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Boat lift buying guide

Purchasing a boat lift is a significant investment that requires careful consideration of your needs and doing thorough research to find a suitable model. This boat lift buying guide will walk you through the key factors to weigh when selecting the perfect lift for your vessel and watercraft needs. What do you consider about boat lifts at Grand Lake Oklahoma.

Determine Lift Capacity

The most crucial factor is ensuring the boat lift has sufficient weight and size capacity. The lift capacity should be 15-20% greater than your boat’s gross weight to accommodate extra passengers and gear. Under-capacity lifts risk mechanical failure and can be extremely dangerous. Check your boat’s specs for its gross weight transporting capacity.

Choose Lift Type

The most common lift types are free-standing, floating dock mount, fixed dock mount, and personal watercraft (PWC) lift. Free-standing lifts are independent platforms ideal for versatile placement. Dock-mounted lifts integrate with your dock design. PWC lifts are lighter duty for small crafts like jet skis.

Consider Your Dock

For dock-mounted lifts, ensure the ride will adequately fit the dock width, height, construction, and pilings. The lift system must align with the docking framework for smooth functioning. Check that docks have adequate flotation and strength to support the combined boat and lift weight.

Materials and Durability

Top-quality lifts are made from marine-grade aluminum or stainless steel to resist corrosion and electrolysis. Look for powder coating and stainless steel hardware for maximum longevity in fresh or saltwater. The winch, cables, pulleys, and drive system should be robust and over-sized.

Additional Features

Consider options like canopy frames, bunk pads, and guide-on piles for simplified centering when loading. Canopies shield your boat from sun and rain. Bunk pads cushion and prevent hull scratches. Guide-ons allow smooth, effortless positioning.

Brand Reputation and Warranties

Choose established brands like ShoreMaster, ShoreStation, Floe, or Hewitt for proven reliability and support. Look for extended warranties on structural integrity, hardware, cables, winches, and power systems for peace of mind. Avoid “no-name” lifts that may lack durability.

Professional Installation

Most reputable lifts require professional installation to uphold the warranty. Certified technicians ensure proper anchoring, alignment, leveling, wiring, and integration with your specific dock setup. Attempting DIY installation often voids the warranty if problems arise.

Routine Lift Maintenance

Plan to consistently inspect cables, connections, pulleys, and grease lift components. Test winch operation and watch for signs of wear or loosening parts over time. Keep batteries charged and follow all maintenance guidelines.

Investing in the ideal boat lift tailored to your needs will provide years of hassle-free, safe enjoyment. Carefully evaluate lift capacity, construction, features, and warranty coverage using this guide when selecting equipment. Partnering with a knowledgeable boat lift dealer is also recommended for their expert guidance.

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