The Link-Belt crane hoisting the U.S. Coast Guard’s marine science vessel up out of the water for maintenance.
The U.S. Coast Guard Academy, which has its own harbor with a fleet of both sailboats, motorized boats and the U.S. Coast Guard competition-ready sailing yacht, purchased a new Link-Belt RTC8065 Series II 65-ton (59 t) telescopic boom rough-terrain crane from Wood's CRW. The crane features 115 ft. (35 m) of boom, two drums, block and ball, a flat deck design and safety reels.
This crane was purchased specifically to lift each Coast Guard vessel out of the water either for periodic maintenance or for winter storage. The crane was delivered in January 2013 and replaced an aging P & H crane, which had been in service for more than 20 years.
Some of these vessels are very challenging to move.
There are sailboats as long as 44-ft. (13.4 m) that have a 9.5-ft. (2.9 m) keel, masts that are approximately 70 ft. (21 m) in height and can weigh up to 27,000 lbs. (12,247 kg). Some of the smaller boats range down to 32 ft. (9.7 m) in length and weigh as little as 9,000 lbs. (4,082 kg).
The crew that maintains and operates the harbor are responsible for approximately 40 boats. Most of the time these boats are simply being lifted up out of the water and swung out over a dock area where maintenance can be performed. But at least once a year, each boat must be picked and carried 100 to 200 ft. (30.5 to 61 m) to be placed in winter storage.
"The pick and carry capability of the Link-Belt was one of the most important features the Coast Guard Academy had for buying requirements," said Marc Varricchione of Wood's CRW.
The Link-Belt RTC8065 Series II is ideal for the crew at the academy's harbor. When lifting boats up out of the water, the outriggers are put in place to make the pick feasible and if the boat needs to be transported, the rubber-tired feature of the crane comes into play for transportation. One of the biggest appeals that the academy had for this particular Link-Belt rough-terrain crane was its size and turning radius. There is very little space between the edge of the dock that the crane works from to pick up the boats and a maintenance building that sits less than 100 ft. from the edge of the dock. This makes maneuverability an important necessity to the crane.
The Link-Belt is equipped with all-wheel steer, which gives the crane maximum steering ability in a minimum amount of space. It can almost turn 360 degrees in its own footprint.
According to Jim Hartley, one of the crane operators, "This crane does a very nice job fitting our needs. Its maneuverability far exceeds what I had to work with previously. It has a turning radius of only 24 feet. The controls are set up in a way that really gives me a sense of confidence while operating the crane. From a selfish viewpoint, I really love the cab. Starting with the dramatically improved visibility; it has a curved glass windshield. Basically, the windshield and ceiling of the cab are made of one continuous piece of glass. So there is nothing there to block your view. Also, the cab features air conditioning, which our old crane certainly did not have."
According to Allen Kruger, waterfront director, "As a team we are extremely pleased with this machine. When we decided to make the purchase the operators and staff spec'd out exactly what they were looking for to best suit their needs and this Link-Belt is certainly meeting all of that criteria. Wood's CRW has worked closely with us throughout the entire process, even providing us with a crane on a short term basis, between the time when our old crane was taken out of commission and the new crane being delivered. Marc Varricchione, our representative with Wood's CRW, the dealership that sold the machine to us, has made sure that everything has gone very smoothly; delivery, setup, training of our people, and basically making sure that all of our needs have been satisfied."