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erkoehler
01-15-2006, 12:47 AM
Ok, I am seriously considering leaving my boat up at our property this upcoming summer, which means it will be time to buy a lift.

I am on a budget, so what is the most inexpensive, best functioning boat lift?

I don't need any special features, and probably won't even get a canopy the first year, and will continue to use the stock or waterline cover.

What should I look to avoid in a lift, and what do I need to make sure it has?

PendO
01-15-2006, 01:03 AM
Ok, I am seriously considering leaving my boat up at our property this upcoming summer, which means it will be time to buy a lift.

I am on a budget, so what is the most inexpensive, best functioning boat lift?

I don't need any special features, and probably won't even get a canopy the first year, and will continue to use the stock or waterline cover.

What should I look to avoid in a lift, and what do I need to make sure it has?

If it is used make sure to look at the cables, we had one break on our ShoreStation lift a few years back with a boat on the lift ... luckily we were there ... I'd go with a cantilever style lift (versus vertical) ... said it before but I like the Hewitt lifts, you might be able to pick up a used one to fit your boat as some of the older lifts do not accomodate the deep V in the V drive boat, or the stepped hull. I'd try the boat shows and go bs with some guys there.

Workin' 4 Toys
01-15-2006, 10:36 AM
About $3000.00 will get you a new one.(roughly) depending on the weight cap. you want.
www.hewitt-roll-a-dock.com (http://www.hewitt-roll-a-dock.com)
Dan Hewitt was at the Chicago Boat show. He has nice stuff.
Or course there is shorestation, shoremate, and shoremaster.
I'd bet you could find one used for about $1000.00, but to replace the cables (for your piece of mind) isn't cheap. I think a marina would get you for about $500.00. Still half of new, but that isn't the only thing that goes bad.
This is the BEST time of year to buy one.

Dean Witmer
01-15-2006, 10:53 AM
I keep my Prostar 190 on a Shoremaster lift and have been very happy with it. Go the extra cost and get a vertical lift. The cantiliver is an out dated design. It is cheaper but the cables are under much more stress and more likely to wear. I have a canopy on my lift and it works great to keep the boat clean and dry.

Workin' 4 Toys
01-15-2006, 10:56 AM
Eric, how deep will the lift be? And how much does the level vary through the season. Things that must be considered if using a cantilever. They only get you so high out of the water, before you have to pull the lift and adjust the legs.

bigmac
01-15-2006, 11:29 AM
About $3000.00 will get you a new one.(roughly) depending on the weight cap. you want.
www.hewitt-roll-a-dock.com (http://www.hewitt-roll-a-dock.com)
Dan Hewitt was at the Chicago Boat show. He has nice stuff.
Or course there is shorestation, shoremate, and shoremaster.
I'd bet you could find one used for about $1000.00, but to replace the cables (for your piece of mind) isn't cheap. I think a marina would get you for about $500.00. Still half of new, but that isn't the only thing that goes bad.
This is the BEST time of year to buy one.

Depends on what he gets. Cheapest way out would be a steel cantilever...I see those for sale around here all the time. It's not a bad option. The biggest PITA is that they have to be painted every few years. Other than that they have the advantages of simplicity, cheap maintenance, and their weight makes them less likely to sail across the lake in a blow. Re-cabling the Shorestation cantiliver I used to have used to cost me about $50 and was about a 10 minute job. It also had the advantage of being much easier to move around than an aluminum vertical lift because it can be lifted and floated on a 10 foot rowboat.

Workin' 4 Toys
01-15-2006, 11:33 AM
I was refering to vertical lift cables. Not sure if Erk would want the job of doing it, and thats about what a marina by us charged the neighbor after his dropped.

stevo137
01-15-2006, 11:41 AM
I keep my Prostar 190 on a Shoremaster lift and have been very happy with it. Go the extra cost and get a vertical lift. The cantiliver is an out dated design. It is cheaper but the cables are under much more stress and more likely to wear. I have a canopy on my lift and it works great to keep the boat clean and dry.
Hmmmm, Dean we both have the same boat and lift??? ;)
Anyway, I have the vertical Shoremaster and it has been a very good lift. I know it's not as high end as the Shore Station but I got a great deal on it and have had it for four seasons. I bought it from a marina on the lake that needed to sell it to make room for more slips and I think paid somewhere between $800-$1,000 for it.

bigmac
01-15-2006, 11:41 AM
I was refering to vertical lift cables. Not sure if Erk would want the job of doing it, and thats about what a marina by us charged the neighbor after his dropped.

