Boat Lift Comparison: 8 Things to Consider When Selecting a Boat Lift
Purchasing a boat lift can be complicating and there is a lot that you need to consider before making your selection. The lift you choose should suit the water where you will be boating, so your location is a key factor in choosing a proper boat lift system. Most boat lifts fall into two main categories: Traditional (overhead, four or eight post, and free-standing) or Floating. When deciding which type to choose, consider these 8 points.
1) Manual or Electric?
Traditional: Most traditional boat lifts require a power source or a lot of manual effort to work properly. The manual lifts are operated with a spinner wheel and the owner will have to operate it. Lifts with electric winches may be more convenient, but they do require access to a power source, which results in additional care and maintenance.
Floating: A JetDock has no moving parts, and requires no electricity to lift your boat out of the water. Since it has no motors, cables gears or electricity, it will always work. There is nothing to grease, nothing to lubricate, no rust, rot or corrosion.
2) Consider the Length and Width:
Traditional: Depending on the length of your boat, you will want to ensure that the beam and weight of the lift match your vessel. You may also want to consider future boat purchases and how the lift you’re selecting will be able to adapt to varying lengths and widths.
Floating: One of the true beauties of the JetDock is that it can be reconfigured at a moment's notice. Our boat lifts are custom made and come in a variety of lengths and widths to suit your boat perfectly. From universal to economy and extra wide, we know that there is a JetDock that will work with your boat. In fact, we even have combination lifts that work for boats and PWCs, and we also have Multi-Hull lifts that are perfect for your pontoon or catamaran. One of our PWC docks can become a 16' boat dock which can become a 26' boat dock all in an afternoon's work.
Traditional: Every boat lift manufacturer has a different approach to installation. It is typical to see the manufacturers require purchasers to work with local dealers for installation. This means you will want to do your homework first to evaluate their recommended help. Make sure to ask your neighbors and other lift owners for recommendations as well.
Floating: The JetDock assembly process is fast and straightforward in addition to being well documented in the Owner's Manual, instruction sheets and our instructional video. Depending on the location of your floating dock site, we are happy to provide professionals to install your dock for you (installation fees apply). Alternatively, we can ship your dock to you pre-assembled, which you connect together and install in-water. With so many installation options, you can put in as much or as little effort as you want to when installing your JetDock
Traditional: Again, this will differ depending on the manufacturer. However, most of the lifts on the market will come with a one year structural warranty, though some warranties may run for as long as 10 years.
Floating: A boat lift with a Lifetime Limited Warranty? It’s true! While this is virtually unheard of in the marine environment, JetDock offers this type of warranty to all original purchasers in the United States for the lifetime of their JetDock. It covers any defect in material and workmanship from personal, normal household use in accordance with the Owner’s Manual, Instructional Supplements, and the Assembly and Installation Video. Your Lifetime Limited Warranty means your JetDock will always work when you want it to.
Traditional: The two most common materials you will find in your boat lift search are stainless and galvanized. Depending on the type of water you are in, your choice may be different. Stainless can be better suited for lifts in saltwater, while in freshwater stainless could be considered a luxury. Depending on the materials and water type, you may have to deal with UV damage, corrosion, cracking and pollutants entering the water.
Floating: JetDock’s are the most environmentally friendly boat lifts and docks available. Our floating boat lift system is made of an advanced polymer that is non-hydroscopic, non-corrosive and non-polluting. The dock floats will not crack or degrade from UV or marine exposure, saving you time and money in the long run. JetDock's space-aged dock floats will also not pollute or contaminate your waters with creosote-soaked pilings, oxidizing metals, or oil-based stain coatings.
6) Consider a Custom or Adjustable Cradle:
Traditional: Boat lifts use bunks that cradle the hull. If your lift does not come with adjustable bunks you will have limited flexibility if you get a new boat later on.
Floating: All JetDock boat lifts are custom and can be rearranged for new watercraft. The hull track is in a recessed area and will guide and straighten your craft on its track. The adjustable feature of the boat lift means you can change it if you ever get a new boat.
7) Sling Style:
Traditional: Depending on your shoreline you may want to look at a sling-style lift rather than one with a cradle design. This may be particularly important if you have a shallow shore because the flexible slings lie flat on the bottom and you can dock as long as you are able to float in the water.
Floating: Even if you’re in a shallow shoreline, your JetDock will work. Unlike most mechanical boat lifting devices, or tank-type lifts, all of our lifts can operate without needing water depth through the entire length of the device- water depth is only required at the stern quadrant of the dock from where the drive-on takes place.
8) Maintenance Tips:
Traditional: There is a lot of maintenance that goes into a boat lift. On a traditional boat lift, you will want to monitor the cables that raise and lower your boat when operating the lifts. If the lift touches the bottom of the lake, cables can “unwrap” and the lift will no longer be level. Cables also need to be protected with spray lubricant to reduce friction and adverse effects of weather, especially in saltwater. Lifts do have to be greased occasionally as well. You will also want to pay close attention to the winches and maintain them properly throughout the year.
Floating: The dock floats are made from the finest high-density grade polymer available, and if one of your JetDock floats somehow breaks, the modular design makes it simple to replace that one piece without having to replace the whole system. However, there are several JetDock accessories that require simple, routine care. Mooring and winch lines should be inspected and replaced regularly. Your PWC and boat class winches and launch pulleys are marine grade and made by the best manufacturers in the world, however they still recommend occasional spritzing with a rust-inhibitive spray, and the same is true for after-market security systems.
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