Boat up on a pontoon boat lift at Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri

Important Things to Know Before Buying a Pontoon Boat Lift

Buying a pontoon boat is exciting. You probably envision yourself out on the water with your family or best buds, catching some fish, and enjoying great conversation. However, before you can take your boat on the lake, you need a pontoon boat lift to get you there.

Unfortunately, many owners find the process of picking out the right boat lift to be a bit tricky. Even if you find plenty of pontoon boat lifts for sale, you’ll still have to narrow down your selection. Which style do you need? The best lift depends on several factors, including the weight, height, and even the location of your boat dock. Here are some pointers on how to narrow down your choices.

Understanding Boat Lifts

The purpose of a pontoon boat lift is to make boating easier by enabling you to launch your vessel from dock to water and then elevate it safely to the upright position when you return to your dock. Without a boat lift, you would need to either leave your boat in the water or load it out on a trailer every time you want to use it. Did you know that Aluminum Gelcoat is porous and will, therefore, allow algae and Zebra Mussels to adhere to it? It will also retain some water. Your boat doesn’t just move slower through the lake due to the hull growth; it will also sit lower due to the added weight & drag.

It’s important to know that not just any boat lift will do. You need one specially designed for the unique style and shape of a pontoon boat. Boat lifts designed for pontoon boats often require two or three sets of bunk boards. Most of the boats on local lakes have a V-hull, but the pontoon rides on either two or three sets of “logs” or “tubes.” Hoisting a pontoon boat in and out of the water requires the right support to protect it fully.

A shallow water pontoon lift supports the boat safely.

The Elements of Pontoon Lifts

If you search online for “pontoon boat lifts for sale near me,” you’ll probably pull up a long list of results. However, not every lift you find will be suitable for your specific boat. These are the things you need to take into consideration before purchasing a new boat lift:

The Location

Too many boat owners don’t think about where they will dock their boat, but the location should be one of the first things to consider. If you need to lift your boat in the main channel, for instance, you’ll need a robust lift. It takes more structural strength to lift a pontoon in rough waters than it does in a shallow no-wake cove. 

The Water Depth

Shallow water sometimes makes lifting a boat more difficult. If the water levels are too low, your lift may not be able to submerge sufficiently to allow your pontoon to load and unload. For this reason, it’s necessary to select a boat lift that can both submerge sufficiently despite the shallow water, and still raise the pontoon high enough. Remember, water levels can change day-to-day, so keep this in mind when looking at pontoon boat lifts for sale. 

The Dock Slip

How wide is the dock slip you plan to use? You need to make sure the boat lift you buy is wide enough to accommodate it. If you choose the wrong sized boat lift, you risk damaging both the boat and the dock. Furthermore, it may not even work at all.

The Weight

Pontoon boats come in varying sizes and weights. Each boat lift has different weight capacities, and the one you buy needs to be able to handle the weight of your vessel, both when dry and fully loaded.

The Length

The length of the boat MUST be factored in order to best align the center of the boat’s gravity with the center of gravity of your boat lift. By doing this you are using leverage to maximize the lift’s capacity and minimizing the strain on the dock.

Pontoon lifted on a shallow water pontoon boat lift at Lake of the Ozarks

Buy Your Lift from the Experts

You need the best lift systems for your pontoon or Tritoon boat. Instead of searching aimlessly for “pontoon boat lifts for sale near me,” let our team at LOTO Lift lead you in the right direction. We are the local leader when it comes to fitting lifts for all types of boats, including pontoons and Tritoons. When you need the strongest, most durable boat lift on the market, you can trust our expert advice. Get in touch with us to pick out the one that’s best suited for your pontoon boat.

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