I realize that. Replacing the cables on a vertical isn't so bad, but mine are all stainless steel and kinda spendy. Fortunately, the winch cable is the one that wears - the rest of them do fine for a much longer period of time.

At any rate, maintenance and expense are all the more reason to get a cantilever if the budget is a problem. Assuming one doesn't need a very shallow water lift and water levels don't fluctuate much, the ease of moving a steel cantilever around with just one person is another huge plus.

stevo137
01-15-2006, 11:53 AM
Assuming one doesn't need a very shallow water lift and water levels don't fluctuate much, the ease of moving a steel cantilever around with just one person is another huge plus.
That's a good point Mac. I have times when the depth is only knee to thigh deep where my lift is. My brother in law has the cantilever and it is very easy to work on and replace cables. He also has a different type of boat that does not have tracking fins so he doesn't have a problem with clearance.

jake
01-15-2006, 11:55 AM
If you're going new, consider the Floe as well. I recently did the shop compare for lifts and my conclusion was they are the best out there. I ended up finding a killer deal on a used Shorestaion, so didn't get a Floe.

Some things to consider in addition to the items already mentioned.
1. All bolted rather than welded joints which is very important for long term maintainability. Most of the good lifts are now doing this, it's not unique to Floe.
2. Above water height adjustment on each leg. This is what sold me on the Floe.
3. Since you buy the Floe in sort of a piecemeal fashion (ie, lift, bunks, wench) you can get a motorized wench for only about $100 additional. To add a motor to the other manufacturers is usually about $500-700. On the other hand, Floe only has a 12v wench system, I wanted 110 since I have power out to my dock.
4. Canopy design. You want a deep design so that when you crank the boat way up, it's tucked up inside high and dry. The shorestation (which I ended up buying) I think has the worst canopy design. It has side curtains, but they are only about 12 inches and they just hang there in the breeze. The Floe is very deep, the rub rail on a 190 would easily be up inside when cranked all the way up.

In the end, I ended up going for something less than ideal (in my mind) for a great price. Which is how things usually work out anyway, isn't it?

T Scott
01-15-2006, 11:57 AM
My boat sits on a Shore Station lift. I have had zero problems with it. My neighbor bought a lift from this company http://www.boatliftsforless.com/rgc/marine.html about two years ago and has had good luck with it. I think he spent about $2500 for a 4000# lift

jake
01-15-2006, 11:58 AM
That's a good point Mac. I have times when the depth is only knee to thigh deep where my lift is. My brother in law has the cantilever and it is very easy to work on and replace cables. He also has a different type of boat that does not have tracking fins so he doesn't have a problem with clearance.

Vibo marine (http://www.vibomarine.com/) ( little company in North Branch Minnesota) makes a cantilever specially designed for ski boats. They notched out the rear cross member to allow for the tracking fins. Pretty nice economy priced lift, not sure if they are sold nationally or not.

bigmac
01-15-2006, 12:22 PM
I suppose we could turn this into yet another broad-ranging discussion on the merits of the various types and brands of boat lifts, but I assumed from the original post that we're talking about bare-bones, cheapest, most functional method to stash a ski boat out of the water.

Used steel cantilever. I've been there, done that, won't go back, but I'm not on a budget. The only thing I didn't like about my old steel SS3600 was the painting every three years. OTOH, It was in great shape (needed painting) and I paid $1200 for it WITH the 22' canopy.

roddydog
01-15-2006, 12:23 PM
A motorized 'wench' Jake? I think I'd like one of those! ;)

stevo137
01-15-2006, 12:30 PM
Vibo marine (http://www.vibomarine.com/) ( little company in North Branch Minnesota) makes a cantilever specially designed for ski boats. They notched out the rear cross member to allow for the tracking fins. Pretty nice economy priced lift, not sure if they are sold nationally or not.
TY Jake but what I have works fine even in very shallow water. This years project will be a new pier and it will go out quite a bit further into deeper water...
Back to topic, Erk, you should be able to find a used lift that will meet your needs for $1,000 or less...

jake
01-15-2006, 01:33 PM
A motorized 'wench' Jake? I think I'd like one of those! ;)

Yeah, but make sure to get the 110V, the 12V just doesn't have the sucking power you really need. 8p

Workin' 4 Toys
01-15-2006, 01:39 PM
Eric, seriously, if you are thinking of a new one, let me know. I am right "around the corner", from getting one myself. And I am torn between Shorestation, Hewitt, & Shoremaster.

