Here’s a question:
Off the top of your head, how much time, money and energy have you invested in your boat?
If you’re like every other boat owner in history, the answer is, “a lot.”
So why would you want anything but the best boat lift for your needs?
The tricky part is figuring out what “best” means for you.
And it is tricky. There are almost as many kinds of boat lifts as there are boats to be lifted.
We can’t tell you what you need without knowing your exact situation. But we can give you some valuable tips to help and things to consider as you figure it out for yourself.
Consider the Boat
There are plenty of horror stories of boat owners who bought the wrong boat lift for their boat. Or who asked their lift to perform beyond its capacity.
You can avoid a lot of those problems by considering the kind of lift and lift capacity that’s right for your boat.
That means calculating the weight of your boat when it’s loaded with fuel, supplies, toys and accessories.
And remember that the shape of your hull and its draft will help determine the lifting height you need, the minimum water depth and the bunks you’ll need on your boat lift.
Consider the Dock
There’s a lot to weigh here. For example, is your dock fixed or floating?
Does it have notable erosion due to marine life or tides?
And consider these factors:
What are the physical dimensions of your slip?
Can your dock structure support the installation of the boat lift you’re considering?
If your dock has a roof, is it high enough for your boat when it’s raised high enough to clear the water? And is it strong enough to support both the suspended boat lift and your fully loaded boat?
Is your slip deep enough to allow the lift you’re considering to lower the cradles enough to float your boat off the cradles?
Are there obstructions in the slip that might interfere with lift operation?
Is electricity available to your dock?
Consider the Water
Is your slip subject to rough water? If so, be sure to consider a lift high enough to clear the water in typical conditions.
Is your slip subject to variations in water depth? If so, you may need a floating dock, or a custom design to satisfy your need.
Consider the Useful Life of the Boat Lift
Nothing lasts forever. But some things last a lot longer than others. And some need a lot more maintenance than others.
For example, what’s the boat lift you’re considering made of? Aluminum does not rust and is stronger and lighter than steel.
How are the bearings and pulleys designed? Grease bearings and pulleys need expensive maintenance on a regular basis. And the black grease they use can leak, making a mess of your boat, dock and lift.
Are you a DIY type or do you hire out your maintenance? If you DIY, do have some way to safely reach the outside top beam to inspect and lubricate its components?
If any of these are a concern, you should consider a low-maintenance lift design.
Consider Your Specific Needs and Preferences
What kind of style of lift would you prefer? Standard top beam, elevator or beamless?
Do you want a standard installation? Or would you prefer your top beams set high so that you walk under them? Or set your top beams low and use them as a step while boarding?
How about a platform lift where the lifting cradle is covered in decking?
Are you looking for a manual control lift or would you prefer remote lift controls that automatically stop the lift at the top, bottom and boarding height?
Do you have custom design or accessory needs? Are you interested in a canopy, boarding platform, underwater lights or powder coating your lift to match any color?
Are you the type of person that hates to stand around waiting on things? If so, you should consider the drive and how it affects the speed of the lift. For example, flat-plate drives, besides being incredibly noisy, are extremely slow.
There you have it, a basic breakdown of what to consider when choosing a boat lift. However, if you still have questions or want a professional to evaluate your specific needs, please don’t hesitate to contact us.