Should I buy a boat lift direct / Do I need a marine contractor?
Can I do this myself?
There are a lot of places online from which you can buy a boat lift direct. Please be very careful and do your research on these websites. Do you know if they are re-sellers, wholesalers, or are they the manufacturer of the lift? Where is the lift made and how is the quality of its construction? Many of the dot com boat lifts are not made to the same standards as the reputable manufacturers whose lifts you have seen on the waterways. FYI, a popular online boat lift company with US in its name has their lifts made for them in Thailand using substandard materials. Shouldn’t they really be known as Boat Lift Thailand? Also, if you buy direct, who would you contact if you needed service or had a warranty issue? Who will install it?
Please keep in mind that a boatlift is a piece of heavy equipment. To ensure that your boat lift functions properly and safely, IMM Quality Boat Lifts recommends that the lift is installed by a licensed and insured marine contractor. If you buy direct from the factory, will you really get a better price than through your local marine contractor? It is customary to offer volume discounts to dealers, so that even after their markup, they are still cheaper than the price to an individual. Will your local marine contractor install a lift that you bought direct? If you find someone willing to install your direct sale, don’t be surprised if they charge a higher installation fee knowing they are not making money on the lift sale. You may save a few hundred dollars upfront by purchasing a boat lift direct, but it could potentially cost you thousands of dollars in damage to your lift or boat, not to mention the safety of you and your family if it is installed improperly.
At IMM Quality Boat Lifts, we pre-assemble as much of our lifts as possible to make the installation process straightforward, simple and easy (this is definitely not the case with other manufacturers). That is why a lot of people look at our installation instructions and think they can do it themselves. However, there are many reasons why you should use a licensed marine contractor.
- A licensed marine contractor has the technical knowledge to assess the condition of your current seawall or dock and pilings. Your boat lift is only as sound as the underlying structure. Using an existing structure that can’t support the combined load of the lift and your boat is a disaster waiting to happen.
- Marine contractors have special, sophisticated equipment, such as barges, tugs, pile drivers, pumps, clamshell cranes, etc. They know how to operate the equipment, and have experience putting it to use in diverse situations. This equipment can make all the difference in a quality installation.
- The engineering and construction principles for land-based structures are not directly transferrable to marine construction. The environment, physical forces, and often the soil types and morphology of coastal locations require specialized construction materials and techniques be used in marine construction. A licensed marine contractor will have this knowledge.
- The installation of your boat lift may require a permit. A local marine contractor will be familiar with the requirements in your area and can greatly assist you in the process.
- You can not underestimate the value of experience and the knowledge it brings. Some of our preferred contractors have installed thousands of our lifts. If you want the best possible installation, choose a marine contractor with lots of experience installing boat lifts.
Buying a boat lift is a great idea and it will dramatically improve your boating experience. We hope that you found this post informative and that we have shown you the potential problems of buying direct. We also hope that we have convinced you to use a licensed marine contractor for your boat lift installation. The convenience and peace of mind you will have knowing that your lift was installed properly and safely are invaluable.
If you have any questions, or would like the name of a professional marine contractor in your area please call 1-800-545-5603 and ask for sales.