- any of various cranelike devices used singly or in pairs for supporting, raising, and lowering especially boats, anchors, and cargo over a hatchway or side of a ship.
also david, "crane-like structure used to lower things down off a ship, etc.," late 15c., apparently a use of the masc. proper name David on the pattern of applying common Christian names to useful devices (cf. jack, jenny, jimmy).
"Cole and Sweetman, operating the davits, swung the cutters and one of the whaleboats onto the ice."
- Hampton Sides, In the Kingdom of Ice: the Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette