You worked hard to buy the boat of your dreams. When you finally get the time to enjoy it, you don’t want to waste time getting it into the water. That is why so many waterfront owners choose to purchase boat lifts to store their vessel on site. Image the convenience of being in the water in minutes, while also keeping your boat safe and clean.
In order to achieve this, it’s important you choose the right boat lift to ensure the safety and longevity of your vessel. This guide will explore the key factors to consider when selecting a boat lift.
Dry Weight vs. Operating Weight:
The first question you’ll need to answer when looking for a boat lift is, “What is the weight of your boat?” Your first thought will be to check your boats specifications, but there are many factors that contribute to your boats actual weight that are not listed in your boats specifications. The dry weight listed for boats often excludes outboard motors, fuel, fluids, gear, and accessories. You will need to consider the combined weight of these additional items when choosing lift capacity.
Adding a 20% buffer to the total weight provides a safe margin for unforeseen variations.
Overestimating capacity is wise if you plan to upgrade to a heavier boat in the future.
People and Cargo:
We know your time is limited and you want to spend as little time getting onto the water as possible. Storing your gear right on the boat is one of the biggest advantages of having your boat stored on site. You may not realize how much additional weight even the most typical items can add to your vessel. Now add a passenger or two. As you board your boat, you want to ensure easy access, especially for those who might not get around as easily anymore. To safely do this, you want to make sure you have taken these extra pounds into account.
As per manufactures, boat lifts are not meant to carry people while in operation. Be sure to load and unload passengers with minimal time spent on the lift.
As per manufactures, pontoon boats are not suitable as recreational decks while on the lift. With the proper increase in capacity, you could feel safer enjoying your boat even when it’s docked.
Overloading the lift can cause serious injuries, and damage to both the boat and the lift itself.
The travel of a boat lift refers to the distance from its lowest position to its highest position. When the lift is in its highest position, you want to make sure the keel of your boat is high enough out of the water to avoid wave action. At its lowest position, you want to make sure you have enough water depth to freely float your boat off the lift.
Areas with strong waves necessitate a lift that elevates your boat sufficiently.
Some lifts offer extended lifting ranges for optimal clearance in challenging conditions.
Specific brands allow you to move small watercrafts away from the water entirely.
Knowing your water depth is crucial for selecting the appropriate lift type.
Every body of water has daily and seasonal fluctuations, make sure you know the highs and the lows of your particular body of water.
Shallow water may require a lift specifically designed for low water conditions.
The lift’s minimum depth requirement needs to accommodate the draft of your boat.
Popular Boat Lift Options
Everyone’s needs are unique to their slice of paradise and the equipment they use. That’s why we have partnered with the industries top boat lift manufactures, so that we can provide a boat lift solution that fits your needs.
Offers cable and hydraulic lifts with capacities ranging from 1,200 lb to 12,500 lb.
Cable lifts have a 5’6” lifting range and require 12″ of water depth plus the boat’s draft.
Hydraulic lifts offer up to 5’ of lifting range and require 18″ of water depth plus the boat’s draft.
Offers hydraulic lifts with capacities ranging from 2,000 lb to 30,000 lb.
Hydraulic lifts have a maximum 6’6” of lifting range, ideal for areas with strong waves.
Lifts can be adapted for extremely low water levels with their shallow water kit.
PWS offers Swinger lifts and Elevator lifts with capacities ranging from 1,500 lb to 16,000 lb.
Swinger lifts have a travel range of 8’6” and Elevator lifts have a customizable travel range.
Swinger lifts have the ability to rotate your craft 180° to move it away from the water completely.
Elevator lifts can operate at a 45° angle, making them ideal for overcoming obstacles.
PWS: Your Trusted Boat Lift Partner
Choosing the right boat lift can be complex, seeking professional assistance is recommended. PWS offers a comprehensive selection of ShoreMaster, SunStream and Davit Master boat lifts to meet your specific needs. Our experienced team can help you choose the right lift for your boat, water depth, and wave conditions.
Contact us today at (920) 493-4404 for a free consultation.
A basketball hoop and a slide are some of the latest additions to the ShoreMaster line of accessories.
