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Difference between windlass and mooring winch

Released on Apr. 24, 2024

 Difference between windlass and mooring winch


1. Different principles;

2. Different structures;

3. Different application environments;


Mooring winches and windlasses are essential equipment on ships, both of which are utilized to manage the positioning and movement of the vessel at docks, berths, and anchorages. Specifically, a mooring winch is employed for mooring operations as machinery for unloading cargo from a ship; whereas a windlass is a mechanical device used for anchoring the ship, serving as power equipment onboard.



A windlass is utilized for the hoisting and lowering of anchors and chains. Typically, the windlass is positioned on the main deck of a ship's bow and stern to facilitate anchor weighing and cable anchoring.


Electric Mooring winch

The mooring winchis primarily utilized for ship mooring and docking operations, offering versatile functionality such as drift, support, and positioning during loading and unloading. It is employed to secure vessels to offshore facilities, docks, berths, or other ships using mooring lines. Additionally, it provides constant tension adjustment to compensate for vibration deviations. An example of this feature in action is the use of a shore-mounted mooring winch for boat loading or unloading.


What is the difference between a mooring winch and a windlass?


1. Different principles

The electric mooring winch operates in conjunction with the turning and lifting of the rope wheel to hoist containers, vehicles, and other cargo onto the dock by winding the rope around the wheel. Typically, it is powered by a motor driving a reducer which in turn drives the tie buckle to rotate the rope wheel.

The windlass is responsible for controlling the deployment of the anchor chain and the retraction of the anchor claw through a motor and transmission device in order to securely anchor the ship.


2. Different structures

The structural design of the windlass and mooring winch differs significantly, with the anchor winch typically being a vertical design and the mooring winch being a horizontal or diagonal design.

The electric mooring winch typically consists of a spur gear, planetary gear train, and wire rope pulley, providing lifting, lowering, and turning functions. The operation and stopping of the winch are controlled by regulating the main motor and brake.

The windlass typically consists of a driver and a transmission device, serving the purpose of retracting the anchor claw and the anchor chain. Its specific structure can be categorized into electric, hydraulic, and manual variations.


3. Different application environments

Anchor winch is a winch commonly used on ships, which is mainly used for anchoring and shifting operations, and can also be used for cable winch and towing operations. When the ship is moored, the windlass keeps the ship moored by tying the anchor to the bottom of the sea, which is not affected by sea currents and wind waves.

Mooring winch is a kind of equipment used when the ship is mooring, also known as the cable winch, which is mainly used to tie the mooring cable to the dock to control the ship's berthing position. In addition, the mooring winch can also be used to propel the ship, work streamers and other operations.

Mooring winches on container ships are mainly used for unloading; electric mooring winches in ports are mainly used for mooring work.


Mooring winch can not only be used for mooring, but also for promoting the ship, working towing lines and other operations, suitable for smaller pier equipment, its function is richer than anchor winch.

The windlass has the ability to control a specific position, has a power output, and can control larger ships. At the same time, the structure of the windlass is relatively more complex.


Examples of winch delivery:

Difference between windlass and mooring winch

Difference between windlass and mooring winch




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