Whether you’re new to the world of boating or have been boating for some time, there are countless reasons your waterfront property could benefit from a boat lift. A boat lift is one of the best ways for boat owners to access and protect their boats and enhance the beauty and value of their waterfront. No matter what type of property you have, a boat lift is a solid investment. With so many types of boat lifts available, there is sure to be one to suit your application.
What Is a Boat Lift?
Boat lifts are used to lift a boat in and out of the water. Boat lifts serve as a way to dock your boat for storage, making removing your boat from the water and performing maintenance on it much easier. Lifting and storing your boat out of the water helps prevent corrosion and damage that can occur when your boat is left sitting in water. When your boat isn’t in use, simply raise it out of the water to protect it and give yourself peace of mind.
Why Do You Need a Boat Lift?
Water can corrode the paint and underside of your boat the longer it sits in the water. Algae and scum also collect on the bottom of the boat, which causes deterioration. Additionally, when your boat sits in the water next to a dock, wind, big waves and bad weather can knock your boat around and into the dock. As your boat rubs against the dock or bumps into it, you’ll begin to see signs of damage like scuffs and scratches in the paint.
Cleaning, repairs and a new paint job can get expensive quickly and require time and effort. While you need to do some maintenance to keep your boat in optimal condition, a boat lift can help prevent extensive damage to your boat and reduce upkeep, thus saving you time and money.
Benefits of Using a Boat Lift
Buying a boat lift is worth it, regardless of the type or size of your boat and the body of water you use it in. Using a boat lift is an essential factor in preserving the life span of your boat, and it can significantly add to the enjoyment you get out of your boat. Here are some of the many reasons to own a boat lift:
Prevents Damage to the Hull
Storing your boat in the water is one of the quickest ways to damage the hull below the waterline. Though boats are designed to be in the water, time in the water over long periods will have a significant impact on your boat’s deterioration. The portion of the hull that sits down in the water is subject to the most damage, especially if it’s consistently stored in the water.
Because prolonged water storage is so damaging to the hull, it will decrease your boat’s performance, value and lifespan. Using a boat lift allows the submerged part of the hull to air out, helping to prevent irreversible and costly damage to the paint and your boat as a whole.
Corrosion and Algae Protection
As your boat sits in water, algae and aquatic growth, such as muck, barnacles and more will collect on the underside of your hull. These factors will build up and create a layer of scum on the hull that will deteriorate the paint and exterior of your boat. In addition to taking extensive amounts of effort and time to clean, the corrosion puts your boat at risk of leaking. Corrosion won’t stop at your hull — shafts, props and other metal fittings are at risk of corrosive damage.
Using a boat lift can help prevent the build-up of algae and scum that causes corrosion. When your boat is stored above the waterline, algae will be unable to grow on your boat. This helps prevent detrimental corrosion and reduces the amount of scrubbing, washing, and repainting you need to do on your boat.
Protection From Inclement Weather and Water Level Fluctuations
Most bodies of water are subject to water level fluctuations, especially during inclement weather. As the water levels move and rock your boat in wet storage, your boat will be pushed and bounced into the dock or hit with floating debris that entered the water during a storm. If the wakes are heavy and the water gets rough during a storm, your boat could even sink right at your dock.
Keep your boat safely above storm surge with a boat lift. A boat lift will keep your boat from moving in the water during bad weather, strong currents and rising water levels. This helps prevent dents, scratches or worse from being inflicted upon your boat as it rubs against the dock.
Easy Access and Safer Launch
Because boat lifts stabilize your boat in the water, you’ll have a much easier time entering and exiting your boat when it’s stored in a boat lift. Rocking waves can make it difficult to safely climb in and out of a boat, as well as complicate your launch and docking. With a boat lift, you’ll easily be able to step in, lower your boat and drive off.
With such easy access to all parts of your boat, a boat lift also simplifies maintenance routines. Even with a boat lift, you’ll still need to perform regular maintenance and cleaning routines to keep your boat looking pristine and operating well. Accessing those hard-to-reach spots on the underside of your boat is easy with a boat lift. All it takes is cranking your boat above the water.
Saves You Money
The cost of boat repairs and extensive cleaning can add up quickly, especially if your boat is left in the water. Storing your boat with a boat lift helps to keep your money in your pocket. When you keep your boat out of the water, you’ll save money over the years because you’ll reduce the damage done to your boat and cleaning necessary to remove layers of algae and scum.
As your need for costly repairs, extensive cleaning and repainting are reduced, you’ll find that your boat will remain in good condition for longer and you’ll save money. Additionally, owning a boat lift means you can save money on marina docking fees. Boat lifts even have the potential to increase your property value.
Considerations for Buying a Boat Lift
Before purchasing a boat lift, there are a few things to consider to help you choose the right one, such as your waterfront conditions and boat size. You should also be sure you understand the responsibilities of owning a boat lift. As you would with any big purchase, it’s important to consider how it will fit with your boat and current docking situation. Be sure think about these things before deciding on a boat lift.
Water Depth and Land Structure
It’s important to determine where your boat lift will be and how the location can affect the lift. Most bodies of water have rough areas and calm areas, which are important factors to think about in terms of a boat lift’s structural integrity.