Take the game off the court and put it in the cool water. Everyone will enjoy a Basketball Hoop from ShoreMaster!
Imagine the summer fun your family will enjoy.
Basketball Hoop Details
ShoreMaster Dockside Basketball Hoop
The backboard measures 44″ x 30″ for easy bank shots. Like most ShoreMaster dock accessories, the Dockside Basketball hoop utilizes the exclusive Infinity Track accessory system. You can easily attach and reattach it anywhere along the perimeter of the dock system. For more information on the Infinity track system, see this article.
The basketball hoop includes a 5′ post, which mounts easily to the side of the dock. (Non-ShoreMaster docks may require a simple adaptor plate.)
The hoop features an 18″ diameter rim, with waterproof nylon net, this basketball hoop is sure to provide years of fun.
Imagine your family having one more attraction this summer to keep them occupied. There is no reason to get bored in Door County.
SPECIAL NOTE – The Slide mentioned here is ONLY available for delivery in the Spring, 2022! The supplier is completely sold out and will only take our orders in the November pre-season order. CallJerrytoday for pricing and get your Slide ordered for Spring, 2022.
Free Standing slide
Another accessory is the Dock Mounted Slide shown here. This accessory will be a great addition to your dock. The slide can also be a freestanding unit in the water* or mounted on a dock.
Call Jerry @ (920) 493-4404for details and pricing.
Dock Mounted slide
*Caution: Be sure the water depth is sufficient for the slide. We also recommend not going down head-first. Small children should use a life preserver as an added safety measure.
Tell Your Friends & Family
Have friends or neighbors you believe should see this article? Email them thislink – and Thank you!
Don’t Forget – Considering rip-rap for your shoreline? PWSis the place to contact!
Where is Pier & Waterfront Solutions?
Located at 7325 St. Hwy 57, it’s 3 miles south of Sturgeon Bay and 1 mile past the intersection of Cty MM (heading north). Look on the right side, one mile north, at the next corner (Idlewild Road and Hwy 57).
Is PWS OPEN?
Pier & Waterfront Solutions has remained “open.” We have implemented measures to ensure the safety of our employees and visitors. At the same time, we are working to maintain the trusted service that you have come to expect.
PWS implemented these precautionary measures:
1. Conducting as much business as possible by email, text, or phone. 2. Site visits will continue. When in-person contacts are necessary, we will follow “social distancing” guidelines. 3. Our display yard is always open for you to examine at your leisure. All displays have a numbered, red tag on them. If you want more information or pricing, please reference that number.
What can YOU do to help us?
1. Please conduct as much business as possible via emails, messaging, and emails. This step protects everyone involved. 2. When you see our crews installing equipment, please practice “social distancing.”
Thank you for allowing us to work with you.
So – YES – PWS is OPEN and waiting for you?
Please call, message, or email PWS with any questions.
Pier & Waterfront Solutions customers have access to the best dock selection, more dock styles and more materials than any other Door County dealer.
Most dealers offer only aluminum docks or a few lightweight steel dock. Some even offer one or two brands.
Aluminum is popular because it is lightweight and easier to handle.
Who has the best aluminum dock in Door County?
Pier & waterfront Solutions offers (6) ShoreMaster aluminum constructions – in roll-in, stationary, and floating docks.
Now that’s a some dock selection!
Here is a comparison of the aluminum constructions offered:
RS 4 –
4″ side rails. 10′ sections, seven types of decking, aluminum or steel legs. Ideal for calm waters on an inland lake or sheltered area.
RS 4 Curved –
The RS4 Curved dock sections are built the same as the same rigorous specs as the RS 4 shown above. Why is this different? The availability of 45- degree and 90-degree curved sections. These curved sections allow for many configurations that no one else offers. (Hint – You can use curved sections with the ANY ShoreMaster dock frame to genuinely make your dock unique.
7″ side rails. 8′ and 16′ sections, with seven types of decking, aluminum or steel legs. Ideal for the rough waters in an open area.
9″ Truss side frames. 8′ and 16′ sections, seven types of decking, aluminum or steel legs. Ideal for the rough waters in most open areas.
