Please find the most common questions received from our clients:
1. Why do I want or need a boat lift?
Keeping a boat on a lift will prevent the need for bottom-painting the boat. Bottom painting reduces the value of your boat. You will save on storage fees, wrapping and winterizing fees, while having year-around availability to launch your boat. You will also be able to better protect your boat from storm damage, theft, and vandalism. Most people are surprised to find that installing a lift costs much less than they originally figured. In most cases, lifts pay for themselves within 5-years!
2. What capacity lift should I buy?
Lifts are measured by capacity in pounds, rather than the length of the boat. Once you’ve calculated the fully-loaded wet weight of your boat, you can figure on a lift capacity that will safely handle your boat. You should consider what size boat you may be upgrading to over the next few years before purchasing your lift. If you’re not sure about the weight of your boat, please look at our lift selector on the contact page, or contact us directly at 1-800-545-5603. We can accommodate most any boat, from a PWC to the largest yacht!
3. What is better, aluminum lifts or galvanized steel lifts?
In the saltwater environment, marine grade aluminum (6061-T6) offers a greatly increased life expectancy when compared to galvanized steel. When aluminum lifts were first introduced, the primary drawback to aluminum was cost. The large structural shapes needed were hard to obtain. As structural aluminum became more common, the cost of aluminum lifts are now similar to the price of galvanized lifts. Also, the lightweight properties of aluminum allow the contractors to sometimes install our boat lifts without a barge or crane, significantly lowering installation costs. Today there is really no reason to purchase a galvanized lift.
4. Will the cradles on an aluminum lift float?
If a lift is selected with wooden bunks we will send weights to insure that the cradles will not float. IMM Quality Boat lifts’ revolutionary Perma-Bunk aluminum bunks with white vinyl covers, prevent any cradle-floatation. The aluminum bunks and covers are guaranteed for 10-years. There are inferior aluminum bunks available, but they don’t incorporate a custum extrusion “internal I beam” structure that integrates the white vinyl covers perfectly without need of top rivets that might scratch your hull.
5. When should I use an elevator style lift and are there any drawbacks?
Elevator lifts do not require outboard pilings, allowing elevators to be used where outboard pilings are not permitted, in cases with hard bottom or deep water conditions that make the installation of piles impractical, or in cases where there just isn’t enough room to access a traditional four post lift. A disadvantage of elevator lifts is that the tracks stay in the water and therefore, need to be protected from electrolysis and ground voltage.
6. I need an elevator lift for my application, why choose an Imm Quality elevator?
Imm Quality Boat Lifts is recognized as the industry leader in the manufacture of elevator boat lifts. The key to a good elevator lift design is the strength of the joint between the trolley and cradle arm. Please see the web page depicting our elevator lifts for details and pictures. Note how the joint is reinforced, making it the strongest in the industry and how the design also allows you to bring your boat up closer to the dock than any other elevator lift.
7. Under what circumstances are beamless boat lifts the better choice?
At first glance, a beamless boat lift may seem the better choice because there is no “top beam” to navigate across when entering the boat or to be seen from the house. While this is true, there is a trade-off for that benefit. When winch-heads are attached to the sides of the pilings, they exert a side-load on the pilings. Therefore, the dock structure and installed pilings (especially external free-standing pilings) need to be installed properly and of sufficient construction to withstand this sideways force. If not, pilings may tend to lean over, or even shift due to the side loading. Our conventional top beam lifts can be set in a “low-profile” configuration, which allows you to use a covered top beam as a boarding platform, while avoiding the side load issues associated with beamless lifts.
8. What types of drive shaft bearings are best?
There are basically three types of drive bearings: 1. Ball or Roller Bearings may seem great, but they are not durable because of corrosion and because they are not engineered for low RPM, high load conditions. 2. Metal to Metal: Some manufacturers use bronze, while some use aluminum or even plastic bearings. In both cases, they require frequent lubrication and maintenance. We feel that a boat lift should free up your time, not use it up with additional chores. 3. Maintenance-free, engineered polymer bearings are a very high tech, self-lubricating material. Imm Quality boat lifts have used these bearings for many years, and our Igus tribopolymer bearings have never worn out. They are dirt resistant, corrosion-free, quiet, reduce maintenance costs and increase the service life of our lifts. We use Igus maintenance-free bearings on all of our lift lines.
9. Do I need a permit?
Most jurisdictions require a permit before installing a boat lift. Your contractor will be aware of the requirements and local codes and can easily guide you through the process.
10. I noticed that Imm Quality boat lifts are sold through dealers. Why should I buy from a marine contractor and can I buy direct from the factory?
Imm Quality Boat Lifts strongly recommends that our customers use a qualified dealer to install the boat lift. Boat lifts are fixed to pilings, docks and / or seawalls and require significant skill and experience to install properly. A licensed contractor will be able to handle all aspects of the lift installation, including setting pilings, evaluating existing structures for lift suitability and obtaining the proper permits with the authorities. However, there may be situations where a homeowner either has a contractor that they are more comfortable with, or can even handle their own installation. We can sell direct under these circumstances. All the risk and liability will be borne to any person self-installing a lift or by a contractor that is not approved by Quality Boat Lifts. Please let us know if you are already working with a contractor. We always try to insure that our approved dealers are providing our customers with the highest level of service available, and your feedback is important to us. If you choose to use your own contractor, please be sure to thoroughly check your contractor’s credentials and recent references before entering into a contract.
11. How do I operate and maintain my boat lift?
Once the installation is complete, your contractor will train you on the safe operation and maintenance of the boat lift. If you ever have operational questions, contact our technical staff at 1-800-545-5603. Owner’s Manuals for your specific boat lift are supplied with your lift and are also available in the documentation section of our website.
12. I’ve seen cheaper lifts being made locally and others that are sold over the internet. Why pay more for an Imm Quality Boat Lift?
In short, you get what you pay for. Often, the lifts sold over the internet are used. After the down turn in the housing market, people began taking lifts from foreclosed properties. Sometimes they are not advertised as used. You can clean up aluminum nicely and easily with an acid wash. Be careful that you understand what you are buying and that the motors and gear boxes are in good working order. In order to undercut the market, some competitors are having their lifts manufactured in third world countries and shipped into the United States for distribution. Our lifts are built to order and manufactured in Fort Myers, FL, United States of America. We are proud that our lifts our made in America, and we are committed to keeping high quality jobs in this country. Many smaller lift manufacturers are little more than garage shops, which may or may not be there when you need parts or service. The other guys will talk about their years of experience in the industry. Imm Quality has been in business since 1982, we are here to stay, and in fact, some of our competitors once worked for us. However, there is a big difference between us. Imm Quality Boat Lifts is the industry’s innovator and our engineers, machinists and fabricators are masters of their trade. Our state-of-the- art 30,000 square foot factory and 12,000 square foot test facility produce and test lifts with features and technology unavailable anywhere else. All Imm Quality Lifts are designed in-house by our IQ engineers and certified by an independent professional engineering firm to exceed industry requirements. We carry product liability insurance that protects your investment. We are the industries only U.L. approved manufacturer. We have the people, knowledge, and commitment to meet your needs, now and into the future.