A boat lift can be a money saving addition to your dock. Although it does take an initial cash investment, the reward is fewer maintenance costs for your boat. This is because your boat will be stored out of the corrosive water, so the paint job, shell, and the motor will be less prone to damage. The following can help answer some of your questions about boat lifts:
How are boat lifts powered?
There are both manual and electric versions. Manual lifts have a wheel that you turn. These work well for lighter boats, like pontoons, or if you don't have electricity at your dock. Electric lifts work with the push of the button, offering optimum convenience if you have electricity or a generator available.
Are lifts customized to the boat?
Yes and no. Much like a boat trailer, ensure that the lift is large enough to hold your boat, but then choose one with an adjustable hull cradle. This way you can adjust the cradle fit to a different boat if you upgrade in the future. If you think you may upgrade to a larger boat, then choose a larger lift – you can always place a smaller boat on a large lift, but not vice versa.
What about shallow docks?
If you tend to dock in shallow water, then a cradle lift may not work well for you. Instead, get a sling lift. These use fabric slings that are better suited to docking shallow water.
What materials are lifts made from?
Generally, you have a choice between stainless or galvanized steel. In freshwater applications, galvanized is a cost effective option. If you will be installing on salt water, then opt for stainless, since it won't corrode.
Can a lift be installed on floating dock?
You do not need a fixed dock for a boat lift. They are installed much the same as a floating dock, in that they are anchored to the ground or the piers.
Are there any maintenance concerns?
The main maintenance need is to lubricate all moving parts with a marine lubricant periodically throughout the boating season, as well as checking the cables for fraying and replacing as needed. You can leave the boat lift in the water year-round if freezing isn't a concern, but it should be pulled and stored dry if your water freezes over.
Contact a company like Abbotts' Construction Services Inc. for more information and assistance.