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Choosing The Right Boat Dock Lifts For Your Waterfront Investment

A boat lift increases the pride, value, and convenience of your waterfront investment. It also prevents algae build-up, harsh weather conditions, and dock contact that damages your gel coat and reduces top speed and gas mileage.

When choosing a dock lift, it’s important to understand the recommended weight capacity. Exceeding the maximum load limit can damage the lift and its equipment. It’s better to talk with Boat Dock Lifts Charleston SC professionals to be sure.

boat dock lift


A boat dock lift keeps your watercraft out of the water and is safe from damage when you’re not using it. It’s an essential piece of waterfront equipment for anyone who enjoys spending time on the water.

The structure of the boat lift will depend on the location you plan to install it in. Every body of water has calm and rough areas, so you will want to choose a lift that is appropriate for the location. In calm water, the structural strength of a standard-built lift is sufficient and will not need to be altered, but in rough locations, a higher level of strength might be necessary.

If you live on a lake with a large water depth range, you will need to look into piling mount boat lifts that can be adjusted to match the changing waters. This type of lift is attached to the dock itself, meaning that the structure must be strong enough for the lift and the weight of the boat.

Another option for a location with fluctuating water levels is a floating dock. These types of boat lifts rise and fall with the water, allowing access to your boat at any point. They are also a good choice for people who want to keep their boat out of the water but need to be able to access it quickly when they want to go on the water.

Keeping your boat on a lift can help protect it from marine growth that may require bottom paint, and it can extend the lifespan of your boat. It can also help prevent any potential theft. Using a boat lift also makes it much easier to use your boat, saving you valuable time that would have been spent walking down to the shore and tying up on the dock.

The way that a boat lift works will depend on the type you choose, but most are relatively simple to use. They will have a set of bunk boards that the hull rests on, and the boat can be raised and lowered by pressing a button on either a panel located on the dock or a remote control. Once the boat is in the water, you can then drive it away from the cradle and back it out of the lift system.

Water Depth

Generally, boat lifts are designed to work in water that’s at least three feet deep. However, some boat lift designs are better suited for shallow water than others. Choosing the right lift for your waterfront conditions is important, as it will ensure that your boat is safe and easy to access in any tide condition.

Consistently high or low water levels can also impact a boat lift’s effectiveness, so you need to look for one that’s designed to accommodate those types of conditions. The best boat lifts for fluctuating water levels will be those that are designed to rise and fall with the tide without being affected by it, and they may have different components that can adjust to different water depths.

Many boat owners use a simple old-fashioned method to determine the water depth of their docking area: lowering a weight attached to a rope until it touches the bottom of the lake or riverbed. This method is time-consuming and may require a mechanical winch, but it can be accurate if used correctly. If you prefer a more modern way to measure the water depth of your dock, some electronic options can do the job quickly and accurately. These devices have a sending unit that sends out a short burst of sound into the water and a receiving unit that measures how long it takes for the reflected sound to return to the unit. Using this information, the sending and receiving units calculate the speed of sound in the water to find the depth.

If the water at your location is too shallow for most boat lift options, both CraftLander and ShoreStation offer deep-water leg kits that can be installed in ten feet of water or more. These extensions feature a combination of longer inner legs and bracing to give your lift additional stability in deeper conditions. To learn more about the boat lift options available for your waterfront, contact a ShoreMaster dealer near you today. Our experts are happy to help you select the perfect premium dock system and boat lift to round out your waterfront experience.


As the name suggests, boat lifts raise your vessel above water so you can store it on your dock. This keeps the hull free from organism growth, saltwater corrosion, and other damage while also keeping your boat in pristine condition. In addition to reducing wear and tear, this also makes it easier to access your vessel.

When choosing a lift, it’s important to consider the amount of space you have in your dock as well as the strength you need. While it may be tempting to go with the smallest possible lift, this can end up causing problems later on in terms of stability and durability.

Additionally, if you’re in an area of rough waters, extreme stability, and sturdiness are essential to withstand the beating that can come with the movement of waves and currents. Look for a lift with a greater amount of support, bracing, and reinforcement to make sure it can hold up against those harsh conditions.

Another consideration is the weight limit of your lift. Most lifts are listed with a recommended capacity for boats, which is usually calculated based on the dry weight of your boat. This includes the weight of passengers, accessories, and equipment. Always follow the recommended limits to avoid damaging your lift or putting yourself and others at risk.

Lastly, make sure you choose a lift that’s compatible with your slip’s width. This can save you time and money by ensuring your lift is a good fit right from the start. This will prevent you from having to rework your dock or rework the lift later on down the road.

There are many different types of boat lifts on the market, with each type offering its unique advantages. For example, a 4-post conventional lift is ideal for locations that experience frequent storms or other intense weather as its design makes it strong and durable against the elements. Other options include a piling-mounted lift, a floating lift, or a drive-on lift. Make sure to consider the type of boat you have, the area in which you’ll be storing it, and its water depth measurements when selecting a boat lift for your dock.

Floating Dock

Floating docks are the perfect solution for areas that don’t allow stationary docks with legs or piles. They’re also a great choice for those who want to protect the lake or river bottom by keeping the dock from contacting the sediment. Because they float, floating docks are also easier to install and remove for the winter. They’re also less invasive than docks with piles and legs, which means they won’t damage the soil underneath.

Choosing the right floating dock depends on the type of boat and location you’ll be using it in. Some brands, like Poralu Marine, have modules that allow you to add or remove sections as your needs change. Other manufacturers have models that work for saline or freshwater environments, as well as ones that are designed to support large boats up to 10,000 pounds. The type of dock you choose will also influence the features and accessories you’ll need. For example, additional safety railings are a good idea for exceptionally rough or deep waters and for docks that children will be using. Storage boxes and benches are also useful.

To ensure your floating dock is stable, it’s a good idea to incorporate weights into the design. These can be concrete blocks, metal chains, or a combination of both. The weights will help keep the dock from moving, and they should be evenly distributed across the entire length of the platform. Too little weight will be ineffective, while too much could cause the dock to sink below the surface.

Choosing the best-floating dock for your needs requires careful consideration of several factors, including water depth measurements, soil firmness, wind conditions, wave/wake strength, and slip spacing. With a bit of research, you’ll be able to find the perfect dock for your unique situation. And if you’re not confident in your DIY skills, it’s always possible to hire a professional. That way, you can be sure your new boat lift is built correctly and will last a long time. This will increase your resale value and make it a safe and practical option for years to come.