The FTS9 has the identical construction of the TS9 in all respects. The frames have floats attached and are ideal for soft muddy bottoms.
Poly Dock – Poly Dock is a modular dock design made of rotationally molded polyethylene. There are NO unsightly black floats used.
It’s a floating dock system that can withstand up to 2′ waves, making it ideal for inland lakes or rivers with muddy bottoms and large water fluctuations.
Over the years, PWSprovided hundreds of ShoreMaster aluminum docks, but it is not always the best solution for all shorelines.
What other dock selection is available?
With the high water and intense storms we have experienced in recent years, PWS now offers the exclusive
The 3-Season steel pier is built to demanding specifications for strength and durability.
3-Season piers have withstood just about everything Mother Nature can throw at it. No Wisconsin manufacturer builds a heavier frame section. It weighs over a quarter ton without the oversized steel legs.
PWS recommends flow-through decking for the 3-Season pier. Flow-through decking relieves any upward pressure caused by a storm’s high waves.
PWS installs everything we sell.
Now you know why Pier & Waterfront Solutions is so popular.
We offer everything you need for your dock or lift. Contact us TODAY!
Where can I find Pier & Waterfront Solutions?
Pier & Waterfront Solutions, 7325 St. Hwy 57, is located 3 miles south of Sturgeon Bay. Go 1 mile PAST the intersection with County MM (heading north). Look on the right at the next corner – Idlewild Road and Hwy 57.
The Covid-19 virus continues to spread and affects many people. We are conducting as much business as possible by email, text, or phone.
Site visits continue as usual. When making in-person contacts, we follow “social distancing” guidelines when possible.
PWSdisplay yard – OPEN 24-7
PWS‘s display area is always open for you to examine at your leisure. All displays available for sale have a numbered, red tag on them. Want more information on something you saw in our yard? Please reference that number when you inquire.
PWS provides estimates by email to make the process faster, safer, and paperless.
Call, message, or email Jerry with any questions.
Contact Jerry at 920-493-4404 for more information or use this link.
* Combine the RS4 Curved sections with this frame for a unique design.
A frequently asked question is – what is the difference between ramps vs. gangways?
Standard dock ramps
When choosing between ramps vs. gangways, first, think about what your neighbors are using. Remember, your dock will most likely sit at the same height!
Would you, your family, or guests be comfortable going up that incline to use the dock?
Do they need a running start to get up to the dock? If they do, a ramp is not the way to go.
Ramps work great for a level or short distance up or down. They don’t need handrails due to their length, and the angle to the dock is not steep.
How high is your dock above the water?
On an inland lake, you usually are about 1 foot above the water at the most. Since the waves seldom get more than a foot high on a lake, you don’t have a steep climb to get to the dock. A simple ramp will do an excellent job for you.
One more thing to consider about a ramp
Please don’t allow yourself to be talked into using a ramps narrower than the dock itself. It’s an accident waiting to happen.
Someone walking to shore may get distracted and step off the dock expecting the ramp to be the same width. Foolish but true.
Ramps or gangways should always match the width of the dock. You don’t want someone stepping off the edge when they thought the dock was wider.
Consider your shoreline
What do you have to walk over to get to your dock? Is it a sandy beach or a rocky shore with stones the size of the palm of your hand? Are there large boulders that only the kids enjoy climbing?
Is rip-rap only is the first obstacle followed by the rocks?
Now, with the rip-rap, you may experience a difficult time getting over the rocks. In some cases, the water is right up to the rip-rap.
Once over the rip-rap, you may have to walk over some rough terrain to get to the dock or pier.
Gangways are a safe and straightforward solution to your problem.
Consider both the length and width you need. For example, the PWS 3-Season Pier offers various pier and ramp widths and lengths to fit your needs.
PWSoffers ramps and gangways with the same decking as the rest of your dock. It all fits together seamlessly.
Do you have rip-rap?
Due to the high water, you may have installed rip-rap along the shoreline to protect property values.
Now, with the large rip rap, you may have a difficult time getting over the rocks.
You may also have to walk over some rough terrain to get to a dock or pier.
