Large speed boat resting on a shallow water floating boat lift.

Boat Lift Systems: How To Choose the Best Lift for Missouri Lakes

When it comes to boat lift systems, there are many different options on the market. So which is the best for Missouri lakes? Here is a brief overview of some of the most popular boat lift systems and their pros and cons.

Boat lifts come in various shapes and sizes, but they all have one goal: to keep your boat safe and dry while you’re not using it. There are many different factors to consider when choosing a boatlift system, such as the size of your boat, the weight of your boat, the water conditions where you’ll be using it, and the type of boat you have.

The 5 Most Popular Types of Boat Lift Systems

Five main types of boat lifters are floating lifts, pile-mounted lifts, bottom-standing lifts, drive-on boat lifts, and dock-mounted suspension lifts.

  • Floating lifts (also called pneumatic lifts) are powered by compressed air, which makes them very lightweight and easy to operate. They can also adeptly handle water that is constantly changing levels.
  • Pile-mounted lifts are supported by posts that are driven into the lake bottom. They are very sturdy but can be challenging to install and remove.
  • Bottom-standing lifts have legs resting on the lake’s bottom. They are great for shallow water but can be less stable in deeper water.
  • Drive-on boat lifts only work with boats with outboard engines or an inboard/outboard, and the propeller needs to be lifted out of the water. They will not work correctly with inboards or ski boats. An important consideration is whether your lake gets large waves since the wake can move the lift.
  • Dock-mounted suspension lifts (also called cradle lifts) are mounted on a dock or pier. They are great for deep water but installation and maintenance can be difficult.

Since each primary lift system category has different versions and options, it may be helpful to speak with some nearby boat lift dealers.

Why Boat Dock Lift Systems Work Best in Missouri

Of all types of boat dock lift systems, we specifically believe that floating boat lifters are the best of the best. So much so that we chose to build our entire company on this premise, which has proven to be one of the best decisions we could have made. Why? Most Missouri lakes that allow private dock ownership have fluctuating water level management for seasonal rains, droughts, and annual drawdowns for lake seawalls and dock repairs. And marinas can have strict requirements for lifts that fit in their slips. In these applications, floating boat dock lift systems reign supreme!

Underside view of a tritoon on a floating boat lift at Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri.
Picture: Underside view of a tritoon on a pneumatic lift at Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri.

Boat Lift Brands: Do They Matter?

When choosing a boatlift, it’s essential to consider the brand. Some brands are more reputable than others, and you should try to choose a brand with a good reputation for quality and customer service.

  • Boat lift manufacturers typically offer warranties on their products, so it’s wise to make sure you choose a brand that will stand behind its products.
  • Another critical consideration for installing a lift in a marina is that many marinas will only allow certain brands. Be sure to check with the marina before making your choice.
  • Remember to ask your dealer about parts availability, installation fees, and service costs. Boat lift parts, maintenance, and service fees vary widely.

Prices of Boat Dock Lifts

Prices are one of the most searched terms for boat hoists. And rightly so, since spending your money wisely is more important than ever. Here’s a quick and very general overview of what you can expect to pay for the most popular types of boatlifts.

  • PWC Lifts: $2000 – $4000
  • Small Boat Lifts: $4000 – $7000
  • Mid-Sized Boat Lifts: $7000 – $12,000
  • Large Boat Lifts: $12,000 – $20,000

A good rule of thumb for today’s market is to expect to pay roughly $2500 per ton of your boat’s dry weight.

Boat on a floating boat lift with 3 propellers safely above the water.
Floating lift systems ensure that your props are clear of the water and large wakes.

DIY Boat Lifts: Do They Make Sense?

DIY boat lifts can be a great way to save money, but they can also be risky. So, thorough research is imperative before building a lift for your boat yourself. If you’re handy with tools, have some experience with carpentry, and have some engineering ability, then a DIY boat lift might be right for you. Most boat owners choose to purchase a new or used lift built by a reputable manufacturer.

Are Boat Lift Kits Worth It?

Kits are often cheaper than purchasing a lift or hiring a professional, and you can personalize your lift to fit your specific needs. However, if you’re not confident in your ability to build a lifting system, it’s best to leave the job to the professionals.

