In the beginning, the drystack industry was primarily a “mom and pop” industry which recognized the need to provide storage and related services to pleasure boat owners. The first drystack building is thought to have been built in New Jersey. The innovator that started this business used an old Clark forklift with modified negative shank forks to retrieve the boats from the water and stack them in the racks inside a building. In these earliest days of stacking boats in dry storage, the average boat had a length of 20 to 22 feet and a weight of approximately 3,000 lbs.
The 1970’s saw the first forklifts designed and manufactured specifically for handling boats. These lifts had a negative mast section which eliminated the need for negative shank forks and allowed the boat to be lifted to the top of the mast which allowed the building to accommodate another row of racks without adding to the investment. As pleasuring boating and the size of boats grew, more and more innovations in the storage buildings and boat handling forklifts were introduced. In the late 70’s Wiggins Lift Co., Inc, one of the earliest forklift manufactures to design forklifts specifically for the drystack industry, introduced its Marina Bull‚ that would handle boats as heavy as 20,000 lbs. and could lift smaller boats to the unheard of height of 40 feet.
By the late 1990’s a new generation of innovators had correctly predicted the need to store even larger boats. This led Wiggins‚ to design, what at that time, was thought to be the world’s largest boat handling forklift, a Marina Bull‚ with a lift capacity of 37,500 lbs and a lift height of as high as 54 ft. This was just the beginning. Wiggins most recent effort has produced a Marina Bull‚ that will lift 52,000 lbs. and which easily handles and stacks a Luhrs 40 Convertible craft.
The future will see even greater advances in the dry stack industry and has already led to the development of such innovations as Wiggins Stabilift‚ and Stabilock. Features which insures safety and protection of an owners investment in his marina, equipment and his customers boat as the mega boat trend continues for the drystack industry.