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Ever since the first time that I saw one of these lift bags in use here in Martinique, I’ve imagined how cool it would be to have one on board, especially for those cats that require regular haul outs to service their sail drives. I promised myself that the next time I saw one in use, I’d try to figure out where they came from, and hopefully their cost, etc. Well, today was the day, and even though I failed to gather much in the way of specifics – in spite of my spending over a half an hour on the manufacture’s website – at least I have the company name, Pronal.


In case you’re not familiar with how these low-pressure lift bags work, I saw one being inflated by a little shop vac. That’s right, not even a big shop vac! I have to imagine that, even in their un-inflated state, the bags are quite large, and heavy. I also have to imagine that they’re not inexpensive. For these reasons, and perhaps others that I haven’t considered, perhaps it’s not possible for the average sailor to carry one on his/her boat. They sure are cool though, and when it comes to servicing sail drives and props, their cost could be weighed against no-longer-necessary haul outs.

lift bag

Part way through preparing this post, Rebecca and I responded to a VHF call about a boat adrift. When we arrived to the boat’s location we found that two helpful cruisers had already made their way on board. The boat’s mooring had broken away so to try to stop it from drifting, the guys had deployed the anchor. Unfortunately, this all took place a bit too late, the boat had come to rest on a shallow spot. As you can see in the screen capture below, there are many such spots in this harbor. Fortunately, the bottom where this occurred is grass and not reef. Hopefully the pros will be able to get the boat off a bit later today.


The drama took place just downwind of the isolated danger mark.


Our mooring. We purchased new mooring lines, and connected them using tubular-webbing for chafe gear. The black line is a backup, connected to a huge chain which is affixed to the top of the sand screw.


  1. Wow, might those lift bags be used to extract a cat off a reef? Or put one in a sinking monohull to keep it afloat.

    • There are definitely similar lift bags that can be used to re-float a boat. We’ve seen pics of it happening. I imagine the problem with the reef scenario is that the bag might de damaged from the coral.

  2. Seeing your Mantus anchor reminds me that you’ve been using this for quite some time now and I wonder how you would say it compares with a Rocna of the same size, i.e. – is it worth switching?

    • If you already own a Rocna, and you’re happy with it, there’s absolutely no reason to switch that I can think of. If you’re shopping for a new anchor though, I would definitely compare both. One significant Mantus selling point for me is that when I send them a quick email, I get an answer almost right away from the owners.

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