Boat lift capacity: Myths vs. facts

Superlift vertical boat lift in ocean city holds boat above water

There are a lot of myths about boat lifts and boat lift capacity. And then there are facts.

As the leading manufacturer of custom boat lifts since 1982, IMM Quality Boat Lifts has designed, engineered, and manufactured tens of thousands of custom boat lifts. The company is committed to developing safe, dependable, and long-lasting boat lifts. Contractors have installed our boat lifts on six continents in all types of climates and settings.

Our team is experienced. That means we’ve heard a lot of myths, misconceptions, and untruths about boat lifts.

Below are three common myths about boat lifts and their corresponding facts:

Myth 1: Your existing boat lift can handle a bigger boat

A 10,000-pound boat lift is engineered for 10,000 pounds. Can the lift itself support 11,000 pounds? Most likely, yes. A well-engineered physical structure should not collapse when holding a vessel that’s moderately heavier than the original design. However, the lift structure is not the only factor that you need to be worried about when trying to fit a larger boat onto an existing lift.

Fact: Although the lift structure might not collapse under the additional weight, several other factors can make an overloaded lift dangerous to use. You may need cables and pulleys with larger diameters. Otherwise, they will snap under greater strain. Lifts are engineered to optimize the drive systems so they are as fast as possible. When upsizing a boat, the lift may struggle or quit working because the extra weight now exceeds the max torque of the drive system, which was designed for a lighter boat. Finally, the cable drop and bunk length are important because heavier boats are much longer. For example, when you upgrade from a 30-foot boat to a 40-foot boat, your boat will be very unstable on the lift unless you also upgrade to a larger capacity boat lift that has a wider cable drop and longer bunks.

Myth 2: 10,000 pounds is 10,000 pounds

While technically true, the distribution of the weight is important. Boats are like people. They come in all shapes and sizes. A 6’4” 225-pound NFL linebacker, for instance, has different proportions than a 5’6” 225-pound retiree. Likewise, an 8,000-pound cabin cruiser is built differently than an 8,000-pound sailboat.

In each example, the proportions and weight distribution are different. Therefore, they have a different center of gravity. Typical boats are heavier towards the stern because of the motors. It is important that the boat’s center of gravity is loaded directly over the center of the boat lift’s cradles.

Fact: A boat’s weight is not evenly distributed. Weight distribution is just as important as overall weight in choosing and setting up a boat lift. A 10,000-pound capacity, four-piling boat lift assumes each corner shares an equal load of 2,500 pounds. If a boat’s center of gravity is placed off-center to the lift, the boat lift will become overloaded and may collapse.

IMM Quality Boat Lifts has longstanding relationships with top boat manufacturers and brands across the world. Boat hulls come in many different shapes and sizes. By obtaining the hull design and center of gravity location from the manufacturer, our engineers will precisely lay out the boat lift and custom design a bunking system to safely lift any boat.

Myth 3: All boat lifts are the same

No matter the manufacturer, all boat lifts serve the same purpose. They lift boats out of the water. That is where the similarities end, though.

IMM Quality Boat Lifts has been family-owned and operated since 1982. The company has an experienced, in-house engineering team that uses the latest 3D modeling and structural analysis software. Our factory is a full-service machine shop. Our state-of-the-art equipment allows us to design and build our parts in-house using fully computerized systems, which guarantees precision and quality of workmanship. Finally, in-house quality control technicians inspect all lifts before shipping them to professional installers.

Fact: Boat Lifts manufactured by IMM Quality are built to last. In fact, that led to our slogan: “Built for a Lifetime.” Using aluminum and stainless steel, our lifts can weather the elements. Our lifts also are custom, built specifically for your boat, your water access spot, and your wishes. When customers have questions, our team is standing by to provide answers.

The company offers seven types of custom boat lifts:

Thank you for reading this far. Are you looking for a better boat lift? REQUEST A QUOTE and we’ll give you a call!

READ MORE: How to choose a boat lift with the correct capacity

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Boat lift capacity

While the physical structure might support slightly more than its rated capacity, other factors such as cable and pulley size, drive system torque, and bunk length can make it unsafe or inadequate for larger boats.

No, weight distribution and the boat's center of gravity are crucial. Proper alignment over the lift's cradles is necessary to avoid overloading and potential collapse.

Despite serving the same purpose, boat lifts vary significantly in quality, materials, and customization options, affecting their durability and suitability for specific boats and conditions.