If your boat lift will be along a stretch of shore that tends to have a rough water area, you’ll want to look for a boat lift with more strength, bracing and support to withstand pressure from the waves and currents. You may think extreme stability and sturdiness isn’t as necessary in calmer areas, but severe weather can strike anywhere, a durable lift is essential anywhere.
In addition to the location, you’ll want to consider the water depth where you plan to place your boat lift. When water levels are low, some boat lifts may be unusable. You’ll want to make sure your boat lift is capable of lowering your boat all the way into the water, especially when the water levels are at their lowest. Additionally, with your stationary dock, consider where the water levels will be at their highest, and ensure you can still operate your boat lift in those conditions.
Weight and Capacity of the Boat Lift
Different boat lifts are designed for different types of boats, which means they’ll be able to handle different weights and maximum capacities. It’s important to know your boat’s dry weight as well as the weight of everything you keep on your boat, including covers, gear, batteries or fuel.
Use the weight capacity of each boat lift to determine the best fit for you and your boat. Remember that it’s often best to size up to have extra capacity rather than risk not having enough.
Length and Width of Your Boat
Along with the weight of your boat, it’s crucial to consider the length and width of your boat. For the boat lift to properly store and protect your boat, it should be an appropriate size for your boat. The beam of the boat lift should match your boat’s length to ensure your boat will sit properly in the lift. Luckily, many lifts are adaptable, so you might be able to purchase a larger or smaller boat and use the same lift in the future.
Structure and Layout of Your Dock
Just like ensuring your boat will fit into the lift, it’s important to consider how the boat lift will fit into the structure and layout of your dock. Many dock systems can be rearranged and adjusted for optimal setup, which will likely be necessary to create a layout that integrates your boat lift.
If your docking system has unique needs, be sure to find a boat lift that will attach to the dock securely. If you are unsure which boat lift will work with your current system, find a boat lift dealer near you who can assess the situation.
Maintenance Requirements for Boat Lifts
Every aspect of owning watercraft requires maintenance — even your boat lift. It’s important to inspect the cables, cradle and beams. Making sure your boat lift is in optimal condition ensures it will work properly and safely. Every boat lift will have different care needs, so be sure to check with the manufacturer or local dealer to ensure you’re properly taking care of your lift.
How Different Types of Boat Lifts Are Used
There are different types of boat lifts for different needs, budgets and weight capacities. To help you determine which type of boat lift might be right for you, consider the options and how each can be used:
- Hydraulic lift: Hydraulic lifts are one of the strongest boat lifts available, capable of holding up to 12,000 pounds. This type of boat lift is made of high-quality Marine-grade aluminum for long-lasting use and low maintenance. Unlike other lift options that use cranks, pulleys and cables, hydraulic lifts will raise your boat out of the water with the ease of hydraulics. If you’re looking for a durable lift with a high weight capacity, a hydraulic lift may be right for you. RGC offers 3 options of Hydraulic lifts: Hydraulic Cantilever Lift, an H frame over center design, the Hydraulic Vertical Lift, suitable for varying water levels and shallow water levels and Hydraulic Pile Mount Lift, a permanent hydraulic solution.
- Vertical lift: Vertical boat lifts are versatile lifts with a range of capabilities. These lifts are easy to move, assemble and control since they’re most often electrically powered. Vertical lifts can support weights ranging from 1,000 to 10,000 pounds and are great options for areas where water levels fluctuate significantly as they have a wide lifting range. If you’re looking for an easy-to-use lift with a range of capabilities, a vertical lift would be a great fit.
- Cantilever lift: Cantilever lifts are typically the most simple and cost-effective option for smaller boats. Perfect for boats up to 1,200 pounds, cantilever boat lifts are made of Marine-grade aluminum so they’re durable and easy to install. A handwheel and pulleys power cantilever lifts to raise your boat out of the water. Power upgrades are often available to fit your needs. With few moving parts and the main support coming from the frame, cantilever lifts are simple to operate and offer effective protection for your boat.
- Hydraulic PWC lift: Another option for smaller boats and watercraft like jet skis, the PWC lift is a smaller version of a hydraulic lift. These freestanding boat lifts can support up to 2,000 pounds and are perfect for areas with sloped or uneven beds. Built using Marine-grade aluminum, hydraulic PWC lifts are durable, reliable and offer a smooth, quiet lift. If you’re looking for a fast and easy-to-use lift, consider the PWC lift so you can be on and off the water effortlessly.
Many boat lifts can be accommodated with power options if they’re lacking them at first, though this typically costs extra. To find out how a lift can be accommodated for your needs, you can speak with a representative from the manufacturer to learn about your options.
Find Your Perfect Boat Lift at RGC Marine
Your boat is an investment that you’ll want to take care of and protect as such. Regardless of the size or type of watercraft you own, there are precautions you can take to extend the longevity of your investment. The variety of boat lifts you’ll find at RGC Marine means we can help you find an option that suits your boating needs.
Contact our knowledgeable team today to discover how we can help you choose and customize a boat lift and equip it with accessories that will benefit you.