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Top 10 Questions About Boat Lifts

1. What kind of boat lift do I need?

There are many styles of boat lifts including 4-pile cradle lifts, elevator lifts, beamless lifts, boathouse lifts, 3-pile cradle lifts, and PWC lifts. The 4-pile cradle lifts are the most common due to their lower cost and ease of installation. The other styles are mostly used when conditions specific to the property require them. Elevator lifts are often used when waterway rights restrict the installation of piles away from the seawall. Homes at the end of channels often require 3-pile cradle lifts to fit within their wedge-shaped water rights. Beamless lifts are often used for aesthetic reasons where the homeowner prefers not to see large top beams. Obviously, boathouse lifts are used in boathouses and PWC lifts are used with jet skis and other PWC’s.

2. What capacity of lift should I buy? Can I increase the capacity of my existing lift?

To determine the correct boat lift capacity for your boat, you must calculate its total weight. This will include the boats dry weight, plus the weight of any outboard motors, plus the weight of any accessories installed (towers, bimini tops, generators, swim platforms, etc.), plus the weight of the fuel (6 lbs. per gallon), and plus the water weight (8 lbs. per gallon) from freshwater tanks, wastewater tanks and any live wells. It is best to add in a 20% margin of safety and then select the next higher lift capacity.

Generally, it is not possible to change the capacity of an existing lift. If you look at our specification sheets for the 4-pile cradle lifts, in every case, the size of the top beams gets larger with each increase in lift capacity.

3. What materials are your lifts made from?

Our lift structure is made from marine grade 6061-T6 aluminum because aluminum does not rust. The fasteners are made from stainless steel. The heavy-gauge steel drive tube undergoes Gatorshield electro-plating to prevent corrosion. We use stainless steel aircraft cables and grooved aluminum winders. The drive covers are made from heavy-duty rotomolded high-density polyethylene. The aluminum bunks are covered by a proprietary non-marring vinyl that is UV resistant. Our drive tube and pulley bearings use tribopolymer bushings developed by NASA because they are maintenance-free and do not require grease.

4. Can I get custom bunks?

Yes, of course. We excel in custom design work. Our engineers routinely consult with boat manufacturers to design custom bunk solutions that perfectly support your vessel. We also specialize in homes with difficult water conditions and have designed many low-profile bunking solutions to accommodate low water conditions.

5. How fast is the lift?

All of our lift speeds are found on the specification sheets. Our high-speed Superlift design is the fastest boat lift on the market. Even faster than hydraulic boat lifts.

6. What kind of electrical service is needed?

A boat lift is a heavy-duty piece of machinery that requires adequate power. Our installation manuals provide the specific recommendations for breaker size and wire size for the electrical run. Although it is possible to use 110V with ¾ H.P. motors found on some of the smallest lifts, we always recommend 220V on our lifts.

7. How does a boat lift fit in a boathouse?

Many different ways. If you are building a new boathouse, it is possible to integrate a standard top beam lift into the boathouse structure using a stringer bracket. The stringer brackets attach to the top of boat lift beams and support the roof rafters and structure. If you have space in the boat slip to install pilings, you can install a 4-pile lift in the traditional way. Many people choose to hang a boathouse boat lift from structural members using our lift hanger brackets. This is a great way to add a boat lift to an existing boathouse.

8. What kind of maintenance do boat lifts require?

We have designed our boat lifts to require less maintenance than other manufacturers. Please see this article for a complete discussion about maintenance.

9. What accessories can I get for a lift?

There are many types of accessories for boat lifts. In addition to replacement parts, we manufacture floating docks, aluminum gangways, ladders, steps, top beam covers, lift deck systems, stern platforms, walkways, hinged platforms, kayak kits, tide guides, remote controls, auto-stop limit switches, and solar power kits.

10. Can you make a custom lift?

The strength of our company is the engineering department and the state of the art CNC machinery we have in our factory. In addition to designing boat lifts for every water condition, we have built a reputation for being able to design lift solutions for some unusual situations. We have designed cargo lifts, car lifts, draw bridges, sliding bridges, marine railways and lifts for seaplanes. We have designed lifts for power plants to lower their equipment into and out of the ocean. We have designed lifts for stadiums to use with ice makers. We have designed lifts for stage shows. We have designed lifts for zoos and aquariums to use with their animals. We have designed a lift system for a multi-story warehouse marina. If you have a special lift system needs, please contact our engineering department.

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