Hiring a professional to build and install a custom lake lift is often the safer option. They will have the experience and expertise to ensure that your lift is installed correctly and safely. However, this can be a more expensive option. It’s important to factor in all the costs associated with hiring a professional installer, such as labor costs, materials costs, and parts shipping costs.

In the end, only you can know whether or not a boat lift kit is worth it. Do your research, weigh the pros and cons, and make the best decision. If you choose a boat lift kit, make sure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions accurately.

3 Simple Boat Lift Options for New Boaters

Boating is one of the most enjoyable watersports in America. And if you are new to boating, you’ll need to learn how you prefer to get your boat in and out of the water. So whether you use a trailer and store your boat or opt for a boat lifting device at your dock, you will need an option that fits your budget and lifestyle.

Fortunately, there are three basic choices that any amateur boater can use to safely and efficiently lift their boat. Learn about these options to safely enjoy and protect your boat.

This method is easier with two people and may take a considerable time to get good at it. This is the most affordable option for lifting a boat from the water. 

To take your boat out, you’ll back your trailer into the water far enough that you can drive your boat most of the way onto the trailer. When you get near the front of the trailer and hit some resistance, give your engine a good thrust to push the boat the rest of the way onto the trailer. Pull the boat out of the water and away from the ramp to finish securing it for hauling.

When putting your boat in and out alone, you must tie up at a nearby dock while getting your trailer in the water. If no docks are available, pull your boat up to shore and use a rope to secure your boat to something while you retrieve your trailer. This can be a fairly time-consuming process by yourself.

The most efficient way to lift a boat is to buy a high-quality boat lift. These lifts use pneumatics or hydraulics and winches for lowering and lifting boats, making the process much less labor-intensive than other methods. While there are various types of boat hoists, we typically recommend floating boat lifts for most freshwater lakes. 

Speaking with a boat lift dealer about the advantages and disadvantages of either new or used boat lifting devices for your situation is wise. For used boat lifts, Craigslist is a favorite resource for many. Others prefer to buy used boat lifters from a dealer.

The most hassle-free way to lift a boat is by renting a slip at a marina with the proper lifting equipment. Slips with boat lifts can be rented from many marinas, and they are great for those who don’t have the strength or patience to use a boat ramp. However, this method may be more expensive for younger boaters and includes regular maintenance costs to ensure the safety of your boat.

Inspect Before Lifting Your Boat. 

For any boat lift systems, it’s important to inspect your equipment thoroughly and keep it maintained regularly. Check to make certain that all chains, lines, straps, and dock attachments are in good condition, and replace them when necessary. Also, check the weight capacity of boat lifts to avoid damaging the equipment or the boat. After checking your equipment and confirming it is safe, go ahead and dock or trailer your boat.

Perform Proper Maintenance After the Lift is Complete.

After safely lifting your boat, following through with proper maintenance techniques is important. This should include inspecting the hull for any damage that may have occurred during the lift. Likewise, it’s smart to regularly inspect the bow of your boat, as it is more likely to get scuffed and damaged.

Additionally, if you used a manual winch to perform the lift, make sure that it is properly lubricated and re-tensioned, so it remains in good working order. These maintenance steps can help ensure your boat lifting experience runs as smoothly and safely as possible.

6800 LT set up for a Tritoon in a 10' wide slip.

How to Save Money on Your Boat Hoist Purchase

The cost of a boat lift can be a significant investment, so you’ll want to ensure you get the best possible deal. Here are a few tips on how to save money on your purchase:

  1. Shop around and compare prices from different dealers.
  2. Ask about any discounts that might be available.
  3. Inquire about financing options and explore all your options.
  4. Don’t be afraid to negotiate the price.
  5. Consider whether to buy a used boat lift near you.
  6. Ask your insurance company if they can give you a break on boat insurance when you use a boat dock lift system. It never hurts to check!

Save Time and Money with the Best Boat Lifters for Missouri Lakes

Are you looking for a boat lift system that is easy to use and built to last?

LOTO Lift has been manufacturing the best lake lift systems for lakes in Missouri for many years. We strive to constantly upgrade our products while providing you with the best possible experience. Therefore, we take pride in our products and back them up with one of the most extensive warranties in the industry.

Find out more about our products and how they can save you time and money. Click here to get started:

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