If you are looking new, are you willing to assemble it yourself. According to the show people, there is some serious savings doing it that way. I have not checked into that yet myself, as soon as I get a chance, I plan to check around....

Multi-sale discount....:D

baedriver
01-15-2006, 01:54 PM
I found a guy who had an older cable lift and was just wanting anyone to take off his hands. The lift was out of the water I replaced all the bolts with stainless it had the frame and the vinyl cover and had it back in the water for under a grand.

My question is the cables look good but are they easy to replace in the water! The lift works great!

Workin' 4 Toys
01-15-2006, 02:00 PM
I found a guy who had an older cable lift and was just wanting anyone to take off his hands. The lift was out of the water I replaced all the bolts with stainless it had the frame and the vinyl cover and had it back in the water for under a grand.

My question is the cables look good but are they easy to replace in the water! The lift works great!
If you floated it on inner tubes, it would be easier than underwater. But on terra firma would be easiest. Especially if you drop a piece....

erkoehler
01-15-2006, 02:10 PM
Eric, seriously, if you are thinking of a new one, let me know. I am right "around the corner", from getting one myself. And I am torn between Shorestation, Hewitt, & Shoremaster.

If you are looking new, are you willing to assemble it yourself. According to the show people, there is some serious savings doing it that way. I have not checked into that yet myself, as soon as I get a chance, I plan to check around....

Multi-sale discount....:D


That might be a way to go. I wouldn't mind assembling it myself, and a multi-sale discount might work well.

I should be able to fit all the parts on the snowmobile trailer or in the back of my truck.

Ok, I have an update! My Unlce who would be the only other one to use the boat without me said that he is willing to buy/split the lift price. Now, I don't want to get carried away, but he said he wants new, canopy, and alluminum if it is going to be sitting on our beach. Who am I to argue!

The depth of the water varies quite a bit buring the season, and I would probably be having to extend out one of the peirs to ensure that the boat was in deep enough water. I would like to go out far enough so that the bow is in atleast 3' of water. This would mean on our lake the back would be about 3 1/2 feet.


I have seen those remote control lifts that raise and lower the lift by the push of a button on a key fob, how much do they add to the price?

bigmac
01-15-2006, 02:46 PM
I have seen those remote control lifts that raise and lower the lift by the push of a button on a key fob, how much do they add to the price?

Those run $700 - $1000 typically. Options are either a 12 volt system or 120 volt system. I've always used a 12 volt winch to eliminate the electrocution problem and not having to run wiring from shore to boat lift. Some of the 12 volt systems work off a battery that sits on your dock, maybe with a solar charger. I run my winch off the boat battery.

PendO
01-15-2006, 03:00 PM
We put both of our lifts together ... the 197 will be sitting on an appx 20 year old shorestation ... we did change the crossmembers out years ago when it was used for an X-9 as the flat crossmembers would not accomodate the hull ... amazingly the retrofit was easy ... also, the 190/197 is not a real heavy boat so cranking is no big deal


Eric, seriously, if you are thinking of a new one, let me know. I am right "around the corner", from getting one myself. And I am torn between Shorestation, Hewitt, & Shoremaster.

If you are looking new, are you willing to assemble it yourself. According to the show people, there is some serious savings doing it that way. I have not checked into that yet myself, as soon as I get a chance, I plan to check around....

Multi-sale discount....:D

stevo137
01-15-2006, 03:16 PM
also, the 190/197 is not a real heavy boat so cranking is no big deal
I actually enjoy cranking mine, it's a good workout...

