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Alumavator vertical boat lift allows this large blue high speed boat to easily launch from its boat slip

Cost of a Boat Lift vs Bottom Paint

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Are you wondering about the cost of a boat lift vs bottom paint? IMM Quality Boat Lifts can help!

The true cost of boat ownership often takes first-time boat buyers by surprise. From racking up storage costs to figuring out a safe transportation plan, hidden costs can add up.

From the start, boat owners must decide how they will store their boat and the options can be costly. Possibilities for boat storage include options for boats to reside in the water at a dock or marina or out of the water on a boat lift, dry storage or trailer.

Boats that are stored in the water run the risk of salt corrosion, algae growth and hull blisters. To remedy this, bottom paint, also called antifoul, is applied to the bottom of the boat to discourage weeds, barnacles and other aquatic life from attaching to the boat’s hull. For boats that reside in the water year-round, applying bottom paint is a necessary process that usually occurs once every year or two. While this does spread out the cost of bottom paint, it still adds up over time.

Boats stored above the water on a boat lift can avoid these issues. At the same time, boat lifts are often a large upfront investment. It may leave you wondering which option is more affordable when comparing the cost of a boat lift vs bottom paint?

How Much Does Bottom Paint Cost for Boats?

Bottom painting is one of the ongoing expenses to anticipate as a boat owner. Most expect to pay for bottom painting every 1-3 years. No matter how much time you spend washing your boat to keep it pristine, it will eventually need to be painted. That’s even if you scrub the bottom and power or acid wash it each year!

Closeup of an Alumavator vertical boat lift as it holds a large blue highspeed boat

Some companies charge for bottom painting based on the length of your boat. This is a sliding scale that exponentially increases as your boat gets larger. Other marine contractors may provide an estimate that is customized to your specific boat. Either way, the cost of bottom painting for your boat will depend on a few factors that include paint, labor, including boat removal, supplies and incidentals.

Paint: There are three different types of bottom paint to choose from, each with its own price point based on value over time and the level of protection offered. As a result, the cost of bottom paint ranges from $100 per gallon up to $300 per gallon, depending on the paint quality and market availability. Marine contractors will usually recommend a specific paint depending on the length of time your boat will be in the water. Vessels that are stored year-round in the water require a different level of protection than those that are docked for just a few months.

So how many gallons will you need? One way is to estimate the approximate surface area of the hull below the waterline using the following formula:

Length X Beam X 0.75 = Approximate underwater surface area (in square feet )

Based on typical theoretical coverages, 1 gallon of bottom paint will be enough to apply a single coat to a 25 foot center console, whereas, 4+ gallons will be needed for a single coat on a 50 foot Sportfisher.

Additionally, if it is the first time you are applying bottom paint to your boat, an additional cost will apply to grind down the boat’s gelcoat and apply multiple coats of primer so that the bottom paint can adhere to the surface. Remember, you will be quoted on an estimate, but the final purchase price may be higher if it took more paint than anticipated to complete the job.

Labor: Do not underestimate the labor costs of bottom painting. For pricing that is based on the size of your boat, the final cost will closely reflect the estimate you were provided. Labor costs not only include the painting of your vessel but also costs associated with removing it from the water and suspending it on blocks to be painted. If there are problems in preparing your boat for the job or issues that require extra work, these costs may soar.

Supplies: These represent the tools and consumable materials that your marine contractor or boat yard will need to complete the work. If you are working with a contractor or boat yard, the cost items like gloves, sandpaper, protective gear, masking tape and painting equipment are usually factored into the overall price and are dependent on how much “gear” is needed to satisfy your boat size. If you’re planning a DIY bottom paint project, the costs for these supplies can vary and accumulate quickly!

Incidentals: Many states regulate the disposal of materials associated with marine contracting jobs. Bottom paint contains toxic chemicals that require special handling. Costs associated with disposal, along with other insurance charges, are often minimal but are typically accounted for in the overall estimate the boat owner receives.

A good average rule of thumb is to expect $125-$150 per linear foot. For a 26-foot boat, this would mean the cost of bottom paint ranges from $3,250 to $3,900 for a quality job. And don’t forget, you’ll be paying to paint the bottom of your boat every few years. Over the lifetime of the boat, this adds up fast – along with other maintenance, transportation and/or storage costs not detailed in this article.

Talk about hidden costs! It is why many boat owners try to sidestep the bottom painting issue entirely. By choosing another storage alternative, such as a boat lift that will safely and easily secure your vessel above the water, it’s possible to avoid the issue entirely.

How Much Does a Boat Lift Cost?

Boat lift costs vary by specific product line because boat lifts are designed to store vessels of all sizes and come in many styles to accommodate multiple waterway scenarios. At IMM Quality Boat Lifts, we make more than 10 types of boat lifts for residential and commercial use. We also manufacture floating docks and gangways, accessories and specialty upgrades. Our highly skilled engineering team has even engineered custom boat lifts for waterfront homes!

As you can imagine, with variety comes a wide range of boat lift price points. To determine what the cost of a boat lift will be for your specific waterfront home or marina, click here to request a quote from your local boat dealer.

As a one-time, upfront investment, a boat lift eliminates many of the maintenance and repair costs that come with storing your boat in the water. Beyond that, boat lifts offer many hidden advantages and features that make life as a boat owner much easier and more enjoyable.

For example, a boat lift provides convenient access to quickly launch your boat for personal enjoyment, reducing the time and hassle it takes to hit the water. Meanwhile, storing your boat out of the water keeps it safe from algae, barnacles and sea growth. This also protects from corrosion and electrolysis that can damage your engine block and eat away metal parts.

These issues are costly to fix. Corrosion alone costs boat owners a significant amount in repairs over the lifetime of the boat – plus hull growth. Plus, when your boat is in the shop, you’re not in the boat! Additionally, preserving your boat on a lift vs applying bottom paint is more favorable for the resale of your boat as well. No wonder so many boat owners choose to avoid these problems entirely by investing in a boat lift.

Alumavator vertical boat lifts are ideal for storing high speed boats like the large blue watercraft pictured here

What Should I Choose? Boat Lift vs Bottom Paint Comparison

The cost of a boat lift vs bottom paint is a question that gives boat owners plenty to consider! Only you will know what will best suit your needs and the marina or home where you keep your watercraft. However, as a long-term investment, buying a boat lift will save you more money over time while delivering a host of additional benefits like convenience, easy access, security and “dock appeal” for your waterfront home.

Are you ready to trade constant maintenance and annual repair costs for secure, easy boat lift storage for your boat? REQUEST A QUOTE and we’ll give you a call!

READ MORE: The IMM Quality Boat Lift’s Revolutionary Ascension Stair Lift