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The Ultimate Guide: How to Shop for a Boat Lift

Owning a boat is a dream come true for many water enthusiasts. To protect your investment and make your boating experience more convenient, a boat lift is an essential accessory. A boat lift provides safe storage, easy access, and protects your boat from water damage and corrosion. However, with a wide variety of boat lifts available in the market, choosing the right one can be overwhelming. In this article, we will guide you through the process of shopping for a boat lift, ensuring that you make an informed decision.

Determine Your Needs:

  • Before diving into the boat lift shopping process, it’s crucial to assess your requirements. Consider factors such as the size and weight of your boat, the water conditions, and any specific features you desire in a boat lift. Determine if you need a lift for fresh or saltwater, as the requirements may vary.

Understand Different Types of Boat Lifts:

superlift 44 freemen 2 edit
superlift 44 freemen 2
  • Boat lifts come in various types, each designed to cater to specific needs. The most common types include:
    • Vertical Boat Lifts: The industry standard is ideal for most water conditions and dock configurations. These lifts hoist the boat vertically. At IMM Quality our vertical boat lift can be easily identified by its parallel upper beams with a covered powerhead. Each beam contains a motor-driven shaft through their length. These are what controls the winding of the four cables. The other end of the cables connect to the four corners of the boat cradle, which can then be used to raise or lower the boat by rotating the shaft.
    • Elevator Boat Lifts: These are typically the solution if you have restricted access to waterfronts. For example, these are common on narrow canals, where outboard pilings are not an option, or where the bottom surface is too hard to drive pilings into it.
    • Specialty Boat Lifts: At IMM Quality we have seen it all, which is why we can provide custom boat lift solutions for instances where Vertical Lifts or Elevator Lifts are not an option. Three of our popular specialty lifts are Beamless Lifts, for those that do not want top beams, Trident Lifts, our 3-Pole design suited for corner canal lots, and Marine Railway Lifts which are ideal for beach access.
    • PWC Lifts: If you own a personal watercraft or jet ski, a PWC lift is specifically designed for you. They provide easy access to your watercraft and protect it from the elements.

Consider Weight Capacity and Size:

  • Ensure that the boat lift you choose can handle the weight and size of your boat. Exceeding the lift’s capacity can lead to accidents and potential damage to your boat. Take accurate measurements of your boat’s length, width, and weight to find a lift that matches these specifications. You can use our Boat Lift Capacity Calculator to help determine what you will need.

Evaluate Construction and Material Quality:

  • Look for boat lifts made of durable, corrosion-resistant materials such as aluminum or stainless steel. These materials ensure longevity and require minimal maintenance. Pay attention to the design and engineering of the lift. Does the lift have stepped channel, grooved winders, wedge-locks and other machined parts that enhance the lift’s durability and ease of use?

Safety Features:

  • Safety should be a top priority when shopping for a boat lift. Look for features such as a secure and stable cradle system, reliable pulleys, adjustable bunk brackets, and reliable drive systems. Additional safety options like remote controls and automatic stop mechanisms add convenience and peace of mind.

Consider the Installation Process:

  • Evaluate the installation requirements of the boatlift you are considering. Some lifts may require professional installation, while others offer DIY options. Consider the ease of installation, any additional costs involved, and if the manufacturer provides clear instructions or support.

Research Manufacturers and Reviews:

  • Before making a final decision, research reputable boat lift manufacturers and read customer reviews. Look for manufacturers with a proven track record of producing high-quality boat lifts and excellent customer service. Real-life experiences shared by boat owners can provide valuable insights into the performance and reliability of different boat lift models.


Investing in a boat lift is an important decision to protect your beloved watercraft and enhance your boating experience. By understanding your needs, exploring different types of boat lifts, considering weight capacity, evaluating construction quality, prioritizing safety features, and researching manufacturers, you can confidently choose the boat lift that best suits your requirements. Remember, a well-chosen boat lift will not only safeguard your boat but also save you money and provide a more enjoyable boating experience.