Whether you live right on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico in Florida, or along one of the many inland waterways, it is a good idea to purchase a boat lift for your property. A good boat lift protects your boat against the jostling of the waves and the beating it could take when storm surges roll in or the tide ebbs and flows. Selecting the right boat lift requires consideration. Before just picking the most affordable model, think about the following factors.
Manual or Electric?
It might seem foolish to purchase a manual boat lift when there are so many models available with a powered winch, but there is more to consider than just power vs. manual effort. While a manual boat lift requires physical labor on your behalf to crank the wheel and raise your boat, electric boat lifts use a small motor to operate a winch and lift your boat out of the water. However, the decision isn’t as simple as physical labor compared to pushing a button.
In order to use an electric boat lift, you’ll need to have convenient access to a power source. Running electrical lines and using a motor requires extra maintenance after your boat lift is installed.
Length and Width
As you might expect, the length and width of your boat impact the type of boat lift you consider installing on your coastal property. The beam of your lift needs to support your boat, while its strength and weight capacity should also be able to accommodate your boat. Take care to think about future upgrades you may make, and ensure that the boat lift you install now can handle your current boat as well as larger vessels you may buy in the future.
If your home is located along a shallow stretch of shoreline, you may want to consider purchasing a sling-style lift rather than a rigid, cradle design. The straps in a sling model lie flat on the bottom, making it easy for you to load your boat into the lift. As long as you can float your boat in close to the lift, you’ll be able to raise it out of the water with your sling lift.
The most popular materials used in the construction of boat lifts are stainless steel and galvanized steel. For residents of Florida’s Gulf Coast, stainless steel is the recommended material in boat lifts because of the potential for corrosion in saltwater. You need to keep in mind the impact of UV rays, corrosion, and cracking when selecting the material used in the construction of your boat lift.
Every aspect of boat ownership comes down to proper maintenance. From your vessel itself to your dock and boat lift, owning a boat means keeping an eye on the maintenance needs of your watercraft. Check with your installer to learn about the care required for the cradle, winch, cables, and motor (if electric) to ensure that your boat lift operates effectively for years to come.
If you’re considering purchasing a new boat lift for your property, and have questions about which boat lift is right for you, contact us today!