Differences between boat lifts

It's great if you already have your own plot of land by the river or lake and have already bought a boat. The question is - what to do if there is no place to store the boat? What to do if the bank is too high or too steep? How to launch a boat in such a case? There is a simple solution - a boat lift. 

A boat lift - is a construction designed to raise, lower or secure a boat over water in a private dock or marina.

Why do you need a boat lift?


Keeping the boat on the boat lift has a number of advantages over simply tying it to a dock in the water:

  • First of all, it's safe. You'll never have to worry about the cable rolling out or the boat hitting the pier due to heavy waves or storms, or the boat sinking at the dock if the bilge pump fails.

  • Secondly, your boat will serve longer. When the bottom of the boat is not constantly in the water, there is less algae and blue stain on it. This ensures that the boat lasts longer and does not need to be stained often.

  • Thirdly, the boat lift better protects the hull of the boat from corrosion (especially if the boat is standing in salt water).

  • Fourth, boats stored on elevators are less likely to be mechanically damaged. Their hulls will not get accidental dents or scratches from rocks. 

  • Finally, storing a boat on a boatlift is much more convenient than regularly bringing it in and unloading it from a trailer.

The lifting capacity of such a boat lift is very high - from 1.3 to 7 tons, which allows you to fasten most models of modern boats securely. 

Installation of such an elevator for a private boat is not very complicated. There are specialized organizations that will come and build it as a turnkey service.

Different types of boat lifts

If you are thinking of building such a construction, you can choose from four different types of boat lifts.

  1. Bottom-standing lifts are ideal for fixed docks

  2. Pile mount lifts are sturdy and stable

  3. Floating lifts are perfect for dealing with fluctuating water levels

  4. A suspended Lift is one of the most hard-wearing options

Let’s have a closer look at each of them.

  • Bottom-standing boat lift. These boat lifts are based on column feet, which are fixed on the bottom. Suitable for the banks of reservoirs with a dense and flat bottom with a depth of 60cm to 3 meters. The platform with the boat can be lowered either mechanically or with the help of an electric motor or hydraulics. With the help of an expert, this type of boat lift is usually easy to install. 

  • Pile mount boat lift. They are installed only if the pier is already built because they are attached directly to it. Of course, the pier must be strong enough to withstand the additional load. 

  • Floating boat lift. These boat lifts are metal or plastic chambers filled with air. When air is pumped out, they sink to the bottom, releasing the vessel. When inflated, they rise to the top. One of the best benefits of this option is that it prevents the boat from pressing on the structure, preventing possible damage. This is a rather expensive solution, but it may be the only one if the water level in your pond varies a lot during the season. 

  • Suspended boat lift. These are one of the most hard-wearing options when a permanent, always-covered dock structure is available to you. Cradle kits are an option that can be installed in a new steel-framed boat house building or built into your existing structure. Suspended lifts often made of aluminum or galvanized cradles, stainless steel cables, cable winders, and high-capacity motors all designed for heavy-duty and often maintenance-free use. 

There are three different kinds of suspended boat lifts:

  • Hydraulic 

  • Boat house

  • Pile mount

There are a lot of companies that you can find online that not only build boat lifts but will also be more than happy to give you guidance with your purchase along with useful tips and appropriate aftercare you’ll require.

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