FAQ with IMM Quality Boat Lifts

At IMM Quality Boat Lifts, we hear plenty of questions from boating enthusiasts who are looking for the world's best boat lifts. Here are the most common questions that our clients ask about boat lifts for sale.

Keeping a boat on a lift will prevent the need for bottom-painting the boat. Bottom painting reduces the value of your boat. You will also save on storage fees, wrapping and winterizing fees, while having year-around availability to launch your boat. Your boatlift will also better protect your boat from storm damage, theft, and vandalism. Most people are surprised to find that installing a boatlift costs much less than they originally figured. In most cases, boatlifts pay for themselves within five years!

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

IMM Quality Boat Lifts are measured by capacity in pounds, rather than the length of the boat. Once you’ve calculated the fully-loaded wet weight of your boat, you can figure out a boat lift capacity that will safely handle your boat. You should consider what size boat you may be upgrading to over the next few years before purchasing your lift. If you’re not sure about the weight of your boat, please look at our lift selector on the contact page, or contact us directly at 1-800-545-5603. IMM Quality Boat Lifts for sale can accommodate most any boat, from a PWC to the largest yacht!

READ MORE: How to Choose the Correct Capacity Lift for Your Boat

In the saltwater environment, marine-grade aluminum (6061-T6) offers a greatly increased life expectancy when compared to galvanized steel. When aluminum boat lifts were first introduced, the primary drawback to aluminum has cost. The large structural shapes needed were hard to obtain, increasing boat lift costs. As structural aluminum became more common, the aluminum boat lift cost decreased and is now similar to the price of galvanized lifts. Also, the lightweight properties of aluminum allow the contractors to sometimes install IMM Quality’s boat lifts without a barge or crane, significantly lowering installation costs. Today, there is really no reason to purchase a galvanized boat lift.

If a boat lift is selected with wooden bunks, IMM Quality Boat Lifts will send weights to insure that the cradles will not float. IMM Quality Boat Lifts’ revolutionary Perma-Bunk aluminum bunks, which come with white vinyl covers, prevent any cradle-floatation. The aluminum bunks and covers are guaranteed for 10 years. While there are inferior aluminum bunks available, they don’t incorporate a custom extrusion “internal I beam” structure. This piece integrates the white vinyl covers perfectly, without the need for top rivets that might scratch your hull.

Elevator boat lifts do not require outboard pilings, allowing elevators to be used where outboard pilings are not permitted, in cases with hard-bottom or deep-water conditions that make the installation of piles impractical. Additionally, elevator boat lifts work in cases where there just isn’t enough room to access a traditional four-post boat lift. A disadvantage of elevator boat lifts is that the tracks stay in the water. Therefore, they need to be protected from electrolysis and the ground voltage. Learn more about How Does an Elevator Lift Work? 

IMM Quality Boat Lifts is recognized as the industry leader in the manufacturing of elevator boat lifts. The key to a good elevator boat lift design is the strength of the joint between the trolley and cradle arm. Please see the webpage depicting our elevator lifts for details and pictures. Note how the joint is reinforced, making it the strongest in the industry. Also, you’ll see how the boat lift design also allows you to bring your personal watercraft up closer to the dock than any other elevator lifts for sale. How Does an Elevator Lift Work? 

At first glance, a beamless boat lift may seem the better choice because there is no “top beam” to navigate across when entering the boat or to see from the house. While this is true, there is a trade-off for that benefit, tied to how the boat lift works. When winch heads are attached to the sides of the pilings, they exert a side load on the pilings. Therefore, the dock structure and installed pilings (especially external free-standing pilings) need to be installed properly. They also need to have sufficient construction to withstand this sideways force. If not, pilings may tend to lean over, or even shift, due to the side loading. IMM Quality’s conventional top beam boat lifts can be set in a “low-profile” configuration, which allows you to use a covered top beam as a boarding platform while avoiding the side load issues associated with beamless lifts.

There are basically three types of drive shaft bearings to consider.

