How to Choose Hoists & Cranes for Offshore Applications

How to Choose Hoists & Cranes for Offshore Applications

Proper selection and specification of hoists, cranes and rigging hardware is always essential to safe overhead lifting, but in no environment is this more critical than on offshore oil and gas facilities.

In offshore oil and gas applications, there is a higher potential for flammable gases to be present. Therefore it is extremely important that proper safety precautions are taken to protect workers aboard these vessels and prevent equipment damage. It is important that the individuals responsible for specifying and purchasing material handling equipment for use in these environments can properly identify any hazardous locations or areas per the U.S. National Electric Code (NFPA 70), IEC Standard 60079, and other applicable local, national and international standards to ensure compliance with these regulations and safe operation. Additionally, the use of mechanically spark-resistant materials should be strongly considered, although these materials are not specifically addressed within many of the referenced standards.

In the absence of a definitive industry standard specifying what constitutes spark-resistant construction for hoists and cranes, it is frequently left to the knowledge and discretion of the seller to determine what materials will be used unless the purchaser designates specific requirements. If not clearly defined in the bid specification, the product and spark-resistant features provided often depend on the sourcing channels utilized by the end user.

Columbus McKinnon manufactures many products specifically designed for applications that require spark-resistant features. Our diverse, made in-America portfolio of hoists and trolleys are built to suit, rather than a mass produced “one size fits all” approach. Many of the products lend themselves to modification and substitution of materials that allows us to configure our hoists and trolleys to the specific application.

  • Chester Hoist products utilize solid spark-resistant materials such as bronze hooks, trolley wheels and brake ratchets as well as stainless steel load chain, hand chain and hook latches. In some cases it is necessary to use nickel-diffused chains or copper-plated hooks due to headroom constraints or to reduce costs for equipment that will be used infrequently or in temporary applications. In these cases, Chester also can provide plated components to reduce costs. For equipment that is relied on heavily and is required to maintain spark and corrosion-resistant qualities for the life of the equipment, we actively promote the lasting protection of solid spark and corrosion-resistant materials rather than plated components. 
Explosion Proof Cable King Hoist
Explosion Proof Global King Hoist



  • Yale Cable King wire rope hoists can be supplied in a wide range of capacities, lifting speeds and configurations with both spark and explosion resistance. The Cable King is  available in a spark-resistant pneumatic model and an explosion-proof electric model, for Class 1, Division 1 or 2, Group C & D; and Class 2, Division 1 or 2, Group E, F & G.

Special consideration should also be given to the environmental conditions at the work site, including temperature extremes, humidity, corrosive atmospheres and the potential for dynamic loading due to vessel motion. Special materials, testing, material certifications and design modifications may be required to ensure safe operation and minimal down time of lifting equipment. Additional factors such as headroom clearance, end approach, frequency of use and the availability of utilities (electricity, compressed air) must also be considered.

Reading and understanding applicable safety standards and consulting with experienced and reputable manufacturers are two important steps in ensuring operator and facility safety when selecting hoists, cranes and rigging hardware for offshore applications.

Interested in learning more about Explosion Proof vs. Spark Resistant Hoists?
Check out our recent Safety Webinar.

Columbus McKinnon is a leading designer and manufacturer of hoists, cranes and rigging hardware for offshore environments. With a long history in the industry, we have years of experience working on offshore applications, their unique challenges  and specifying the best products suited to harsh environments. Our Chester and Yale products have been used in these applications for decades and are relied on by end users around the world.

Joe Runyon

Joe Runyon is a Vertical Market Specialist for Oil & Gas at Columbus McKinnon Corporation.

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12 Replies to “How to Choose Hoists & Cranes for Offshore Applications”

  1. Eliza,
    I am so glad to hear you say that the information I provided was helpful to you. Helping readers make informed decisions is the reason why I write. I must say that you may be the first person to ask me to recommend materials for low humidity. Nearly all common materials of construction for cranes and hoists will perform well in dry environments. You make no mention of an extreme ambient temperature or any abrasive or corrosive agents that may be present. So, assuming there are none I will tell you that, generally speaking, when selecting materials for these low humidity environments we can focus on strength, durability and suitability for any inherent hazards (explosion proof/spark resistant, etc.) Please feel free to contact me if you have other questions on this subject.


  2. I agree that “proper selection and specification of hoists, cranes and rigging hardware is always essential to safe overhead lifting.” I’m trying to choose some new lifting equipment, and this guide was really helpful for me. I’ll be sure to take into account the environmental conditions as I make my choice. What material would be best for low humidity?

  3. Hello Erin,
    Thank you very much for reaching out to us. You can contact me at I look forward to sharing more about Columbus McKinnon’s capabilities for offshore projects.
    All the best,

  4. Hi Joe,

    I read your blog and I’m interested to have more information about CM works’s capability for offshore projects. I’d like to discuss and inquire about the offshore material handling projects that we handle. If you can please send me an email, we can start the discussion.

    Thank you!

  5. Hello Lee,
    We appreciate your comment and request for additional information.I don’t believe that I could adequately answer your question in a blog comment. This is a complex question which would be better answered in the form of a dialogue. I will send you an email so that we can start the discussion. Thanks again for your interest and please look for an email from me soon.


  6. Thanks for the info. Do you mind covering a little bit on what are the types of offshore cranes available on the market? I was wondering how many types of offshore crane there is and how to do the selection for offshore applications.

  7. Hello Lisa,
    Thank you for your comment. Here is the comparison that you requested of our wire rope hoist models:

    1/2 thru 35 ton capacity hoist built to ASME specifications.
    H4 duty rated. Many models are available covering a large lift spectrum. Highly engineered product. 1-speed hoist and 1-speed trolley as standard with options for 2-speed and VFD.

    1 thru 20 ton capacity hoist built to the globally recognized FEM standards. Most models are 2m rated (H4 equivalent), some are 3m rated (H4+ equivalent). Lift options of 25′, 40′ and 60′ on most models. More economical than the Cable King. 2-speed hoist and 2-speed trolley as standard. Options for VFD.

    To purchase one of these hoists, please contact our Sales Manager for your region, Joshua Loh –

    Thanks for your interest!

  8. Thanks for sharing this info. I’m thinking I might want to get a Yale Cable King wire rope hoist. I’m going to be doing a lot of heavy lifting in the near future, and I’m definitely not strong enough to do it without help. Could you tell me where I might be able to buy one of these? I’d also love if you could explain to me the difference between that and a Shaw-Box World Series wire rope hoist.

  9. Hello Frank,

    Thanks for taking the time to comment on our blog. Our goal is to inform, and generate productive dialogue, so I am happy to know that you found this article it to be interesting and informative. Please let us know if you have other related subjects that you would like to see us address in the future.



  10. Joel,
    We appreciate your comments and are glad to hear that you found this blog post helpful.
    All the best,

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