What’s the solution?
To start with, PWScan add stairs in the form of flat rocks or steel steps right in the rip-rap. From there, we have gangways in 20 ft. lengths to finish your walk over any obstructions.
Have an aluminum dock?
PWS has 16′, 20′, and 24′ lengths with handrails included. These significantly reduce the chance of a twisted ankle or a broken leg or arm.
The high water likely means your dock is higher than previous years to escape the waves’ power in a storm.
Now you need ramps or gangways to access the dock. A ramp, which is usually 8-10′ long, will give you a steep angle to climb under some circumstances.
The best way to access your dock when it is this high is via gangways. The longer gangways provide a gradual slope that young and old will appreciate.
A gentle transition from the shoreline to your dock is essential for a seamless, gentle climb. (As a side note, the long gangways mean you usually need fewer sections of the pier.)
PWS offers stairs, ramps, and gangways to access your dock.
One of the critical choices you’ll make is choosing between ramps and gangways.
What do you have to walk over to get to your dock?
What do you have to walk over to get to your dock – Sand, rocks, or boulders?
As you think about the length, make sure you keep in mind the ramp’s width. PWS has various options to suit your needs.
If you don’t have far to walk (less than eight feet from shore to dock), a ramp is an excellent choice. That is unless the pier is set high.
Ramps are standard on shorelines where the water level doesn’t fluctuate much. The ramp is usually short enough that they don’t require handrails. However, longer approaches provide a gentle slope to a higher dock.
Aluminum Ramps come in 4′ x 4′, 4′ x 8′, and 6′ x 8′ sizes. The strength of aluminum does not normally allow for longer lengths without handrails.
PWS will advise you which type of dock access works best in your situation.
If the distance from your dock to the shore is:
1. Long and you have to walk over large rocks or boulders: 2. The dock is set high: or 3. You get a lot of debris floating along your shoreline – Consider gangways rather than ramps.
Unlike ramps, gangways provide a gentle slope to walk up because of the distance they cover.
A 20′ gangway could reduce the cost of your dock system too.
Aluminum residential gangways are 4′ wide and come in lengths of 16′, 20′, and 24′.
An alternative for galvanized docks would be a steel gangway, which comes in 20′ lengths. As you can imagine, this longer length is much more comfortable with less incline.
Let’s summarize these ideas.
Let PWS find the Perfect Dock System for you.
Determining what a good fit would be is an integral part of making your dock system perfect.
PWS offers high-quality and affordable options for gangways, ramps, and accessories. We provide the expertise and expert knowledge you need to determine which option will work best for your situation.
PWScan help you plan the perfect boat docking system for your area.
Pier & Waterfront Solutions, 7325 St. Hwy 57, is located 3 miles south of Sturgeon Bay. It’s 1 mile PAST the intersection with County road MM (heading north). Look on the right at the intersection of Idlewild Road and Hwy 57.
The virus continues to spread. PWS is conducting as much business as possible by email, text, or phone.
Site visits continue as usual. When making in-person contacts, we follow “social distancing” guidelines whenever possible.
Our display yard is OPEN 24-7
The PWS display area is always open for you to examine at your leisure. All displays available for sale have a numbered, red tag on them. Want more information on something you saw in our yard? Please reference that number when you inquire.
PWS will provide estimates by email to make the process faster, safer, and paperless.
In Wisconsin waters, there are (5) different boat lift styles generally used. The (5) styles include:
Elevator boat lifts.
Different conditions require different boat lifts.
Cantilever Boat Lift Style
If you are on an inland lake or river where the water depth does not fluctuate more than 12″ throughout the boating season and wave action does not exceed 6″, a cantilever lift is generally suitable for you.
Cantilever lifts requires about 12″ of water plus the draft of your boat to operate. The lifting rack requires that depth of water due to the shape of the frames.
At first glance, that seems deep enough for most boats, but you still have to allow enough water above the rack to float your boat.
The real limitation of a cantilever lift is the total lifting height. If a river rises, especially after a heavy rainstorm, a boat can easily float off the lift. The boat is not up high enough to prevent the water from washing it away. Who knows how far it will travel before it hits something?
