View Full Version : I Need a Boat Lift. Now What?

05-30-2011, 02:25 AM
I am looking for a boat lift for my new-to-me 2001 MC PS 190. The price of these things new are incredibly high for relatively low tech stuff. I would like to buy a used one. Are there certain things that I must look for since the MC is a direct drive or are all major lift manufacturers compatible with a MC? My boat is just under 20 feet long...should I get a canopy that is a couple feet longer than that, like 22 feet? Any recommendations on brand? I am in MN, seemingly the boat lift capital of the world, as there are many that are made near my area.

Thanks in advance!

05-30-2011, 05:11 AM
where abouts in MN? you will want a longer canopy so you can get the swim deck under it too. Any lift with adjustable bunks should be able to accommodate the inboard assuming the weight capacity is sufficient. Two main types of manual lifts: cantilever and vertical. The lift websites should have some pros and cons between the two. We've got a vertical 4000 pound lift for our 197. Hope this helps!

05-30-2011, 07:37 AM
I spent the last 3 months looking for a good quality used lift. I found some using craigslist, but many of them were so far away that by the time I paid to go and get it, it was no longer made sense from a cost perspective.

Hydrohoist rules the roost on most of the lakes around us (southern TN). Their quality is great (lots of used 10+ yr old lifts in operation on my lake); if you can find a lift with the blue tanks (Ultralift model) those seem to be the most sought after. You should be able to get a good used 4000# Hydrohoist for anywhere from $2500-3500 depending on age. You are dead on in the fact that there is not much mechanically that can go out on these. The blower motor is relatively inexpensive to replace and the metal straps on the older tanks tend to wear out, so look for one that has new straps or some that are not rusted out.

I settled on putting in a new lift and ended up buying a 4000# lift from Shoremaster - their rep gave me a good deal and I wanted to have a lift for the start of the season. The Shoremaster does not have the following that HH does, but I don't see any difference in quality or ability yet. The HH is about $1500 more expensive than the Shoremaster (I paid $5800 installed). If you want more info - send me a private msg.

05-30-2011, 07:54 AM
I've had good luck with ShoreStation. I've owned 2 over the course of 20 years which should say something. I'd still have the original but I bought it sized for my first boat without regards to what I might upgrade to in the future.

That being said I would recommend looking for a lift bigger than you might need now so that you only have to buy this once. I currently have the 120" wide 4000lb lift and it handles my 07 X2 very well. If you don't have a tower the canopies are a nice addition. Most of the ones I've seen on our lake are at least 2 feet longer than the boat and most are 4 feet longer. As I have a tower this is not an option for me.

What to look for. First you'll want one that is as new as possible. The very old ones were made out of steel which you will want to steer far away from. Look closely at the winch tube to see if the cables are frayed and at the pulleys in the tube (as best you can) to see if there's any wear. The tell tale sign will be a fine grey material from the cable rubbing through the pulleys. If the winch tube is shot it's not the end of the world but be aware a new one will run you between $600 and $800 so you better get the lift cheap if you need to rebuild it. For the rest of the lift you're just looking at condition (bent pads, missing parts, bunk condition, etc).

The last thing I look for is what options the lift has or comes with. Wheels to install and remove the lift are a great feature to get with the lift however you can add these later if it doesn't come with them. Other features include canopies, electric lift winch, side bunks, bow stops and installation/removal options.

Craig's list seems to be a great place to find these. You may also want to check with a couple boat dealers to see what they have or if they'll recommend a dock installation contractor. I sold and bought my last two this way and felt I got a good deal on the transaction.

old blue
05-30-2011, 10:56 AM
I,ve had my 83 S&S powerslot on a Hewitt cantalever lift since 1998. The lift has performed flawlessly with little to no upkeep. I have the full length bunks and the electric power wheel drive. You need some kind of electric power, you can hand crank, but it is a work out. The top is 22 ft and covers the whole boat. I'm on the third canvas top, it would be great with an alluminium top.
They are in Nicollet Minnesota.


05-30-2011, 12:36 PM
Check out Sunstream Boat Lifts hydraulic and solar powered lifts 4 and 6000lb lifts. they also have one that is ideal for shallow water. I have one for my X7 and at the mooring the depth is 3 feet. Its great!!!

05-30-2011, 08:53 PM
I have a 4000# shorestation and would recommend it. I have had it for 11 yrs, left in the water all year (northern indiana), and a 22' canopy. Never had any problems with lift and the canopy fabric still looks great after 8 yrs. My dad has a shore station too, with a boat on it weighing 500 # more then what the lift is rated for....problem free for 15 yrs.

05-30-2011, 11:51 PM
Ha perfect thread for me to hijack! I am in MN as well and looking for a boat lift.


I have a lead on a used SunStream Hydraulic Lift. 4,000 lbs capacity. 2 years old.

What would be a decent price on this lift? I have been searching and prices are all over the place!

05-31-2011, 01:43 AM
Thanks for all the replies. I am in Duluth area, though my cabin is in Lake Nebagamon. I am on my nightly craigslist search for 4000 lb lift...In case I ever upgrade my boat!

05-31-2011, 07:23 AM
Thanks for all the replies. I am in Duluth area, though my cabin is in Lake Nebagamon. I am on my nightly craigslist search for 4000 lb lift...In case I ever upgrade my boat!

How easy is access to your lakefront do you have? I'd consider the upgrade feature a bonus unless it is a complete PITA to get in and out. Since your boat is way less than 3000 lbs, you could open your search. With a 190, I'd guess you're a skier, and not likely to get a big v-drive, although you never know. I used to lift my 205 (2700 lbs) with a 2500 lb cantilever. Worked fine, just hard to lift. I now have 3000 lb shorestation w/electic winch and love it. Not sure what a 214 weighs in at. Overkill is usually good, but not sure how good the used inventory is in your area.

BTW, ski boat trailers work good for moving hoists if you need to...

05-31-2011, 09:37 AM
We've manage to get the lift installation and removal down to a science over the years. We use the following for installation. One person can do this but two is always better....

Wheel set for lift.
Tractor jack for putting on the wheels (You can muscle them on but a tractor jack makes this a one person job).
Two person inner tube.

Once the wheels are on the lift a single person can push it around. When we get the back of the lift over the water we inflate the tube under the lift. We then push the lift into the water and believe it or not the tube will float the back of the lift. Once the lift is in the shallow water pull the wheels off and float/drag the lift into position. Once in place deflate the tube then make final adjustments. Done.

Tractor jack
3 - 25' tow straps
Lift wheel set

This is pretty much a two person job but still pretty easy. Use the tractor jack to break free the lift and install wheels. Attach tow straps to the bottom front two lift posts. attach those two straps to the third strap which is then (in my case) attached to the hitch on the F150 (you can also substitute the F150 for a come along, winch, a few friends or what ever else will pull the lift out). Pull the lift out while one person steer the lift to the desired shore location.

05-31-2011, 10:06 AM
I have a ShoreStation with a 22ft canopy for my '83. I bought mine used from a guy on the lake. It's nice to find one on your home lake because whomever puts in the lifts in will be able to move, position, and adjust the lift where you need it.

One detail to look for when buying is used is if they upgraded to stainless steel cables. The lift will be lighter and you won't have to worry about the cables fraying. The only other piece is to retro fit the bunks so you can clear your running gear. Any marina that services lift should have what you need.

05-31-2011, 08:55 PM
http://theboatliftcompany.com/ They did mine works great!