André
01-15-2006, 03:43 PM
I actually enjoy cranking mine, it's a good workout...
Slight threadjack but anybody ever made themself a boatlift motor to spin that big wheel?
There 1000 $ CDN here(about 830 US) plus 150$ of taxes!!! :eek:

roddydog
01-15-2006, 04:01 PM
Yeah, but make sure to get the 110V, the 12V just doesn't have the sucking power you really need. 8p
From an 'expert I assume. :D

EricB
01-15-2006, 04:28 PM
Whatever you do, be sure you do not sway from this one word: aluminum.

I've had (have) both. Do yourself a favore and make it aluminum. New or used.

bigmac
01-15-2006, 04:47 PM
Whatever you do, be sure you do not sway from this one word: aluminum.

I've had (have) both. Do yourself a favore and make it aluminum. New or used.

I quit on steel boat lifts because of the hassle of painting them, but my old Shore Station cantilever was much easier to put in, position, and take out than my current aluminum vertical lift, and I've never seen an empty steel boat lift w/ canopy get tossed over in a windstorm, while that's a fairly regular occurence with aluminum lifts around here.

erkoehler
01-16-2006, 12:10 AM
Do I need to look for a 3 or 4k pound lift!

twieder
01-16-2006, 12:39 AM
I got a buddie of mine that sells lifts and he told me to go atleast 500 over your boat weight.He says ya got to consider full tank of fuel,gear stowed in the boat,as well as 1 or 2 people in the boat.(cleanin out gear when day is done and boat on lift) So if your boat is say 2800 dry, atleast a 3500 pounder should do.

east tx skier
01-16-2006, 01:05 AM
Do I need to look for a 3 or 4k pound lift!

Between those two numbers, I'd go with 4,000 lbs.

My father-in-law went with 6,000 lbs, and if it were my boat, I'd go 6K if, for no better reason, just to overdo it.

3K is not enough. Boat is roughtly 2,500 lbs dry. Full tank of gas weighs more than 200 lbs. Add equipment and passengers and you've bucked capacity. Oh, and don't forget the cradle weight.

erkoehler
01-16-2006, 01:09 AM
Ok, so definetly need 4k and aluminum. Any other must haves?

east tx skier
01-16-2006, 01:10 AM
Find someone good to fabricate a cradel that matches the dimensions of your MC trailer.

erkoehler
01-16-2006, 01:13 AM
Find someone good to fabricate a cradel that matches the dimensions of your MC trailer.

So, a stock lift from shorestation won't work?

twieder
01-16-2006, 01:20 AM
I believe Shorestation made lifts for inboards, but you have to adjust them to fit your hull.

east tx skier
01-16-2006, 01:22 AM
I have no idea. He had his custom built. Getting the right twist in the bunks is the trick.

Take a look at the owner's manual about lifting the boat.

Trailer provides best support for the boat. Minimum 250 sq. inches continuous surface area running from the transom under the stringers. I'm sure they have something that will work fine for your boat. Just make sure it meets MC's requirements.

twieder
01-16-2006, 01:38 AM
On most lifts that I've seen, the bunk supports are u-bolted to the cross member. All you have to do there is mesure the distance of the bunks on your trailer and match um up.
Make sure you get a lift that has adjustable bunk supports! That will get your clearances. It will take a few times bringing the boat in and out to get the bunks adjusted right.
Or if you want to save some money, buy a used lift that had a MC on it.Lot less adjustments!

It's deffinately time consuming to set one up, but it's worth it to have a lift!

My buddies sitewww.riverviewwatersportsmarine.com (http//www.riverviewwatersportsmarine.com)
He can answer all your questions better than I can.

erkoehler
01-16-2006, 01:43 AM
I'll check out the site...

twieder
01-16-2006, 01:50 AM
I'll check out the site...
He's at the cleveland show till tuesday, but I'm pretty sure he's going to Ft.Wayne In. show in a couple weeks, or atleast he usually does.

erkoehler
01-16-2006, 01:52 AM
He's at the cleveland show till tuesday, but I'm pretty sure he's going to Ft.Wayne In. show in a couple weeks, or atleast he usually does.


Kind of a trek for me just for a list, but if he has a good enough deal :D

PendO
01-16-2006, 02:32 AM
So, a stock lift from shorestation won't work?

no it works great, just our first shorestation was for a 1980something sea ray (cradled the hull differently)... shorestations are great new or used, i have no problems trusng my dads old one with the 197. just wanted to clarify why we retrofitted.

