A boatlift can come in several styles.  In this first of a four-part series, we discuss Cantilever, PWC, ShorePorts, and Track systems.
Each boatlift has a specific way it operates, and the conditions under which it should be used.  We’ve narrowed the selections down to (8) different types of boat lifts and PWC lifts used most often in N.E. Wisconsin. The more you know about them the more confident your purchasing decision will be.

Cantilever Boatlift    

 A cantilever lift is generally suitable if you are on a moderate depth inland lake. If the water depth does not fluctuate more than 12” in a boating season, a cantilever lift may work for you.
image of Cantilever Boatlift by ShoreMaster

Cantilever Boatlift by ShoreMaster

Cantilever boatlifts require more water depth than a Vertical lift – (usually 12” of water versus 6″). The lifting rack does not lower into the water as far as other options.  Plus, you still have to allow enough water above the lift rack to float your boat on it.
Additionally, they generally have a lifting height of 30” to 40” which is too low for the bay of Green Bay.  What if you have waves of 36” or higher or a water surge.  Your boat is in danger of getting washed off the rack.
Due to these limitations, a cantilever boat lift is not used on the Door County Peninsula very often. These limitations also mean the resale value is going to be less.

 PWC Lift

image of ShoreMaster Vertical PWC Lift

Vertical PWC Lift by ShoreMaster

PWC (Jet Ski lifts) come in 2 styles:  Vertical and Floating.  (We have excluded the Cantilever lifts.)
ShoreMaster’s vertical PWC lifts allow you to get into shallow water and raises your boat 50″ high.  It operates in the same fashion as a standard vertical boat lift. It provides excellent protection for your PWC.


image of ShoreMaster RS 7 and RS4 curved dock with slide and jet ski lifts

ShoreMaster PWC Lift


image of Shoreport PWC Lift by ShoreMaster

   ShorePort PWC Lift by                            ShoreMaster

ShoreMaster’s Floating lifts (ShorePort) are excellent on rivers that fluctuate in depth, or marinas and inland lakes. They are very simple to use and need very little water to operate.  The floating lift requires no maintenance, and you simply drive up onto it.  No need to have a motor or crank a wheel. 

Wave action above 15” is not recommended for this type of “boatlift.”  Combine a floating PolyDock with the PWC floating lift, for the perfect combination on a lake or river.

Track or Ramp System

image of Roll-n-Go Boat Ramp

Roll-n-Go Boat Ramp


image of Roll-n-Go PWC Track System

Roll-n-Go PWC Track System

The track or ramp system is still another option.  The personal watercraft ramp comes with a 25-foot nylon loop and winch which prevents scratching while loading the PWC. The basic unit measures 11′ long.  There are optional 8′ and 30″ extensions to increase the length of your ramp.  How about an adjustable 11″ – 14″ width which accommodates even the largest jet skis. 
Basic ramps are available with capacities of 750 lb up to 2,000 lb capacity.  See Also: http://roll-n-go.com/
The Track system works best when the supports can be anchored into the ground.  Without anchoring, the tracks can move by wave action and the result is a twisted frame.  These are ideal for inland lakes when only the basic length is needed, as shown above, and the track is secured.

The PWC or boat can be hand operated or a Lift Boss motor option is available.

Lift Boss

Lift Boss

In part 2 of this series we discuss three more options:  Hydraulic boatlifts, Elevator lifts, and Floating lifts.

Publication Dates

Part 1 of 4 – Cantilever, PWC, ShorePorts, Tracks   Feb 5, 2019
        2 of 4 – Hydraulic, Elevator Lifts, Floating lifts   Feb 12, 2019
        3 of 4 – Vertical lifts  Feb 19, 2019
        4 of 4 – Calculations   Feb 26. 2019
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PWS is located at 7325 State Hwy 57, that’s 1 mile North of County MM (Hwy 42) and 3 miles South of Sturgeon Bay at the Idlewild Road intersection. Our staff is here year-round to assist you.