This Platinum elevator boat lift raises a white and blue boat from the water at a residential home

How Does an Elevator Boat Lift Work?

Have you ever wondered, “How does an elevator lift work?” An elevator boat lift functions much like other standard boat lift systems, in that it removes and securely stores your boat above the water. At the same time, an elevator system has a uniquely specialized design. In a recent blog article, IMM Quality Boat Lifts examined the basic parts and function of a boat lift, explaining how it works and why many boat owners view this as a wise investment. Check out our informative piece about standard features (cable, pulleys, nylatron wheels, auto stop, remote control etc.) on lift systems to learn more.

Why Buy an Elevator Boat Lift?

Are you wondering, “Why buy an elevator boat lift?” First, be sure to analyze your needs. You need to know the make and model of your watercraft or yacht as well as the water conditions (water depth, tidal fluctuation, bottom conditions, etc.) at your installation location. It pays to take the time to explore your options in consultation with a knowledgeable marine contractor. While it may sound like a cliché, not all lifts are created equal. Each type serves its unique purpose.

Make Boating Easier with an Elevator Boat Lift

Elevator lifts are a good option for locations in which the installation of pilings is difficult or prohibited.  This may be due to the limited water rights of the property, crowded waterways, and canals, or because hard bottom conditions make the driving of pilings prohibitively expensive. Elevator boat lifts don’t require pilings for structural support and can accommodate larger vessels up to 40,000 lbs if the dock/seawall structure is strong enough. Elevator lifts provide convenience, protect boats, and add value to waterfront property.

Safety and Convenience with Elevator Boat Lifts

Thinking of installing an elevator boat lift at your waterfront property? Investing in an elevator lift offers you a number of advantages. This system provides safe and easy access to the water, allowing you to launch and dock your vessel with a single push of a button. Even in narrow canals, elevator lifts can safely maneuver your boat in and out of the water. With this type of system, you’ll enjoy a perfect fit for any vessel size – plus all the convenience and safety of using elevator technology. Contact IMM Quality Boat Lifts today to learn more about elevator boat lifts and view our gallery of styles and installations.

How Do Elevator Boat Lifts Differ?

IMM Quality walkboard and platinum elevator boat lift at waterfront home

Our Different Elevator

As you can see, the system minimizes the amount of support structure that is visible above the deck height. Many homeowners prefer this less obtrusive style of boat lift because it provides a more open view of their waterfront property. To view more photos of IMM Quality elevator boat lifts, click here to browse our online gallery of current styles.   This Alumavator elevator lift raises a white and blue covered boat from the water


An elevator system differs from a standard one in a few key ways. Instead of a top beam supported by pilings, it uses rails (I-beam tracks) supported by your dock or seawall. These rails may be mounted vertically or at an angle, depending on your needs. One end of the rail is driven into the seabed while the other is attached to the dock with mounting brackets and track bracing. You should consult a knowledgeable marine contractor to confirm that your dock structure is capable of supporting the load created by the elevator system and to determine the best angle of installation and the required length of the rails.


Elevator lifts have two powerheads that attach to the top of each rail. The powerheads consist of the drive system (gearing and motor) under a protective cover that is coupled to a grooved aluminum cable winder. These powerheads pull the carriage up and lower the carriage down the rails using stainless steel cables. Put simply, it is like a train (carriage) riding on rails.

Elevator lifts PowerheadsPowerhead Drive Systems

For more information on our different lift drive systems, please visit the following pages- Alumavator Elevator Boat Lifts, This high-performing chain lift drive offers an economical option. IMM Quality’s select elevator boat lift model includes many free special features that would otherwise be considered optional upgrades by other dealers.
Platinum Elevator Boat Lifts, This maintenance-free elevator boat lift uses a direct drive and offers an array of special features that make it easy and convenient to head for open waters from any setting.
Superlift Elevator Boat Lifts, Originally designed for commercial marinas, this rugged, industrial-duty gearless elevator boat lift system offers the fastest, most efficient lift on the market for discerning boaters.

Carriage Construction

Elevator lifts use a carriage constructed of two “L” shaped arms connected by two aluminum bunks and cross bracing. The carriage has wheels that ride along the top surface of the I-beam track as well as the underside of the same I-beam flange.   IMM Quality Boat Lifts gussets our elevator boat lift “L” shaped arms with one-inch thick billet aluminum plates. Why are our gusset plates so much thicker than the competition’s? Because our gusset plates have CNC-machined channels cut into them that secure the upper and lower flanges of the I-beams that form the “L” shaped arms of the carriage. Fitted together in this way, the gusset plate reinforces the I-beam joint and provides mechanical support, so that the lift is not relying solely on the strength of welded construction. Furthermore, this innovative approach guarantees the correct alignment of the elevator carriage parts in all three dimensions, fixing the proper angles for the arms and eliminating excess stress on the joint. No more cock-eyed, out-of-square elevator carriages.

The Most Innovative Elevator Boat Lift Design

At IMM Quality Boat Lifts, we bring more than 40 years of experience and knowledge in manufacturing three elevator boat lift models, accessories, technological innovations, and design. Our engineering team constantly makes design improvements to offer stronger and more durable lifts than any other manufacturer in the industry.

Get the Most Out of Your Boating Experience

This patented innovation revolutionized our industry. It increased the strength and durability of IMM Quality’s elevator boat lifts, beyond what our competitors can offer, so that we may confidently claim that we have the strongest elevator arm joints in the industry. If you would like to explore an elevator boat lift for your home or marina, complete our CONTACT FORM or REQUEST A QUOTE and we’ll give you a call to tell you what sets IMM Quality Boat Lifts apart from other manufacturers! READ MORE: Custom Boat Lifts & Accessories Make It Easier to Access Your Boat with IMM Quality 

Frequently Asked Question (FAQs) on Elevator Boat Lift

An elevator boat lift functions by lifting and securely storing your boat above the water, similar to other boat lift systems. However, it uses a specialized design with rails supported by your dock or seawall, allowing the boat to be raised and lowered with a carriage system that moves along these rails.

Elevator boat lifts are ideal for locations where installing pilings is difficult or prohibited due to factors like water rights, crowded waterways, or hard bottom conditions. They do not require pilings for structural support and can handle larger vessels, making them a versatile option for different marine environments.

Key features of elevator boat lifts typically include cable systems, pulleys, nylatron wheels, auto stop capabilities, and remote control operation. These components work together to provide a smooth and efficient lift process, enhancing convenience and safety for boat owners.

Unlike standard lifts that often rely on a top beam supported by pilings, elevator lifts use rails (I-beam tracks) that can be mounted vertically or at an angle, directly supported by the dock or seawall. This setup minimizes the visible support structure, offering a less obtrusive appearance and preserving the view of waterfront properties.

It is important to know the specifications of your boat and the conditions at your installation site, such as water depth and tidal fluctuations. Consulting with a knowledgeable marine contractor is essential to ensure your dock can support the load of the lift and to determine the best installation approach for your specific needs.


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