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Boat Lift Cost: 6 Questions to Ask Your Boat Lift Dealer

Are you sick of towing your boat to a launch using a boat trailer? Have you racked up maintenance costs from storing your expensive investment in the water – or due to damage during transportation? Are you tired of the ordeal it takes to “go boating” each time the urge strikes? Did you recently acquire waterfront property and need to buy a boat lift?

If you are ready for the convenience and savings that a well-engineered boat lift can provide, but are having trouble understanding the cost for a boat lift, you are not alone. When preparing to purchase a boat lift, it is important to collect key information about your boat and its docking area before talking with a marine contractor, boat lift dealer or boat lift manufacturer about boat lift costs. No two situations are the same and many factors will impact your boat lift price, including the fully loaded weight of your boat, surrounding dock area and boat lift installation.

Boat lift costs vary between dealerships because they all structure pricing differently. Some charge one lump sum, depending on the boat lift design you choose and its capacity. Others separate the cost for your deck, boat lift installation and related hardware.

To get the answers you need about boat lift cost, the pros at IMM Quality Boat Lifts put together a helpful list of common questions that every buyer should ask their marine contractor. As the leading manufacturer of custom boat lifts for nearly 40 years, IMM Quality Boat Lifts has extensive hands-on experience and knowledge about this topic.

Question #1: What type of hull does your boat have? Are there steps in the hull?

The design, make and model of your boat will have a huge impact in determining the proper bunking system for your boat and the underlying costs. Your boat may have a round-bottomed hull, flat-bottomed hull, V-shaped hull, pontoon hull or multihull such as a catamaran or trimaran. Your boat may have engineered pick-up points that should be used to safely lift it. And, the presence and location of through-hull fittings varies greatly with different boat models and the boat lift bunks need to avoid these features.

For example, the presence of steps in your hull affects how your boat rests on the boat lift bunks. It may require stepped bunks that match the hulls’ shape to properly support your boat. If you own a sailboat, the elongated keels may require modifications to the standard bunks. You may rest assured that the engineers at IMM Quality Boat Lifts will design a bunking system that will safely and securely lift any watercraft.

Question #2: What boat lift capacity do you need?

In order to know which boat lift to purchase, you will first have to identify the correct boat lift capacity for your needs. This greatly affects cost. For example, an increase in boat lift capacity necessitates an increase in the size of the top beams, which impacts your boat lift cost.

You can determine the necessary boat lift capacity by calculating the total weight of your boat. The total figure should include the boat’s dry weight, plus the weight of any outboard motors, boat lift accessories, your fuel and more. Do you have live wells? Be sure to add this into the equation, along with the water weight from freshwater tanks and wastewater tanks. Have you made any major additions or upgrades to your watercraft? It is also best to include a 20% margin of safety.

To make the calculations easier, try our simple boat lift capacity calculator prepared by the knowledgeable team at IMM Quality Boat Lifts. With the press of a button, you’ll be that much closer to determining which lift you need to buy – and the associated boat lift cost.

Question #3: Where do you live?

Environmental and community factors play a role in boat lift cost. Consider the location and water conditions where you plan to dock your boat. Are you subject to HOA rules? Does your community or waterway allow outside pilings? Do you live on a canal, or the open water? Are there noise limitations that require a specific type of drive to quietly operate your boat lift?

Some neighborhoods don’t have enough shoreline to dock each owner’s boat, and instead share larger, multi-slip docks. Others provide height restrictions, based on dock roof styles, to avoid view obstruction. Any of these factors can impact the selection of boat lift designs available to you, as well as your installation and boat lift costs.

Question #4: Are you looking for a maintenance-free option, or will you handle your own boat lift maintenance?

Like with any major purchase, taking good care of your boat lift with regular maintenance can make a big difference in performance and longevity. To extend the life of your boat lift, it is critical to regularly inspect your lift cables, bunks, lift beams, pulleys, motors, gearbox and drive units, motor, drive pipe bearing block and wired zincs. Ignoring this maintenance can lead to equipment damage, costly boat lift repairs and more.

Are you the do-it-yourself type? If not, some boat lift designs offer maintenance-free storage for a price increase. This includes the IMM Quality Boat Lifts Platinum series. Either way, your plan for maintaining your equipment will have an impact on your total boat lift cost and warranty.

Question #5: What style of lift is best for your boat and dock space?

Different boat lift designs use different technology to lift your boat from the water. The boat lift cost will vary, depending on the type you choose:

  • Vertical Boat Lifts – Considered the industry standard, this type of cable-drawn boat lift is the most efficient and commonly used boat lift.
  • Elevator Boat Lifts – This type of boat lift uses in water rails, and is ideal for narrow or restricted waterfronts.
  • Hydraulic Boat Lifts – One of the most expensive types of boat lift, this deploys a steel tube and piston to raise your boat higher than other types of boat lifts.
  • Floating Boat Lifts or Docks – Ideal for lakes and reservoirs, these compact floating boat docks use inflatable tanks to lift your watercraft.

Review the range of boat lift styles that IMM Quality Boat Lifts builds to last a lifetime. This includes boathouse lifts, Titan yacht lifts, PWC lifts, specialty lifts and more. The quality and durability of our boat lift products are unmatched by the competition. And, we ship worldwide!

Question #6: Do you have any special needs or preferences, such as accessibility?

Do you like to set your top beams low for an easier time boarding your boat? Or, do you like to position your top beams high so that you can walk under them without a second thought? Perhaps you would like a wheelchair-accessible ramp, custom accessory or remote lift controls that make it simple to raise your boat to the top, bottom and boarding heights. Does the speed of your lift matter? What about the appearance of your boarding platform, canopy or underwater lighting? Would you like to customize the color of your boat lift by powder coating? Do you have other personal watercrafts like a kayak, jet ski, wave runner or paddleboard that you need to accommodate?

Remember when we said no two lifts are alike? This is why. Your boat lift cost is not only dependent on your boat, but can be customized for your preferences and needs. Thinking about these specifics will help determine your boat lift cost.

More Questions About Your Boat Lift Cost? Ask the Experts at IMM Quality Boat Lifts!

With more than 40 years’ experience and knowledge in manufacturing, technological innovation and boat lift design, boat owners trust IMM Quality Boat Lifts for answers. Why? As a company, our goal is to create products that achieve the right balance between affordability and exceptional quality. We remain as committed to making safe, easy and reliable products as the day we first opened in 1982.

Contact IMM Quality Boat Lifts with Your Questions Today!

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READ MORE: The True Cost of Boat Ownership: What You Need to Know