how to make a dinghy lifting bridle

A dinghy lifting bridle is a useful tool for safely hoisting and storing your dinghy or small boat on a sailboat or yacht. Here’s how to make a dinghy lifting bridle:

Materials You’ll Need:

  1. Marine-Grade Rope: Choose a strong, durable, and marine-grade rope that can bear the weight of your dinghy. Nylon or polyester ropes are commonly used for this purpose.
  2. Thimbles: Two thimbles, which are metal or plastic rings used to reinforce rope eyes and prevent chafing.
  3. Heavy-Duty Shackles: Two heavy-duty marine shackles with a working load limit suitable for your dinghy’s weight.
  4. Measuring Tape: To measure the length of the bridle.
  5. Knife or Rope Cutter: To cut and seal the rope.


  1. Measure the Distance:
    • Determine the distance between the two attachment points on your boat where you intend to attach the lifting bridle. These attachment points are typically found on the bow or stern, often on cleats or padeyes.
  2. Cut the Rope:
    • Cut a length of marine-grade rope that matches the distance you measured, allowing extra length for creating loops and adjusting the bridle. Ensure the rope is long enough to reach the attachment points comfortably.
  3. Create Loops:
    • On each end of the rope, create a loop by doubling the rope back on itself for a few inches and securing it with a knot. Pass the rope through the thimble before making the loop to reinforce it. Make sure the loops are large enough to accommodate the shackles.
  4. Attach Shackles:
    • Thread the shackles through the loops you created and secure them by screwing the pin tightly. Make sure the shackles are properly closed and can withstand the weight of your dinghy.
  5. Adjust for Balance:
    • Position the lifting bridle on your dinghy so that it’s balanced. The attachment points should be located symmetrically to ensure even lifting. If your dinghy has multiple attachment points, use them to maintain balance.
  6. Attach to Boat:
    • Attach one end of the lifting bridle to one attachment point on your boat and the other end to the opposite attachment point. Secure the shackles and make sure they are properly fastened.
  7. Test and Adjust:
    • Before hoisting your dinghy, conduct a test lift to ensure the bridle is correctly positioned and balanced. Adjust the length and positioning of the bridle if needed to achieve proper balance.
  8. Hoist the Dinghy:
    • Using your boat’s halyard or a dedicated lifting system, hoist the dinghy from the lifting bridle. Ensure that the bridle is evenly distributing the weight and that the dinghy is securely suspended.
  9. Secure the Dinghy:
    • Once the dinghy is hoisted to the desired height, secure it in place to prevent it from swinging or moving while underway.
  10. Regular Inspection:
    • Periodically inspect the lifting bridle for wear, fraying, or damage, and replace it if necessary to maintain safety and reliability.

By following these steps, you can create a dinghy lifting bridle that is safe and secure for hoisting and storing your dinghy on your sailboat or yacht. Always prioritize safety and ensure that the bridle is in good condition before use.

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