FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Why invest in a boat lift in the Florida Keys?
There are many advantages to storing your boat on a lift and out of the water, but the principal reason to invest in a boat lift is to protect the beauty and functionality of your boat. When you’ve spent multiple thousands of dollars on your boat, you certainly want to maintain as much of that value as possible and keeping your boat out of the water will definitely help.
Boat lifts also provide peace of mind. If your boat is docked in an area subject to fluctuating water levels, choppy water, or marine vegetation and rubbish, then keeping your boat out of the water limits exposure. It will also prevent a buildup of scum and slime which can stain the porous Gelcoat surface.
Keeping a boat on a lift will prevent the need for periodic bottom painting and help maintain the value of your boat. A boat without bottom painting just plain looks better. You’ll also save on storage fees while having year-around availability to launch your boat on your schedule…not someone else’s.
You made a major investment in your boat and you want to protect that investment. A boat lift is the best way to store your boat out of the water, yet quickly enjoy it by simply lowering it into the water and driving away.
Does a boat lift add value to my property?
Boat lifts are an asset and selling point for a home if it’s located in an area where boating is a high priority. Adding a lift to an existing waterfront property or including it in new construction is just another benefit to set your property apart from the others. It allows buyers to maximize the use of their home for years to come. In some areas having a lift is almost a requirement, and a home that’s located on the water without a lift is at a distinct disadvantage in the housing resale market.
The cost of a lift will vary based on several factors. Some major components to consider are the cost of the lift, installation labor, electrical work, permitting fees, engineering drawings, and a site survey.
Is a permit required to install a boat lift?
Most government jurisdictions require a permit before a boat lift can be installed. In fact, there may be multiple agencies involved and they’ll require detailed engineering drawings and a site survey. Typically, though, many contractors will handle the permit process for you as part of their service. They’re aware of the requirements and local codes and can easily guide you through the process. Don’t forget, they have a vested interest in ensuring your lift is installed properly. No one wants any surprises during the final inspection by the county.
How long can I expect my boat lift to last?
As long as regular maintenance is undertaken your boat lift should last at least 25 years or more. You might need to do some minor maintenance work over the years, but that will ensure you get the maximum life with minimum inconvenience.
Where are Hurricane Boat Lifts manufactured?
Hurricane Boat Lifts are manufactured in Stuart Florida where we build our lifts using the highest-grade aluminum for marine applications. ALL components are made from aluminum or stainless steel – not galvanized metal. That’s why we can offer warranties unequaled in the industry.
After quality products and affordability, we emphasize customer service and customer satisfaction as our top priorities. Hurricane Boat Lifts are known for ease of installation and simplicity of operation.
What are the different styles of boat lifts?
There are a few main styles of boat lifts on the market that can accommodate most boat brands, dock configurations, and types of crafts. Usually boat lifts are categorized by their weight-carrying capacity.
Since the weight of the boat is very important when sizing a lift, it’s vital to add to the dry weight listed by the manufacturer to get the true operating weight of the boat. You must add the weight of the fuel, water, additional aftermarket features, number of engines and sizes, and miscellaneous gear.
Small Craft and PWC (personal watercraft) Lift Systems
These lifts are designed to accommodate either one or multiple Jet Skis. Keeping a Jet Ski out of the water keeps it safe and secure and minimizes discoloration of the hull from seawater.
Elevator-style boat lifts are ideal for use on waterfronts where in-water pilings are not allowed, e.g., narrow canals, or where the installation of pilings is difficult due to deep water or hard-bottom conditions. Elevator lifts can be mounted on seawalls, docks, or pilings in a 90-degree or inclined position. They are available in capacities up to 40,000 lbs.
Cradle boat lifts are designed for efficiency and are available in four, six, and eight pile configurations. This lift style is an industry standard and can be designed to work with any sized vessel up to 100,000 lbs. or more.
Beamless lifts feature open sides allowing easy access to your boat. If you’re worried about an obstructed view, having to look at the top beam, or hitting your head when boarding your boat, this is your answer.
Platform lifts are available in vertical or elevator systems. The entire platform drops into the water with the boat. And you can walk around your boat with ease. Unobstructed access to your boat allows for ease in loading and unloading of gear.
There is no one answer to fit all situations. The best boat lift for you is predicated on the brand, size, and style of boat; local HOA rules; government laws and restrictions; (e.g., right-of-way laws, view-blockage laws, environmental-impact laws, and frontage laws); the structure that the lift will be mounted to (sea wall, dock, etc.); whether the lift is on a canal or shore; and personal preference. An experienced boat lift dealer/contractor can discuss the advantages of each style and select the best choice for your specific application considering the respective local laws.
