When choosing a lift, it’s important that you get one that will handle your boat–both in size and in weight.
The first, and most obvious thing to ask is “Will my boat fit on that lift?” The two dimensions you need to look at are length and beam. Length is fairly straight forward. Most ShoreStation lifts run between about 9-ft and 11-ft long, though someof the hydraulic models can go over 15-ft. With the boat properly seated, a 9-ft platform is sufficient for most boats in this area. For pontoons, the bunks (the pieces of wood that the boat actually sits on) extend beyond the platform, giving more stability and support.
The width of your boat is known as the “beam”. This is measured at the widest point. For a variety of reasons, most boats you’ll see in this area have a beam of 8’6″ or less. For these boats, you’ll need a lift with a 9′ width (this gives you a couple inches on either side). If you’re unsure about the beam of your boat, check your owner’s manual, it should be clearly listed in the specs.
Weight capacity is the other important factor to consider, and it’s a bit more tricky. The owner’s manual for your boat should list its “dry weight”, but there’s more to it than that. You also have to add on the weight of the motor (if it’s an outboard). That’s still not everything. A full 30-gallon gas tank will add almost 250 lbs. Then there’s the cooler filled with ice and drinks, the trolling motor, the tool box you have stashed under the back seat… by themselves, they may not weigh very much, but when you add them up, it can end up being a lot more than you think. If you’re getting close to the rated capaticy of a lift, it’s smart to move up to the next size; better safe than sorry. On the other hand, if all you have is a tiny little fishing boat, there’s no need for a 10,000-lb lift (unless you expect to catching a 2-ton muskie!)
Choosing the right lift for your boat and your needs isn’t difficult, but it IS important. That’s why we’re here to help. Give us a call or stop in and talk to Ben. We’ll help you find the lift that just right.