What Is a Boat Lift? Your Questions Answered.

This photo shows what is a boat lift as white boat is raised from the water by an IMM Quality boat lift

What is a boat lift? The short and easy answer is that a boat lift system is a device that both lifts a boat out of the water and safely stores the boat above the water for easy launch and retrieval. However, boat lifts offer waterfront homeowners and boaters far more function and value than this simplified definition can convey.

Avid boaters will be the first to admit that storing any type of boat in the water is not a viable long-term plan. In fact, storing a boat in water can cause a variety of serious issues – and have a big impact on your wallet. This is where a boat lift becomes a wise investment to not only accommodate easy boarding but to protect your investment!

Why Should I Buy a Boat Lift?

24/7 exposure to salt water or fresh water can cause costly boat damage from corrosion, osmotic blisters, discoloration or even from heavy wake. Boat owners often pay divers to clean the hull’s undergrowth of barnacles, algae and other biological organisms. Following a rigorous cleaning, boats often need a new gel coat application or other repairs to their hull, which can be expensive.

On the other hand, with the simple press of a button, a boat lift provides storage solutions that save owners money over time. Storing a boat securely above the water serves to protect an owner’s investment from damage and extend the life of their vessel. After the initial installation, a boat lift also makes it more convenient to access open waters while eliminating the risks associated with trailer transportation and the hassle of public ramps. Who wouldn’t want the ability to safely lower their vessel into the water and boat away within minutes?

Are There Different Types of Boat Lift Systems?

Not all boat lifts are the same! There are many different types of boat lift systems that serve different purposes. At IMM Quality Boat Lifts, we design, manufacture and engineer custom boat lifts of all types for salt water and fresh water settings.

What Are Some Essential Boat Lift Parts?

While each type of boat lift is designed differently, there are several basic boat lift parts that ensure your boat lift functions properly. Here is a quick overview of essential boat lift parts:

Bunks. While the boat is being lifted or lowered, it rests on bunks to avoid damage to the hull or pontoons. Bunks are adjusted to fit your boat.

Cables. Boat lift cables do the heavy lifting – literally. Cables are typically made from stainless steel to offer corrosion resistance and strength.

Cable Winder. This grooved boat lift part keeps a boat lift’s cables neat and tidy during the raising or lowering process.

Cradles. The cradles sit at the bottom of the boat lift and your bunks attach to the cradles. It’s what your cables raise and lower to move your boat in and out of the water. Each boat lift typically has two cradles, one in the front and one in the rear, to support and secure the vessel.

Drive Units. The drive unit functions as a boat lift’s transmission and should be inspected regularly. When your boat lift’s motor is running, the components inside the drive unit work together to move the cradle and bunks.

Guide Poles. As the name implies, the guide poles are vertical poles attached to the cradles that help boat owners position the boat correctly over the bunks. Typically, there are two poles to designate the port and two to designate the starboard perimeters.

Sheaves. Sheaves are key elements of the cable system that raises and lowers a boat lift. These pulleys lighten the lifted load and can extend the lifespan of the lift cables.

Top Beam. The top beam is the structure that serves to spread the weight of your boat across each piling of your boat lift. Top beams contain the drive units, lift cables and winders. Beamless lifts do not have top beams or other pile-to-pile structure. In low profile installations, the top beam may also be used as a step, or it can be decked over as part of a walk platform.

For boat owners, a boat lift is a worthwhile investment that pays off over time. That’s why IMM Quality Boat Lifts is dedicated to engineering boat lift systems that deliver safety, reliability, durability and ease. With more than 40 years of industry-leading expertise, our innovative, superior product designs can provide the advanced function and value that waterfront homeowners and avid boaters need.

What Is a Boat Lift? A Wise Investment!

Of course, a picture is worth a thousand words. Check out our photo galleries, which show many types of boat lift systems for sale by IMM Quality Boat Lifts. If you’d like to explore a custom design for your home, complete our CONTACT FORM or REQUEST A QUOTE, and we’ll give you a call!

Read More: How IMM Quality Builds the World’s Best Boat Lifts