A winch stand is a device that a winch is mounted to, providing a solid base that the winch can pull against. There are many different winch stand types, from a short stand used to attach a winch to a boat's deck to a tall, post-like stand used to mount a winch onto a trailer. Typically, a winch stand differs from a winch mount or bracket in that the stand rises above the level at which it is attached to the vehicle or vessel. Most stands can usually accommodate a power or hand-operated winch and often have the ability to also function as a stop, guide or locking post.
The typical winch stand can be found on the front of most boat trailers. The winch stand is the tall steel or aluminum tube that is positioned slightly behind the trailer hitch mechanism and is angled forward, towards the tow vehicle that the winch is attached to. This tube also houses the front roller or pad that cushions and protects the boat's hull from damage while being towed, as well as a safety ring that commonly connects a safety chain from the winch stand to the tow ring on the bow of the boat. This safety chain prevents the boat from sliding off of the back of the trailer in the event that a winch cable or rope breaks.
A common winch stand on a boat trailer is adjustable by sliding the winch mounting plate up or down the stand post. This allows the winch to pull in a straight line, with the tow ring on the bow of the boat as it is winched onto the trailer. By pulling in a direct line as opposed to an uphill or downhill pull, the winch is not strained nearly as much by the weight of the boat. This also places less stress on the hull of the boat as it is pulled more directly onto the trailer. The winch is also positioned more in line with the tow ring on the boat to aid the winch in its holding capabilities as the boat is being pulled on a trailer.
The winch stand will occasionally be mounted on a swivel mount. This is often common when the winch is used for loading and unloading materials, such as on a dock, warehouse ramp or trailer. The winch can then be used to lift and swing materials in a range that allows workers to move materials from one vessel to another or to load and unload trailers. If mounted rigidly, the winch stand would only permit up and down movement instead of the necessary side to side movement required for the loading and unloading of materials from one vehicle or ship to another.