Contact Us

What Are The Different Types of Boat Lifts?

by Duncan Seawall

Your boat is a significant investment, one you would like to enjoy for years to come. One of the best ways to protect this investment is with a boat lift that keeps your boat out of the water when you are not using it.


Related Blog: What Type of Custom Dock is Best For You?


There are different types of boat lifts, but the primary function of each is to stabilize your boat and keep it safe from the adverse effects that water and the elements can have on it over time, including corrosion and algae build-up. Lifting your boat out of the water also protects it from the damage caused when it is tied up and knocked against the dock during rough weather.  The resulting scuffs and scrapes are an eyesore and decrease your boat's value. 

When considering a boat lift, your boat's dry weight (and with additional gear), beam, and the environment under which the lift will operate are all important. Wake conditions, lake, river, or ocean bed firmness, water depth, and space availability also play a vital role when it comes to choosing the right boat lift.

Let’s take a look at three different types of boat lifts and the pros and cons of each to help you determine which is the best fit for you.

Floating Boat Lift - Ideal for Fluctuating Water Levels

This type of lift supports your boat on air-filled plastic or metal chambers.  When it is time to release the boat, water fills the chambers, sinking them below the water's surface and letting the boat move away.  The chambers stay underwater until you return with the boat and position it over the chambers, which then re-fill with air and raise the boat out of the water.  A floating boat lift works well with fluctuating water levels but requires electrical power to operate the chambers.  

Bottom Standing Boat Lift - Best for Fixed Docks

This traditional boat lift is installed next to a fixed dock and lowers and lifts your boat with a manual crank, an electric motor, or hydraulics. The lift stands on its own, with its legs resting on the lake, river, or ocean bed. It works well when the ground is solid and the legs can be easily attached to it.  It does not work well with shifting or mushy beds.  A bottom-standing boat lift also works best for water depths between two and nine feet.  This type of lift is not suitable for large boats.

Piling Mount Boat Lift - Perfect for Large Boats and Rough Coastal Conditions

This boat lift is attached to a pier, a permanent boat dock, or pilings, is mounted in concrete and driven into the ground, making a piling mount lift sturdy, durable, and able to handle large boats. They also work well for boats in harsh coastal conditions.  Water levels, wake conditions, and a soft or unstable water bottom are not issues.  Inadequately driven pilings can be a problem as they can shift or sink and destabilize the lift.  

When it is time to purchase a boat lift, Duncan Seawall is Florida's largest residential marine contractor and has been in business since 1979. Duncan Seawall’s premium craftsmanship in combination with the quality of Golden Boat Lifts creates an invaluable partnership that ends with the assurance that your lift looks good, stays strong, and is dependable for years to come. Contact us today to get started.


Complete Guide to Boat Lifts

boat lifts

Subscribe to our blog

Download Our Product Catalog


Download Our Complete Guide to Seawalls