Everything You Wanted To Know About Boat Lifts


How many people know about boat lifts? Just the ones who own a boat, probably. Boat lifts used to be called davits, and while most of us may have heard of those contraptions, we visualize them on large ocean liners.

Before the 1970’s, most boats were lifted with a davit system, or pair of davits that contained a fore and aft (front and rear) cable system that were in turn connected to holes, or eyes, on a boat. The arms of davits were connected to something solid, whether on the deck of a large ship, or on a pier or a mooring dock.

When a winch was turned, the cables, attached to the boat and the davits, lifted the boat from the water. Small majorities of people today still use davits to lift their boats out of the water, but by far, the majority of boaters and those in the boating construction industry use boat lifts for this purpose.

Boat lifts support the boat from underneath, contrary to the cables used on a davit system, which could put strain on the rib construction of smaller boats. With boat lifts, the keel of a boat is cradled with boards that are connected to a lifting platform or other type of cradling system.

Boat lifts experienced a major design change in the 1980’s and the switch from a davit system to boat lifts took the country, and the world, by storm. Galvanized steel davits were replaced by aluminum. While aluminum is a little more expensive, it’s also resistant to corrosion and keeps its appearance longer, without the rust stains common on most davit systems.

Since the 1980’s, boat lifts have gone through several additional design changes, and numerous techniques to improve the cradling system on boat lifts have been experimented with. Hydraulic cylinders, pneumatic flotation and cables have been tried and improved. In case the hydraulic cylinders get damaged, a hydraulic cylinder repair company should be able to fix them properly.

This system allows boats to be lifted out of the water with a minimal amount of space and effort, and three methods are the most popular. With the cable boat lifts used today, shafted beam lifts, elevator lifts and beamless lifts are the most popular and cost effective. While these designs are based on systems that have been used for decades, the materials used to construct such boat lifts these days improve on both effectiveness and cost.

As with most industries, the boating industry has seen large advancements in technology in the past couple of decades, and boat lifts are no exception. New methods, materials and designs continue to improve the ease through which boats can be protected, painted and repaired out of water with minimal damage to structure or surfaces that were prevalent in the past. If you own a boat, or are considering purchasing one, make sure that you have access to boat lifts, as well as all the equipment you’ll need to keep your boat in tip-top shape.

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