($0.00 on hand)

26 feet 5/16 in. double braid dacron line ($0.00 on hand)

1 each small shackle ($0.00 on hand)

1/4 in. X 1 1/4 in. fastpin ($8.00 West Marine)

Total cost: $55.92

Tools required:

Pipe/tubing cutter

Small flat file

Set of allen wrenches


Phillips and straight slot screwdrivers

Electric drill

1 in. hole saw

Saber saw

I started by cutting the tubing to length from the old bimini frames.

One of the stainless steel jaw slides was attached to the top of the 53 inch tube and a second one was slid onto the 53 inch tube approximately a foot below the top (this one will be adjusted later). A third jaw slide was attached approximately 3 inches from one end of the 32 inch tube

Next I installed a pair of stainless steel eye ends on both ends of the two shorter pieces of tubing

The 32 inch tube was now attached to the top jaw slide on the 53 inch tube and the 28 inch tube was attached to the jaw slide at the outboard end of the 32 inch tube as well as the jaw slide approximately 1 foot down on the 53 inch tube (you will have to slide the jaw slide on the 53 inch tube to get the 32 inch tube at right angles to the 53 inch tube.

I removed the screw from the jaw slide that is one foot from the top and drilled out the threaded hole to accept a 1/4 inch fastpin. The fastpin was then tied to the tubing so it would not end up overboard. This allows the whole unit to fold into 53 inch package that is only about 7 inches around (when secured with a short bungee cord) and stows easily in a cockpit locker.

The 4:1 block and tackle was now shackled to the eye at the end of the 32 inch tube. The davit is now completed and all that remains is to make the mounts.

I fabricated a base mount from two 2 1/2 in. X 3 in. pieces of 1/2 in. starboard. Using a 1 in. hole saw, I cut a hole in the center of one of the pieces. The two pieces were now sandwiched together and drilled for 4 mounting screws. I bolted them together using these 4 holes and then beveled the edges using my belt sander.

Base mount

To support the upright pole, I fabricated one more piece of starboard with a 1 in. hole in it and a pair of Helm rail clamps to attach it the the top rail of the stern pulpit. (Note: on my boat, I also had to drill a 1 in. hole in the port pulpit seat as well.)


Pulpit mount viewed from above


Completed davit installed

You can either fabricate your own motor harness or purchase one off the shelf at your favorite boating store.

This project took approximately 3 hours to complete.


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