If you’re lucky enough to have a job that pays enough to own a boat, then it’s safe to say you’re going to have a good time when out on the water. Owning a boat isn’t all about fun and games, however, it requires a fair bit of upkeep and care to keep it in good shape. Your boat will have to be looked after if you want to continue using it on a regular basis. Boats can’t stay in the water all the time, there are occasions where you’ll have to take it out of the water to perform repairs or even to move it. This begs the question, how do you get it out of the water easily? The answer to that question is a boat lift.
Here we take a look at the factors you’ll need to consider when choosing the perfect lift for your boat.
There are a number of different styles of lift, depending on where your boat is kept and what the conditions of the water are. Does the water rise and fall constantly? Do you have a permanent dock? Do you have specific requirements?
Bottom Standing Lift
This kind of lift is installed next to the dock and it’s supported by its own legs. These are popular choices when the bed underwater is firm and even, and also when the water depth is up to 9 feet. The reason it’s best if the bed is firm is that when soft or uneven, it will be challenging to install the lift properly and safely. There are of course ways to create custom boat lifts if there are certain specifications you have to meet for your dock. Not every lift has to be generic so getting one custom made to fit your situation is best if you have a certain size boat or a small area to work with.
These lifts are lowered and raised either manually with a larger wheel or by using an electric motor. The more expensive ones use hydraulics to raise and lower your boat. It’s worth noting that in cold climates, these lifts will have to be taken out of the water during the winter and reinstalled in the spring.
Piling Mount Lift
These are attached directly to a fixed dock or as the name suggests, to pilings. This means you’ll have to have a dock strong enough to attack the lift and to raise the boat out the water. It usually means you’ll have to have custom pilings installed, which can be a little costly, but water depth or structure of the bed isn’t an issue when using this style.
This style of lift supports the boat on either metal or plastic chambers filled with air. They’re flooded when you want to release the boat, meaning they sink and lower the boat into the water and stay there whilst you use your boat. On return, the pumps replace water with air and the boat rises back up. This style is common in large marinas with floating docks and also on freshwater lakes where the water level can fluctuate during the season.
Shore Mounted Lifts
As the name suggests, these are lifts that extend from the shore. They tend to be ramps that extend from the shore into the water which you drive your boat onto, then using a winch, pull the boat up and out. These lifts require a shoreline that rises gradually from the water, but the bonus is they’re relatively cheap and easy to maintain.
What’s Best For Me?
Now we have looked at the four main types of a boat lift. It’s down to you, the boat owner, to decide what you think is going to be best for you. The main thing you’re going to have to think about is what kind of water and dock you have, for example, if you have a dock on the side of a canal then the shore mounted lift is going to be useless. Assess what your boat’s needs are when you take it out the water, does the water fluctuate a lot? Do you own a dock you can modify? Do you use the boat all year round? Being sensible when answering these questions is the key to making an informed decision.
Once you’ve thought about these questions, then think about your budget. There are, of course, many different prices for a number of different lifts. Some require a more complicated installation which will cost more money, others don’t.
If you own a boat, then a boat lift is essential. There may be ones along the river, canal, or on the lake you use, but having your own will give you the freedom needed to have access whenever you want. As previously stated, boats need work frequently, so having the ability to get it out the water as and when you please is essential.
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