  1. Ball or roller bearings may seem great, but they are not durable because of corrosion and because they are not engineered for low-RPM, high-load conditions.
  2. Another type is metal-to-metal. Some manufacturers use bronze, while some use aluminum or even plastic bearings. In both cases, they require frequent lubrication and maintenance. We feel that a boat lift should free up your time, not use it up with additional chores.
  3. Maintenance-free, engineered polymer bearings are a very high-tech, self-lubricating material. IMM Quality Boat Lifts have used these bearings for many years, and our Igus tribopolymer bearings have never worn out. They are dirt-resistant, corrosion-free and quiet, reducing maintenance costs and increasing the service life of our boat lifts.

For these reasons, IMM Quality Boat Lifts uses maintenance-free Igus bearings on all of boat lifts for sale.

All IMM Quality Boat Lifts are made in the U.S.A. While the manufacturing process usually requires a 2-3 week period, this timeline may vary based on seasonality and supply chain and this estimate does not include transportation or lift installation. Once your lift is manufactured, it will be transported to your installer. Your installer is responsible for establishing and advising your about a timeline for boat lift installation.

READ MORE: Custom Boat Garage Installation Features Dual Superlift

Most jurisdictions require a permit before installing a boat lift. Your contractor will be aware of the requirements and local codes and can easily guide you through the process for how boat lifts work.

IMM Quality Boat Lifts strongly recommends that our customers use a qualified dealer to install their boat lift.  Boat lifts are fixed to pilings, docks or seawalls, and require significant skill and experience to install properly. A licensed contractor will be able to handle all aspects of the lift installation, including setting pilings, evaluating existing structures for lift suitability and obtaining the proper permits with the authorities.

However, there may be situations where a homeowner either has a contractor that they are more comfortable with, or can even handle their own installation. IMM Quality Boat Lifts can sell direct under these circumstances. All the risk and liability will be borne to any person self-installing the boat lift, or by a contractor that is not approved by IMM Quality Boat Lifts.

Please let us know if you are already working with a contractor. IMM Quality Boat Lifts always tries to ensure that our approved dealers are providing customers with the highest level of service available, and your feedback is important to us. If you choose to use your own contractor, please be sure to thoroughly check your contractor’s credentials and recent references before entering into a contract.

Once the boat lift installation is complete, your contractor will train you on the safe operation and maintenance of your new boat lift. If you ever have operational questions, contact IMM Quality Boat Lifts technical staff at 1-800-545-5603. Owner’s Manuals for your specific boat lift are supplied with your lift and are also available in the documentation section of our website.

In short, you get what you pay for. Often, the boat lifts sold over the internet are used. After the downturn in the housing market, people began taking boat lifts from foreclosed properties and reselling them. Sometimes, they are not advertised as used.  Anyone can clean up aluminum nicely and easily with an acid wash. So, be careful that you understand what you are buying and how the boat lifts work. The motors and gearboxes should remain in good functioning order.

In order to undercut the market, some competitors are having their boat lifts manufactured in third-world countries and shipped into the United States for distribution. On the other hand, IMM Quality Boat Lifts are built to order and manufactured in Fort Myers, Florida in the United States of America. We are proud that our boat lifts are made in the U.S., and we are committed to keeping high-quality jobs in this country.

Many smaller lift manufacturers are little more than garage shops, which may or may not be there when you need parts or service.  The “other guys” will talk about their years of experience in the industry. IMM Quality Boat Lifts has been in business since 1982. We are here to stay. In fact, some of our past competitors have come to work for us!

There is one key difference between IMM Quality Boat Lifts and its competitors. We are the industry’s innovator and our engineers, machinists and fabricators are masters of their trade. IMM Quality’s state-of-the-art, 30,000-square-foot factory and 12,000-square-foot test facility produce and test boat lifts with features and technology unavailable anywhere else. All IMM Quality  Boat Lifts are designed in-house by our experienced engineers and certified by an independent professional engineering firm to exceed industry requirements. IMM Quality Boat Lifts carries product liability insurance that protects your investment. And, we are the industry’s only U.L. approved manufacturer. IMM Quality Boat Lifts has the people, knowledge and commitment to meet your needs, now and into the future.