Anchor vs Davits – What’s the Difference?

  • Left: Anchors; Right: Davit


One of the most frequent misconceptions we hear is that “we need davits” for a building/project to complete window washing and suspended maintenance.  In certain situations, this is definitely the case; however, davits are not the typical starting point for any design.

The misconception is that anchors and davits are the same type of equipment and function the same way, when in fact they are completely different.

Anchors fundamentally refer to a U-bar tie-off that can take many different shapes and are quite versatile. Generally speaking, they come in two different styles: roof or wall.

Davits are made up of multiple elongated pieces that allow for rigging over unique structures such as a tall parapet or screen wall. They consist of three primary components: base, boom, and mast.

A roof anchor is a stainless steel U-bar welded to a cylinder shaped steel pier (usually 15” or 18” tall).   

A wall anchor is a stainless steel U-bar welded to a steel base plate (varying in size).



Tie-Back Anchors can (in both cases) be secured to structure in many ways.  Most commonly they can be bolted through structure, cast or embedded into concrete, secured using post installed epoxy (adhesive) bolts, welded to structure, or wrapped around structure.

The davit arm consists of an aluminum mast (the vertical component which varies in size to accommodate different structures but the most common is 5-6’ tall) and an aluminum boom (the horizontal component, again varying in size but upwards of 8-6' long). 

Davit Arms are modular and portable, the components are pinned/secured together to form the “davit arm”. 

The davit arm uses an adapter and/or socket that is secured to the permanently installed davit base. Once installed, the davit base essentially becomes part of the structure.

Anchors can be used in practically any rigging situation: tie off for fall protection, tie-back for suspended maintenance, and direct rigging for window washing.

Davits are not as practical as anchors in the sense that there are very specific reasons and situations that you would use them (basically over glass railings or non-structural parapets or other building components, such as sun shades, etc.).

Davits are not the typical starting point for any design.  Pro-Bel will always look to include the simplest and most cost effective system possible (which is an anchor based system) and build on the design from there based on what the building/project conditions necessitate.

For more information or for design assistance on a specific project, please reach out to us via our contact form or give us a call.


Pro-Bel anchors and Davit Systems


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