Wisconsin boat hoist system still thrives in modern agePosted on
The Burnt Rollways Boat Hoist operators who move boats between Wisconsin’s Eagle River Chain of Lakes and the Three Lakes Chain — a difference in elevation of about 8 feet — have been performing this service for more than a century.
Retired construction engineer Frank Greb, 80, admits that his job as a hoist operator is very simple. All it takes is a flick of his right index finger to move pontoon boats, runabouts, personal watercraft, performance ski boats and wooden Chris-Crafts. They’re lifted high in the air and gently set down in cool, iced tea-colored water.
The hoist uses an electric gantry system that runs on a 165-foot-long trestleway — the only such device moving boats in Wisconsin waterways and most likely the country. Locks and dams are most often used to traverse different elevations.