What size boatlift do you need?  Purchasing a new boatlift does not have to be a confusing time. Yet, you have a lot to consider before making your final decision. By spending a little time here, you will be better educated and able to ask the right questions.  Ultimately it will ensure you make a better choice.

In addition to getting the numbers, here are some things to consider:

How big is the body of water you will be on?

For instance, will you be on the bay of Green Bay, Lake Winnebago or are you on an inland lake or river? In general, the larger the body of water, the larger the waves will be and the higher your boat must be.

Are there significant fluctuations in water depth during the boating season? 

Green Bay and Lake Winnebago present unique situations for boaters because these two bodies of water have substantial variations in water depth and wave action every year.  Why are these fluctuations so significant? 

When these two situations combine, you want a lift that puts your boat well above the water, so your investment is safe.

How about the boatlift frame construction?

You need a durable frame construction to withstand the boat weight and pressures from the waveWelded side frames prevent any lateral movement in the lift.  With age, every time you put your boat on them, bolted side frames move laterally.  This will eventually result in enlarged bolt holes, rusted bolts, and loose nuts from the movement of the side frames.

                                                                                                                           Welded Areas on Side Frames

                                                                                                  Compare to other manufacturers

Most brands use bolts everywhere, so shipping is less expensive. The more bolts used in the side frames, the weaker the entire structure is. By comparison, the ShoreMaster boatlift with welded side frames prevents lateral movement.

Only ShoreMaster boatlifts have a welded “V” frame to make access to your boat easier.  You do not have to crawl over a horizontal bar to get into your boat.

What is the gauge (material thickness) of the Frame?  

The best-constructed boatlifts have aluminum, welded frames using heavy gauge, square or rectangular aluminum.  Round vertical legs are not as strong as a square or rectangular leg.  As a result, with structurally welded frames and the heaviest gauge tubing, you have the most durable frames possible.  We urge you to compare ShoreMaster lifts with any other brand.

What material is used for the pulley?

No matter what size boatlift you purchase pulley material is a critical maintenance issue for any boatlift.  Most manufacturers use plastic pulleys because they are cheaper to make. On the other hand, they get brittle over time. The sides of the groove tend to crack and break off allowing the cable to fall out of the pulley. If the cable is already weakened due to rust or broken strands, the cable may break.

image of SS Rail

Plastic Pulleys


However, if the cable does not break, two things can happen:

  1. The cable may jam between the pulley and the tube side.  As a result, it will become very difficult to raise or even lower the boat. or
  2. The cable may drag across the pulley shaft.  This will put an excessive drag on the cable and eventually wear a groove in the shaft until it breaks the shaft off.




image of ShoreMaster Brass Pulleys
                                                                                                             Brass Pulleys

ShoreMaster uses brass pulleys with stainless steel bushings for unsurpassed strength. They simply NEVER wear out or break. Even the smaller jet ski lifts use brass pulleys to minimize maintenance issues.

What is the most popular boatlift used on the Door County Peninsula?

image of Vertical Boat Lift

Vertical Boat Lift

The VERTICAL boat lift is the most popular boat lift in Door Couty.  It far surpasses the cantilever boatlifts used in the past. 

Vertical boatlifts require less water – 6″ vs 12″.  They also raise your boat higher.  Normal cantilever boatlifts raise your boat 36″ – 40″  high versus a vertical lift which goes to 66″ high.  Vertical lifts have capacities up to 7,000 lb.

What is the warranty of the boatlift frame?

Some boatlifts come with a 1 or 2-year factory structural warranty.  Some have a five year, and a few have a 10-year warranty.  ShoreMaster boatlifts carry a full 15-year structural warranty.  

Don’t you deserve the best protection and strength of a ShoreMaster Boatlift?

In Part 4 of this series, the discussion will be the actual calculations to select the correct size boatlift.

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 St. Hwy 42/57, 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.