If you have a boat and a private dock and are considering investing in your first boat lift, then you have likely learned about the advantages of these lifts and keeping your boat out of the water when not in use. Boats kept on lifts are protected from the corrosion that both fresh and salt water can cause, algae growth, and damage that can occur when debris in the water strikes them.
In addition, keeping your boat on a lift can eliminate the nuisance of having to tie and untie mooring lines every time you embark and disembark, and can even make entering and exiting the boat safer for passengers.
However, you may believe some boat lift myths that are interfering with your ability to select the right boat lift for you. Read on to learn about four boat lift myths and the facts behind these common misconceptions.
1. Freshwater and Saltwater Lifts Are Made Alike
Materials used to create saltwater boat lifts can differ from those used to create freshwater lifts.
While freshwater boat lifts are made with strong materials that are resistant to the corrosion that comes from contact with water, lifts designed for use in salt water must also be resistant to corrosion stemming from contact with salt. Salt is a caustic substance that can degrade metals much more quickly than water alone can.
For this reason, freshwater boat lifts are often made from galvanized steel, while boat lifts designed for use in salt water are typically made from stainless steel or aluminum. Both stainless steel and aluminum resist saltwater corrosion much more effectively than galvanized steel can.
2. Lift Box Beams Offer No Benefits Over I-Beams
While there are many quality boat lifts on the market today made with I-beams, box beams have unique benefits that I-beams do not.
Box beams, which are shaped like rectangular or square tubes with hollow middles, typically have more horizontal and torsional strength than I-beams. Torsional strength is the beam’s resistance to breaking when twisted or turned. Box beams are also considered much easier to work with during the construction process, which aids in quick, accurate boat lift installation.
3. Only Dry Boat Weight Matters When Choosing Lift Size
You should always choose the weight capacity of your boat lift based on its wet weight instead of its dry weight.
When calculating the dry weight of a boat, manufacturers do not include the weight of fuel, other fluids, and boat accessories in their equations. However, the wet weight of a boat does include the weight of these items.
To calculate your boat’s wet weight, take its dry weight and add the weight of a full fuel tank, any water you store on your boat, and any watersports equipment you keep on your vessel.
Note that if your boat was equipped with a tower when you purchased it, then the weight of this tower may be included in your boat’s dry weight calculation. However, if you added an aftermarket tower to your vessel, then be sure to also include the tower weight when calculating your boat’s wet weight.
After you calculate your boat’s wet weight, choose a lift with a weight capacity that slightly exceeds this weight. However, do not be afraid to install a lift with a weight capacity that greatly exceeds the weight of your boat. While you should never install an undersized boat lift, installing a slightly oversized lift can actually extend the lifespan of your lift.
4. Only Boat Design Matters When Choosing Lift Style
There are many boat lift styles on the market today. While boat specifications, especially vessel size and style, do matter when choosing a lift style, you must also keep in mind the construction of your dock and the depth of the water where it sits when selecting the right lift style for your needs.
The main three types of boat lifts include: floating, suspended, and bottom standing lifts. Floating lifts are best for floating docks, while bottom-standing lifts work well with fixed docks located in shallow water. On the other hand, suspended boat lifts work best with boats stored on fixed docks in deeper water.
However, before installing any type of boat lift, you must ensure that your dock is sturdy enough to support the lift. If it is not, then structural reinforcements may need to be added to the dock before lift installation is performed.
In addition, if your dock is equipped with a roof, the height of this roof must also be taken into consideration if you would like to install an up-and-over style lift that transfers a boat onto the top of a dock after lifting it out of the water.
If you plan to add a boat lift to your private dock to increase the convenience of boat ownership and protect your vessel from the damage that can accompany frequent wet storage, then keep these four boat lift myths and facts in mind when choosing your lift. Contact the marine construction experts at Abbotts’ Construction Services, Inc., for expert boat lift installation today.