Crane vessels, also known as floating cranes, are cranes on ships that are used for the construction of bridges and ports. These cranes are extremely powerful and can lift thousands of tons of load. Other than conducting construction offshores, crane services provide these huge machines for salvage operations as well. Here is everything you should know about floating cranes.

Types Of Crane Vessels

Different projects may require different types of crane vessels. The project manager decides which type of floating crane would be right depending on the load capacity of the vessel and the crane attached to the vessel.

Regular Crane Vessels

Regular cranes are considered flexible because the crane on the vessels can rotate in various directions making the load lifting or moving easier. Usually, regular crane vessels can lift up to 2,500 tons of load.

They are used in most projects because they are usually less costly and are highly flexible. If the loads you will haul or lift are much lower than 2,500 tons, all you may need is a regular crane vessel.

Semi-Submersible Crane Vessels

These vessels are partly submerged in the water. This ensures the stability that crane ships direly need when lifting and moving extremely heavy loads. Moreover, stability doesn’t come with any cost in this type because the cranes of these vessels can be rotated and revolved.

The exact amount of lift capacity of semi-submersible floating cranes can be different in different cranes. However, generally, these giant crane vessels can lift up to 14,000 tons. So, if you need a crane vessel with the most lifting capacity, you can’t go wrong with a semi-submersible crane.

Sheerleg Crane Vessels

These may not appear interesting to people because the cranes on these vessels are static. This means if you need to lift or haul something using this crane vessel, the load should be adjusted so the stationary crane on the vessel can lift it or you will need to move the vessel correctly so the static cranes can do their job.

Moreover, the lifting capacity of sheerleg crane vessels is variable. Some sheerleg crane vessels can lift loads more than regular crane vessels while for other types, it’s the other way around. Plus, the rated capacity for lifting a load for sheerleg crane vessels is much lower compared to semi-submersible crane vessels. The load capacity of these crane vessels is between 50 to 4,000 tons.

Types Of Cranes Attached To Crane Vessels

A crane vessel may have different kinds of cranes attached for various functions.

Stiff Boom Crane

General cargo handling is done using a stiff boom crane on a crane vessel. A hydraulic winch is used to lift a load whereas a boom is controlled for reaching the correct height for lifting a load.

The stability provided by stiff boom cranes is unmatched by other types and this is why they are used for handling fragile loads. These cranes suspend a load for any amount of time without drift. These are used for onboard and ship-to-ship loading or unloading.

Telescopic Boom Crane

In these cranes, the winch is permanently attached to the crane. They reach any height because the length of the boom is adjustable through a hydraulic system controlled by a crane operator. So, when a job requires a crane that can cover more height or area, telescopic boom cranes are used. Moreover, they can also suspend a load for any amount of time.

Foldable Telescopic Boom Crane

These are telescopic boom cranes with a foldable boom. These are used when there is limited space due to a smaller crane vessel or multiple cranes attached to a vessel.

Knuckle Boom Cranes

These are used for loading and unloading things only because they can’t suspend a load. They are considered essential for large-decked vessels. These cranes come with two booms. One is called the main boom and the other is known as the outer boom. A knuckle connects them from where the boom can move in and out.


Crane vessels are for sites that are non-accessible for regular cranes used for land sites. You can select a crane vessel type depending on your needs and the lifting capacity. Get in touch with crane rentals DC to check out different types of these cranes.