Choosing the Right Boat Lift

Choosing the Right Boat Lift: A Comprehensive Guide by Boat Type

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When it comes to protecting your boat (which is always a significant investment), you have to remember that it’s not just in danger when out on the open sea. Even when docked, your boat needs to be kept safe, which is a problem, seeing as you’re usually not around.

Also, keep in mind that the water is not what it used to be, and even if it were, no alloy would be completely resistant to all the different compounds that can be found in the water. This is why taking it out of the water is usually the best available solution. The best way to do so is with the right lift.

This also gives you more storage opportunities, as well as a simpler maintenance plan.

However, there are so many different lift types, each more suitable for a different type of boat and circumstances. Here’s a comprehensive guide on how you can pick the right one for your boat. 

1. Pontoon boats

When dealing with a pontoon boat, you should have a lift specifically made to fit pontoons and tritons. This is because it requires an adjustable width. You also need a slightly wider lifting beam so that it can accommodate the dual hull design of a pontoon.

This is much different than the standard V-hull of the boat, where a boat can rest on a single set of bunks. With a pontoon boat, you need three sets of bunks, in order to support each of the toons. 

Converting another type of lift is possible but never preferable. In order to do this safely, you would have to check the weight capacity of your existing lift and determine the exact dimensions and weight of your pontoon. You should also go to an authorized boat lift dealer and ask for a pontoon conversion kit. 

2. Fishing boat

The most common type of lifts for a fishing boat is a simple vertical lift, unless it’s a really big fishing boat. This way, whenever you’re not using it, you can just lift the boat out of water and prevent hull damage. Keep in mind that the size and weight of your boat matter, which is why you need to know the boat specification. If the boat is too large, you should get a heavy-duty hydraulic lift.

There are a few features that you want to look for when getting your fishing boat lift. First of all, you want to get a lift that’s compatible with shallow water areas. If you don’t do this, chances are that you’ll be prevented from accessing a lot of amazing fishing areas.

You also want to get an option for canopy, which will provide an extra protection from sun and rain. You never know how often you’ll use your fishing boat, which is why you want to have a reliable long-term solution on your side. After all, you could use a fishing boat on rare occasion, or you could spend your weekends this way. You always want to have more options. 

3. Sailboat

According to specialists for boat lifts from Minneapolis, the only suitable form of lift for sailboats are the ones with deep V cradles. Simply put, you need a lift that can accommodate the depth of the keel and the height of the mast, which is not as easy as it sounds. 

Because sailboats come in so many different shapes and sizes, you might have to get a custom cradle lift, so that you are sure that it matches the dimensions of a sailboat. You see, the key thing lies in ensuring a secure and balanced lift, which is why proper bunking options may be the key.

We’re not suggesting that other boats don’t come in different shapes and sizes but these differences are seldom as extreme. So, ensuring that dimensions are just right might make all the difference in the world.

Keep in mind that, while guides may be helpful, getting a professional to measure and recommend a custom solution is always the best. This is too big of an investment for you to take a risk.

4. Speedboats

Contrary to what you may expect, speedboats are quite heavy, especially proportionally to their size. This extra weight helps with steering and allows them to reliably perform some of the most difficult maneuvers. This, however, means that you need a more powerful lift. This is why hydraulic lifts are so great.

Also, speedboats are quite expensive, which is why you want to keep them out of water whenever you’re not using them. Hydraulic lifts are quite fast, which is why they’ll save you so much time when getting speedboats out of water. 

5. Cabin cruisers and yachts

When it comes to massive vessels like yachts and cabin cruisers, you need something huge, something like an elevator boat lifts. Are these expensive? Yes, but if you can afford a yacht, this shouldn’t be that big of a problem. 

This is where quality matters the most, which is why you need to look for sturdy, durable materials, that are actually capable of holding that size. You would expect that no one would be naive enough to try and skimp on materials for such a luxury (and niche) product but you would be surprised. You just can’t afford to take any chances. 

Also, this is where there are so many varieties of specific hull shapes and lengths, which is why you’ll have to look for a customized (or customizable) lift, as well. 

Wrap up

All in all, when choosing a boat lift, make sure that you pick it according to five different factors. The first three are quite intuitive – weight capacity, water depth, and hull design. These three can be found either in user manual or (in case of water depth) during an independent research. 

Now, when it comes to operational mechanisms and material used (two other factors you have to keep in mind), this is where you should listen to professionals. 

Lastly, as an extra tip, you need to take into consideration the maintenance. A good decision early on can save you a lot of trouble in the long run.



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