Boat lifts are measured by capacity in pounds, designed to house boats of different shapes and sizes and can range from under 2,000 to 50,000 pounds in capacity. In addition to the weight of your boat, including additional accessories, you’ll also need to know its dimensions to ensure it will fit into the lift. The location and type of water that the lift will be installed in are also important considerations when choosing the right lift for your craft.
How to Determine What Size Boat Lift You Need
Boat lifts are measured and categorized by their capacity in pounds, not the length or dimensions of the boat. The first step in determining what size lift you need is to figure out the weight of your boat. The dry weight of your vessel is its weight without liquids such as fuel or the weight of other things like accessories, and can usually be found on its spec sheet. The wet weight includes fuel, batteries, accessories, passengers, etc. and is the working weight that you’ll want to use for your lift calculations.
Determining the wet weight of your vessel can be arbitrary and challenging, so it’s best to err on the side of caution and factor in a 20 percent safety margin. It’s important to always size up when it comes to boat lift capacity to ensure that it can safely lift your craft without straining or damaging the lift. You should never exceed the weight capacity of a boatlift.
Although lifts aren’t measured by the dimensions of your boat, you will still need to know the style and beam, or widest portion of your boat, to be sure the lift can accommodate it. You’ll want at least a 4 inch cushion on either side, 10 inches if you’re using guideposts. You’ll also need to consider the shape of your hull and whether you have an in or outboard motor when choosing the style of lift for your boat. While there is a lot to consider when selecting the proper boatlift capacity, you can always enlist the expertise of a boatlift dealer.
Other Boat Lift Considerations
After you have the wet weight and dimensions of your boat, you can start looking at different styles of lifts. In addition to the vessel itself, you’ll also want to consider the shape and location of the dock. The type of water your boat is exposed to will also factor into the lift. Is the water shallow or deep? Does the water level fluctuate and is the bottom solid or soft? If the water freezes in the winter, you’ll likely need to be able to remove and re-install the lift seasonally, as well.
Pontoon and tritoon boats often need special kits but can also utilize different types of lifts. Boat lifts have both manual and powered options- some are manually operated with a handwheel and others have electric powered winches or are hydraulically powered, which is more convenient and easier to use. Aluminum and stainless steel are the materials you’ll want to look for; aluminum doesn’t rust and is stronger and lighter than steel.
From personal watercraft lifts to sea plane platforms and everything in between, RGC has a lift that will safely and efficiently launch and store your boat. With over 75 years of experience in the industry, our team can answer questions and help you choose the right boat lift or connect you with a dealer near you. Contact us today.