Workin' 4 Toys
01-16-2006, 10:22 AM
Kind of a trek for me just for a list, but if he has a good enough deal :D
I am probably going Sat to get prices on a shorestation and Hewitt from our local dealers. Let me know what you want, and I can see what $ for 2. You want it delivered and assembled or what?
I'm going 4k Alum. vertical.
Maybe 5k or 6k. Just for kicks, in case I get that X80 I don't need someday:D .

Datdude
01-16-2006, 12:10 PM
Floe is the way to go if $ is not an issue-you get what you pay for

ERK,
clean out you PM box

I might have a lift for you

Workin' 4 Toys
01-16-2006, 01:21 PM
Floe is the way to go if $ is not an issue-you get what you pay for

ERK,
clean out you PM box

I might have a lift for you
I thought Floe was a trailer manu. Must have gotten into other equipment too.

bigmac
01-16-2006, 01:35 PM
I thought Floe was a trailer manu. Must have gotten into other equipment too.

They're located about 15 minutes from here. It's a family owned shop and I know them well . They started as a couple of guys welding aluminum snowmobile trailers in a pole barn back in the days when the big switchover from steel to aluminum trailers - their timing was impeccable. They have grown from there and got into docks and lifts several years ago. It's a quality company and they're nice people. Their stuff used to be very substantially more expensive than average (unrealistically so, IMHO), but increasing competition has brought them back a little closer to reality. I own a couple of their snowmobile trailers and they're excellent. I looked at their docks and lifts, and while I admire some of their engineering concepts, I decided to go with a different manufacturer for that stuff.

erkoehler
01-16-2006, 02:13 PM
Datdude, PM's all cleared out.

Rockman
01-16-2006, 02:36 PM
Check RGC Lifts before buying a shorestation.

Workin' 4 Toys
01-16-2006, 03:39 PM
BM,

Hewitt is in Nicollet, Minn.

bigmac
01-16-2006, 04:39 PM
BM,

Hewitt is in Nicollet, Minn.

Sure. Pier Pleasure and ShoreMaster are in Minnesota too, along with Hewitt, Floe and Newman Dock and Lift (SledBed trailers) and a host of smaller companies doing the same. It seems like Minnesota has more than its fair share of people who have a pole barn and can weld aluminum. I drive by 3-5 dock/lift dealers of one kind or another every single day. There are 7 such dealers within 5 miles of my house, and at least 30 within 20 miles. My MasterCraft dealer carries ShoreStation.

I've owned many brands, and have even built a couple myself (THAT was a disaster and I take crap for that from my wife and kids to this day). I have no shortage of opportunites to thoroughly shop for competitive prices, and evaluate construction, design and functionality.

Workin' 4 Toys
01-16-2006, 04:45 PM
There must be a old aluminum military dump up there or something.:D

Datdude
01-16-2006, 06:03 PM
I thought Floe was a trailer manu. Must have gotten into other equipment too.


Floe started in the Marine business in the early 80's but like other manufacturers needed something else to make in their slow times so they started building trailers. Their marine business has grown so much they make docks and lifts all year now along with trailers.

Workin' 4 Toys
01-16-2006, 10:28 PM
See how much I learn on here. A few years ago, I would never have guessed there was anything but Shorestation, because that seems to be the general term everyone uses around here to define a boat lift.

east tx skier
01-16-2006, 10:44 PM
Do the shorestation's adjustable bunk supports enable you to put a twist in the bunk (like this)?

Workin' 4 Toys
01-16-2006, 10:52 PM
Sure, if you wanted to, you could do about anything to them. It's basically two straight pieces of aluminum, and the attachments could be left to ones imagination and $$$...

twieder
01-16-2006, 10:56 PM
Has anyone had an expieriance with GalvaFoam floating lifts? The way it looks you need a boat house or a "u" dock to make it work. Just thought it looked easier to get in and out ,it floats.

Workin' 4 Toys
01-26-2006, 11:56 PM
Looks like I might be going with the Hewitt.

It looks like they are putting some extra effort into being the best. They certainly look beefier that the rest. And I like the bunks are carpeted wood with reinforced aluminum.