IMM leverages relationships with boat manufacturers to obtain hull designs and center of gravity information, allowing them to custom design a bunking system for safely lifting any boat.

IMM offers a variety of custom boat lifts, including vertical, elevator, specialty, deck, personal watercraft, titan yacht, and boathouse lifts, tailored to specific needs and preferences.

Florida’s ‘Freedom Week’ brings sales tax savings to boaters

imm dual kayak lum

Florida boaters and outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy sales tax savings during the state’s new Freedom Week, which spans July 1-7.

Freedom Week is the second of three sales tax holidays in 2021. It follows Disaster Preparedness Week (May 28-June 6) and precedes the Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday (July 31-Aug. 9)

The Florida Legislature approved the trio of tax measures this spring, and Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the bill into law in May. DeSantis estimates the three programs will save Florida residents and businesses $168 million.

While Custom boat lifts designed, engineered, and manufactured by IMM Quality Boat Lifts will not fall under the tax exemption, we know our customers will appreciate the tax savings to stock up on boating accessories and fishing gear.

Tax breaks associated with Freedom Week are different than Florida’s other sales tax holidays. In most cases, retail stores will not collect state sales tax up to a specified amount. If the retail price exceeds that threshold, though, stores will collect tax on that additional amount.

Below is a full list of Freedom Week tax exemptions:

Boating and Water Supplies

Think about the items you bring on a boating trip. Most of those items will qualify for the tax exemption.

During Freedom Week, Florida will not collect the state sales tax on:

The first $25 of the sales price of:

  • Snorkels
  • Goggles
  • Swimming masks

The first $50 of the sales price of:

  • Safety flares

The first $75 of the sales price of:

  • Life jackets
  • Coolers
  • Paddles
  • Oars

The first $150 of the sales price of:

  • Water skis
  • Wakeboards
  • Kneeboards
  • Recreational inflatable water tubes or floats capable of being towed

The first $300 of the sales price of:

  • Paddleboards
  • Surfboards

The first $500 of the sales price of:

  • Canoes
  • Kayaks

Fishing Supplies

Boating and fishing run hand in hand. Florida is home to some of the world’s best fishing, from the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico to Lake Okeechobee and inland waterways.

During Freedom Week, Florida will not collect the state sales tax on:

The first $5 of the sales price of:

  • Bait or fishing tackle if sold individually (or the first $10 if sold as a set)

The first $30 of the sales price of:

  • Tackle boxes or bags

The first $75 of the sales price of:

  • Rods and reels if sold individually (or the first $150 if sold as a set)

General Outdoor Supplies

Boating is an outdoor activity, so it’s important to be prepared for a day outdoors. Having the right accessories can make or break a day on the water.

During Freedom Week, Florida will not collect the state sales tax on:

The first $15 of the sales price of:

  • Sunscreen
  • Insect repellent
  • The first $30 of the sales price of:

Water bottles

  • The first $50 of the sales price of:
  • Hydration packs
  • Bicycle helmets

The first $100 of the sales price of:

  • Sunglasses

The first $200 of the sales price of:

  • Binoculars

The first $250 of the sales price of:

  • Outdoor gas or charcoal grills
  • Bicycles

Camping Supplies

Boating and camping go hand in hand, especially for adventurers who enjoy the state’s inland habitat.

During Freedom Week, Florida will not collect the state sales tax on:

The first $30 of the sales price of:

  • Camping lanterns
  • Flashlights

The first $50 of the sales price of:

  • Sleeping bags
  • Portable hammocks
  • Camping stoves
  • Collapsible camping chairs

The first $200 of the sales price of:

  • Tents

Additional Exemptions

Florida lawmakers included two other categories of sales tax exemptions as part of Freedom Week: events and sporting equipment.

For events, Freedom Week eliminates the state sales tax for events held July 1 through Dec. 31, 2021. Events include tickets or admissions to music, sporting, theater, and cultural events, as well as festivals and movies. The exemption also includes entry to museums and state parks. Season tickets and annual passes also are exempt if purchased during the six-month period. Additionally, sales tax won’t be charged at fitness clubs or athletic centers.

For sports equipment, the sales tax holiday applies to any item for individual or team sports selling for $40 or less. However, this exemption does not include clothing or footwear.

Freedom Week is intended to get Floridians back outdoors. If you’re looking for a custom boat lift, complete our REQUEST A QUOTE FORM.