Is Buying a Boat Lift Worth It?

Owning a boat is not only a major investment, but it promises endless adventure. Unfortunately, dreams of spending relaxing days out on the water can quickly turn into a nightmare if the boat isn’t properly maintained. One way to protect your investment is to purchase a boat lift. 

Some boaters choose to leave their boat moored to a dock or anchored to a buoy, but time and time again, this proves to be a costly mistake. A boat lift can help to eliminate the threat of water damage and deterioration over time, providing much-needed protection and peace of mind.

Although utilizing a boat lift may seem like a good idea, it might not be the best choice for everyone. There are several factors to consider when determining if a boat lift is right for you.

The pros and cons of owning a boat lift

The British yacht Princess 98' MY is lifted by the boatlift Big Willi
A boat lift in Germany | Jonas Güttler/picture alliance via Getty Images

Knowing that your boat is protected and secure allows more time for fun and less time to worry. Utilizing a boat lift is a much better option than trailering or dry stack storage. It makes it easier to get in and out of the water, eliminating countless hours spent hauling your vessel to and from a marina, according to ShoreMaster

There is less chance of damage from wind, waves, and debris when storing a marine vehicle out of water. Maintenance time is also reduced, as it is much easier to wipe down the hull when it is on the lift, keeping the boat in pristine condition. The boat is ready whenever you are, and you will most likely find yourself enjoying more time on the water.

There are a few downsides to using a lift, especially in water that is too shallow. According to BoatU.S. Marine Insurance, the most common problems people experience with a boat lift involves cables that unexpectedly break, become misaligned, or corrode. It’s important to make sure that all moving parts of the lift are frequently inspected and maintained. 

Another common problem is that owners have a false sense of security when using a lift. They tend to believe that their watercraft is safe from a storm and don’t take the necessary precautions. In the event of high winds or damaging waves, a boat stored on a lift must still be secured to avoid damage.

Things to consider before purchasing a boat lift


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One of the most important things to consider is the location of where you will house the boat lift. A heavily traveled waterway will require a more durable hoist. In contrast, a peaceful quiet cove will provide fewer challenges.

The depth of the water, the width of the dock slip, the actual dry weight of your watercraft, and lift capacity are all contributing factors when selecting a proper lift, according to Boat Lift Warehouse. There are several styles of lifts, and it’s imperative to find a lift that meets the need of your particular vessel. 

Storing a boat in the water is the largest cause of damage below the waterline. Not only does it shorten the life of the vessel, but it creates a lot of stress for owners. There is a bigger risk of UV damage, blistering gel coat, slime and scum in the inlet/exhaust, and possible zebra mussel infestation.

Although a lift can be a little expensive, it can help protect your boat from deteriorating and incurring future repair costs.

Who will benefit from a lift?

A boat lift makes sense for anyone that frequently uses their marine vessel and wants to have easy access to it. For those who only go out on the occasional weekend or summer vacation, a boat trailer may make more sense. There are other more affordable storage options for the occasional marine explorer. You don’t want to waste your money on something that will rarely get used.

For a person that lives on a lake or gets out on the water regularly, a lift is a must. Some people consider it an added expense of boating that they can’t do without.

Explore all the options and determine if the hassle of launching and lifting a boat outweighs the benefits of a quality lift.