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How To Choose The Correct Capacity Of Your Boat Lift


What Is A Boat Lift?

Transporting a boat from one place to another without actually sailing or driving it to the second location requires a boat lift. But what it is exactly?

A boat lift is a machine or device used to lift the vessel from the water for cleaning, repainting, repairing, and other purposes like transferring it from one place to another. It is also used to prevent damage caused by boats being in the water for too long.

Boating experts and experienced boat owners strongly recommend elevating different kinds of water vessels to avoid moisture absorption that may cause deterioration of its exterior as well as damage from the fluctuation of water levels during extreme weather conditions. Also, having boat lifts to raise the vessel provides ease in getting it in and out of the water for maintenance inspections and repairs.

How To Choose A Boat Lift

Vertical boat lifts should have the appropriate capacity, depending on the vessel you have. Below are some of the things you should determine to choose the correct boat lift capacity to use on your watercraft.

Overall Weight

Measuring the weight of a boat, pontoon, or any kind of watercraft is more complex than simply using weighing equipment. In fact, experts explain that to get an accurate measurement of the overall weight, one must consider its dry weight as well as those of the gear, fuel, water, and other non-factory inclusions.

Here are some tips for determining the overall weight.

  1. Check the boat’s dry weight in the specification sheet or brochure provided upon purchase. If this isn’t available, you can get this information online via the NADA guides website.
  2. To determine the gasoline weight, you should consider the temperature, blend, and type of fuel used. However, experts estimate it to be 6 pounds per gallon or about 0.72 kilograms per liter. With this information, you should be able to get the fuel weight by multiplying it to your boat’s full tank capacity.
  3. Like computing for the fuel weight, water weight can be taken by multiplying the total capacity of your boat’s waste and freshwater tanks as well as all live wells available with the estimated 8 pounds per gallon or around 0.96 kilograms per liter.
  4. Next, you should add the dry weight of additions to your vessel. This includes wakeboard towers, additional seating, bimini tops, generators, coolers, swim platforms, and air conditioning units.
  5. The overall weight of your boat should also include everything that is stored in it like skis, scuba equipment, wakeboards, and others.
  6. After adding all these and coming up with the overall weight of your boat, be sure to add a 20 percent margin and choose the next higher boat lift weight capacity.

Cradle Beam Length

Before deciding on a boat lift, you should also measure the cradle beam length to avoid having one that is too big or too small. Experts recommend measuring the width of the boat’s beam and add a four-inch or 12-inch cushion on both sides, depending on whether you intend to use dock pile bumpers or guideposts. Also, you should consider adding one diameter in between the center of the piles to get the measurement of the appropriate cradle beam.

Lift Size

Aside from weight and cradle beam size, you should also determine what size of boat lift is appropriate to the water condition where you intend to dock your vessel. One of the most important factors here is the depth of the water at low tide.

After taking all these into consideration, you should be able to determine the right boat lift capacity to keep your water vessel safe and secure.

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