World's Best Boat Lifts

17030 Alico Center Rd.

Fort Myers, FL 33967

(800) 545-5603

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

How Does an Elevator 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 boat lift 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 boat 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 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 boat lifts are created equal. Each type serves its unique purpose.

So, why buy an elevator boat lift? The elevator lift is ideal for situations where piling installation is difficult, where water rights or local code prevent the installation of pilings, and in crowded waterways where pilings would prevent you from being able to dock your watercraft. Hard bottom conditions that require a drill rig or rock punch may make piling installation prohibitively expensive. Your water rights may be limited in narrow canals, or there may not be enough space to install outside pilings. Luckily, elevator lifts do not require pilings for structural support.

If the strength of the underlying dock or seawall structure is adequate, custom elevator boat lifts can accommodate larger vessels with capacities up to 40,000 lbs. Elevator boat lift installations not only provide many conveniences, but also help protect your boat while preventing unnecessary maintenance costs. They also add value to your waterfront property.

The only drawback to an elevator lift is a higher price tag than four-post lifts. However, many boat owners – and marine contractors – will tell you an elevator boat lift is worth the up-front investment. A one-of-a-kind, custom boat lift that suits your aesthetic style, accommodates your vessel size, protects your boat and resolves any unusual docking challenges? It’s a win-win!

How Does an Elevator Lift Work?

IMM Quality walkboard and platinum elevator boat lift at waterfront home

An elevator boat lift differs from a standard boat lift in a few key ways. Instead of a top beam supported by pilings, the elevator lift 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 boat lift and to determine the best angle of installation and required length of the rails.

This Alumavator elevator lift raises a white and blue covered boat from the waterInstead of bunks supported by cradle beams that are lifted vertically by stainless steel cables, 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. Finally, the elevator lifts have two powerheads that attach to the top of each rail. These powerheads pull the carriage up the rails using stainless steel cables. Put simplistically, the elevator lift is like a train (carriage) riding on rails.

As you can see, the elevator boat lift system minimizes the amount of support structure that is visible above the deck height. Many homeowners prefer this less obtrusive style of installation 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. For more information on our different elevator lift drive systems, please visit the following pages;

Alumavator / Select. This high-performing chain lift drive offers an economical elevator boat lift option. IMM Quality’s select elevator boat lift model includes many free special features that would otherwise be considered optional upgrades by other boat lift dealers.

Platinum. 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. 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.

 The Most Innovative Elevator Boat Lift Design

At IMM Quality Boat Lifts, we bring more than 40 years’ 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 elevator boat lifts than any other manufacturer in the industry.

This can be seen in the precision design and machining of our elevator boat lift systems. IMM Quality Boat Lifts gussets our elevator lift “L” shaped arms with one-inch thick billet aluminum plates. Why are our gusset plates so much thicker than the competition? 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 elevator lift carriage.


Fitted together in this way, the gusset plate reinforces the I-beam joint and provides mechanical support, so that the boat lift is not relying solely on the strength of the welds. 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 to the joint. No more cock-eyed, out-of-square elevator carriages

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