The normal lifting range is between 40″ and 48″. Remember, the rack starts at 12″ plus the draft of your boat, so you are usually less than 12″ above the water at its highest point.
On any large body of water, a vertical lift is the recommended lift for most people. Vertical lifts do a better job of protecting your boat from waves.
Some vertical lifts require about 6″-10″ of water plus the draft of the boat. As an example, ShoreMaster vertical boat lifts require only 6″ of water (plus the draft of your boat). Given the same conditions, you have already gained 6″ with this one feature alone.
Vertical Boat Lift Style
Now, add the total lifting height of 66″ for a ShoreMaster vertical lift, and you gained a minimum of 18 or more inches of protection vs. a cantilever lift.
Your most significant protection comes from the lifting height. Don’t forget about the strength of the lift frame and the gauge of the material used. ONLY the ShoreMaster boat lift has welded side frames with heavy-duty square or rectangular frames for more strength.
Other brands require several packages of bolts and nuts to assemble the frames. Eventually, the holes for the bolts enlarge, and the frames begin to sway. The solid welded frame is a real advantage at this time. A minimal number of bolts are needed.
Can a lift raise a boat TOO high?
Strange as it may seem, it is possible to go too high. How? When the frames are not strong enough to handle the leverage of the weight from the boat.
At least one brand does lift higher than a ShoreMaster lift, but they failed to use welded frames for the additional strength it needs.
If you can imagine the forces acting against the frames in a storm when you have thousands of pounds suspended in the air with only simple bolts to hold them together. The higher the boat is, the greater the leverage on the frames.
Their leg wall thickness is not heavy enough to handle the forces acting against it. Green Bay produces more than 4′ high waves, and the waves frequently strike against the bottom of a boat, adding to the leverage problems.
Elevator Boat Lift Style
Used with permanent pier installations, Elevator Lifts are a great combination. They raise the boat from the side, making access to the lift very easy.
Narrow channels and areas experiencing large fluctuations in water depth or hurricanes require elevator lifts.
Hydraulic Boat Lifts Style
Hydraulic Boat Lift
A hydraulic lift generally lifts the highest – up to 6′ high in some cases. This height, along with the wide stance of the base, gives excellent protection for your boat. The hydraulic lift handles high waves and water surges during storms also.
These D.C. operated units are:
Wireless remote-controlled (There are no wheels to contend with.)
Vertical PWC Boat Lift
Vertical PWC Lift
Jet Ski lifts come in 3 styles: Vertical, Cantilever, and Floating.
The vertical PWC lifts allow you to get into shallow water and raise your boat higher than the cantilever type. They operate in the same fashion as a standard vertical boat lift and provide more protection for your PWC.
The PWC cantilever lift works fine on small lakes and rivers that do not fluctuate in depth or have high waves.
ShorePort PWC Boat Lift Style
The floating lifts (ShorePort) are excellent on rivers that fluctuate a lot in depth or inland lakes. These are very simple to use and require very little water to operate. The floating lift has no maintenance and you simply drive up onto the floating unit. No wheel cranking involved.
Wave action above 12” is not recommended for this type of “lift”. Combine a floating dock with the PWC floating lift and you have the perfect combination for a lake or river that fluctuates during the season but does not have large wave action.
Caution – when using any PWC lift – If you have a sand or small rock bottom near the shore use caution when approaching the lift. Sand and small stones can be sucked into the intake and destroy your motor.
The virus continues to spread. PWS is conducting as much business as possible by email, text, or phone.
Site visits continue as usual. When in-person contacts are necessary, we follow “social distancing” guidelines as closely as possible.
Our display yard is OPEN 24-7
PWS‘s display yard is always open for you to examine at your leisure. All displays available for sale have a numbered, red tag on them. If you want more information or pricing, please reference that number when you inquire.
We provide estimates and quotes by email to make the process faster, safer, and paperless.
What can YOU do?
Please conduct as much business as possible via emails, messaging, and phones. When you see our staff and crews on-site, please practice “social distancing.”
Call, message, or email us with any questions.
Thank you for allowing us to work with you safely.