HydroHoist Marine Group marks 50th anniversary

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Boat-lift manufacturer HydroHoist Marine Group is celebrating its 50th year in business.

“We are proud of the legacy of quality boat lift manufacturing that has made Hydro-Hoist a household name throughout the boating community — in the United States and internationally,” CEO Mick Webber said in a statement.

HydroHoist said the company was launched when marina owner Henry Rutter invented the first hydro-pneumatic boat lift at Grand Lake in northeastern Oklahoma. He obtained a patent and called his invention HydroHoist.

“Initially the need for the HydroHoist boat lift was created because of a restriction for land space for boat storage,” Webber said. “Boat owners were demanding convenience and immediacy of use, and Rutter’s boat lift system offered dry storage in the water for a price comparable to land space. Remarkably, some of the original hoists are still in use.”

Rutter found that the traditional winching method used at his marina was impractical on floating docks because they could not support the extra weight of the winch. He intended to build a quick, economical system that displaced the water by air and formed a free-floating lift. His first lift mechanism consisted of inverted fiberglass tubs and a used vacuum cleaner motor that blew air in the inverted tubs, forcing the water out and raising the boat and lift above the surface of the water.

Once word of Rutter’s invention became known, demand from boat owners increased, first in northeastern Oklahoma and then throughout the Midwest. By 1971 he had sold his marina and moved the company into an old World War II munitions plant in Claremore, Okla., where the corporate office still remains today.

During the 1970s and 1980s the industry expanded to meet consumer demand to hoist a number of different vessels — from personal watercraft to lake cruisers, houseboats, sea planes, submarines, Coast Guard cutters and other military boats.

HydroHoist makes and sells lifts ranging from 900-pound drive-on docking platforms for PWCs to lifts that will accommodate 130,000-pound watercraft. HydroHoist has grown to serve a worldwide marketplace in all aspects of pleasure craft, service boats, PWC and other floating vessels.

“HydroHoist offers a superior product, exacting craftsmanship and commitment to customer satisfaction, which includes the strongest warranty in the business,” Webber said.

Today HydroHoist has five distribution warehouses located throughout the United States — in California, Oklahoma, Texas, Missouri and Tennessee — and a network of more than 600 dealers.