Large boat on an elevator boat lift at a Miami Beach marina.

What Is An Elevator Boat Lift and Is It Right For You?

An elevator boat lift, like a standard lift or floating boat lift, is used to elevate boats out of the water and to lower them back in. This lift works similarly to an elevator, with the boat being placed in the cradle of the lift and then raised from the water to dock or lowered into the water level to launch.

All these lift apparatuses offer workable solutions for boat owners who want to keep their vessels in top condition without having to worry about the hassle and expense of moving them in and out of the water manually. The question is, which type of boat lift offers the right criteria that are best suited for your needs? (See some elevator lift reviews here.)

Do you need a side-mount boat lift?

Some boat owners are in a situation where they must navigate their boat in a narrow waterway or a shared slip to dock and launch it. Other situations are such that pilings aren’t an option due to water depth, a seawall, obstructions, a steep embankment, or even restrictions that disallow outboard pilings. So if a 4-piling boat lift or pneumatic lift technology won’t work for you, then you may need a seawall-mounted boat lift or a side-mount lift.

Side mount boat lifts allow boats to be docked and stored in places with difficult docking solutions and limited clearance. If you have a large, sturdy dock built on strong pilings or if you have a large seawall, a side-mounted elevator boat lift might work for your needs.

A twin-engine maritime patrol boat of France's national military police force, sits on a side-mount boat lift in a boatyard.
A twin-engine French maritime patrol boat rests on a side-mount elevator boat lift in a shared slip in a coastal marina.

Water Depth and Bottom

Elevator boat lifts can save some expense when you need a lift in deeper waters. Rather than an apparatus that must be mounted to pilings at the bottom, the option of a side mount allows a less expensive option for a boatlift in deeper water.

The same is true in hazardous-water conditions or when driving pilings becomes difficult due to the bottom being rocky.

Larger Dry Weight Capacities

Elevator boat lifts can be found with different types of power and operational design. The most traditional of these raise and lower your boat using a system of cables and pulleys. Other types of elevator lifts include chain drive, direct drive, and gearless boat lift systems.

Many elevator boat lifts can be installed in either a vertical or an inclined position. These factors contribute to their ability to handle much larger boats, making them a good option on very large bodies of water such as the great lakes or oceanfront marinas.

When an Elevator Boat Lift Won't Serve Your Needs

If you’re looking for an easy way to move your boat in and out of the water, and the criteria above match your boating needs, then elevator boat lifts can be an excellent choice.

However, it must be noted that many of our readers live near lakes or rivers which are not conducive for an elevator lift. The best option for many (if not most) of these applications is a floating lift (or pneumatic boat lift). These operate with an air compressor and flotation tanks, they are best suited where the water level can vary, rising and falling significantly during heavy rains, droughts, or seasonal drawdowns.

Wherever you find lots of floating docks in use, then floating boat lifts tend to be the best option on those waters. For instance, LOTO Lift is a boat lift dealer and manufacturer at Lake of the Ozarks. Our floating lifts are designed and engineered for large lakes like ours, as well as Table Rock Lake, Grand Lake, and others across the U.S.

So, if you’re looking for a reputable boat lift dealer with top-rated products, please contact us. We love helping customers get the most out of their lake life and boating experience!

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