Boat Lift Installation Overview
What is Boat Lift Installation?
A boat lift raises your boat from the water, protecting it from the elements while still keeping it docked and ready to return to the water. Boat lifts are a unique storage opportunity because they protect your boat from the water without having to move it onto dry land.
What Problems It Solves:
Boats are made to be in the water, but that doesn’t mean you can keep them in the water year-round without consequences. Moisture can be a damaging force to nearly everything, and boats are no exception. In addition to simple water damage, keeping your boat in the water invites damage from other sources, including:
- Salt (if left in saltwater)
- Other minerals (even in freshwater)
- Aquatic life
A boat lift can keep your watercraft dry while still allowing you to use it more easily than if you kept it in dry storage on land.
Advantages & Disadvantages of Boat Lift Installation
- Protects the structural integrity of your boat from water damage
- Decreases aesthetic upkeep (e.g., paint jobs, stain removal)
- Allows for easy return to the water
- No fees for storage rental
- Can be expensive to install
- May require permits or approval
- May not offer complete protection if storm waves get too high
Different Types of Boat Lift Installation
In general, there are four different types of boat lifts you can install:
- Piling mount boat lift: You’ll need a pier or existing piles to mount this type of boat lift. A piling mount boat lift works well no matter how deep the water is or how sloped the bottom is. However, it often requires electricity.
- Bottom standing boat lift: This lift is installed next to the dock, so you’ll need shallow water and a strong, even bottom. Both manual and electric versions work for bottom standing boat lifts.
- Floating boat lift: With a floating boat lift, heavy-duty bags are attached to the bottom of your boat and filled with air, lifting the watercraft out of the water. When you want to set sail, you simply deflate the bags. Floating boat lifts are great on bodies of water with fluctuating waves, but they may require extra maintenance since the air bags are always in the water. They also require electricity to inflate and deflate the bags.
- Suspension boat lift: Also known as a cradle boat lift, this version uses strong cables to suspend the boat above the water. You can have a manual or electric suspension boat lift.
Costs of Boat Lift Installation
There are many aspects of your boat lift that will affect the cost of installation, including:
- Size of the lift (dependent on the size of your watercraft)
- Type of lift you choose (piling mount, bottom standing, floating, or suspension)
- Characteristics of the body of water you’re docking in (depth, saltwater vs. freshwater, slope and composition of the bottom)
- Whether the lift is manual or electric
- Whether the dock is suited for a boat lift or needs to be altered before installation
- The cost of any necessary permits
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