Before the mid 1970’s boats were typically lifted with a pair of davits. These crane like structures are mounted to a piling or set in the ground above a sea wall, utilize a fore and an aft cable which are connected to lifting eyes on the watercraft. Boaters find davits difficult to use, as the distance between connecting points on the boat make them challenging for one person to operate. While davits are used today for lifting smaller watercraft in some unique situations, their position as the industry standard has been largely replaced by lifts that support the boat on bunk boards connected to a lifting platform or cradle system.
A major breakthrough in boat lift design occurred in the 1980’s. Aluminum was introduced as a structural material to replace galvanized steel. Although slightly more expensive than steel, its long-term appearance and corrosion resistance make it a superior alternative. Today, the best boat lifts are made from aluminum. It has steadily supplanted galvanized steel, as consumers have become knowledgeable enough to recognize its’ superiority.