The size of the lift is predicated on the weight of the vessel it’s supporting. We always recommend using a boat lift that can lift at least 25% more weight than the ‘wet weight’ of the vessel being placed on the lift. The wet weight includes not only the published weight of the boat but the weight of fuel, water, and all the extra equipment and aftermarket additions, too.
Elevator boat lifts are typically used where in-water, outboard pilings are not permitted or can’t be installed due to deep water or hard bottom conditions. If you’re located on a narrow canal, an elevator lift will not extend as far out into the water like a cradle lift. An elevator lift consists of two aluminum tracks that are driven into the sea floor on an angle and affixed to a dock or seawall. Two horizontal aluminum cars are attached to the tracks and support the weight of the craft. The craft sits on two bunks that are installed perpendicular to the cars and configured to conform to the boat’s hull.
Aluminum elevator lifts must have zinc anodes installed to help dissipate electrolysis and reduce corrosion thereby extending the useful life of the lift.
The rating capacity of your boat lift is based on a balanced load. So, it’s important to position your boat in the exact same spot each time you place it on the lift. The boat’s center of gravity should be in the center of the lift so that the tension on all supporting cables is the same. When you twang the cables like a guitar string, or more likely tap them with a hammer, they should all sound the same. If the boat is placed too far forward, for example, the load won’t be balanced and too much weight will be placed on the forward cables causing undue strain, wear, and over a period of time, potential failure.
When the boat is in its home position make note of a fixed object on the boat and how it lines up with a spot on the lift. Use this as a gauge each time you position your boat on the lift.
Your installer will define the exact position for your boat after the lift is installed. Make sure anyone who may pilot your boat is aware of this home position.
What’s the purpose of a zinc anode?
Zinc Anodes or simply “Zincs” are sacrificial anodes used to protect against corrosion on submerged metal structures. Zincs oxidize more quickly than the metal they are protecting. When they are properly located and mounted on a boat lift, they help to dissipate electrolysis and reduce corrosion of the lift thereby extending its useful life.
How should I maintain my boat lift in the Florida Keys?
Even though you purchased a boat lift to protect your investment and maintain the appearance and performance of your boat, it’s important to keep it and all related equipment in peak condition.
Once your lift is installed, your contractor will train you on the safe operation and maintenance of your boat lift. However, regular maintenance and inspection is one of those things that is easy to overlook.
Always keep an eye on the lift cables to ensure there is no rust, wear, fraying, or damage and that they are positioned properly in the grooves on the winders. If any of these signs appear, replace the cables immediately. The bunk boards and carpet will need periodic replacement dependent upon usage.
Also, if you have an elevator lift, a key component that is easy to overlook are the sacrificial anodes, or what is commonly referred to as “boat zincs,” or simply “zincs.” Zincs should be replaced when about half of the anode has been lost to corrosion. In many cases in the Florida Keys that may be as often as every three months. The life of a zinc is a function of its weight. If a zinc needs to be replaced within three months, you’ll want to replace it with one that is larger.
Each time you use your lift you should rinse the lift components with fresh water to remove any salt and any potential barnacle growth.
We recommend quarterly lift inspections by a professional. They’ll visually inspect all components and lubricate the appropriate areas to ensure a long service life from your lift.
What’s the best way to clean my boat lift?
Your lift should be rinsed off with fresh water after each use to rid it of any salt and any potential barnacle growth. A more thorough cleaning with a mild soap (non-chlorinated, PH neutral, such as dishwashing detergent) and warm water is recommended on a periodic basis.
It’s best to stay away from chloride-containing cleaners, abrasive cleaners, or steel wool on the metal components. These can cause damage to the lift components and promote further corrosion.
The cleaning frequency is dependent upon the environmental conditions. In the Florida Keys, a more thorough cleaning should be made monthly or when visible deposits are noticeable.
Does a boat lift maintenance contract make sense?
Like anything else, periodic inspection and maintenance will extend the useful life of your boat lift. However, when you’re busy it’s one of those things that you can easily justify putting off.
Having a professional regularly inspect fittings, lift cables, lift beams, bunks, hardware, drive unit, zincs, and add grease to all moving parts on a quarterly basis will help ensure any issues are addressed before they become major. For the nominal cost (a few hundred dollars) an annual agreement with quarterly inspections is well worth the protection provided and your resultant peace of mind.
For example, we do a thorough inspection of your boat lift and afterward provide you with a detailed report showing exactly what was done and note any components which may need attention. You don't want a broken lift to keep you from getting out on the water when the fish are biting. To learn about the service offered by Hurricane Boat Lifts South, simply go to: www.largomarinesupply.com/annual-service-agreement
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