Boat Lifting Capacity: Essential Guide for Owners

Do you love hitting the open water? A boat lift is a worthwhile investment that protects your boat and makes getting out there that much easier. But not all lifts are created equal. Knowing about boat lifting capacity can help you find the right boat lift. Let’s delve into factors that you need to consider when choosing a lift for your boat.

What Determines Your Boat Lift Capacity?

Boat Weight

Your boat’s “dry weight” is its weight as shipped from the manufacturer, without fluids or gear. The “wet weight” includes everything on board when the boat is in use: fuel, batteries, coolers, fishing gear, and even passengers. 

Always calculate your lift capacity based on the realistic “wet weight” to ensure a safe margin. You can find your boat’s dry weight in the specification sheet, on the manufacturer’s website, or through online model searches. 

Dock Location

Next is your dock location. Water depth determines the necessary clearance and influences the choice between a floating or fixed lift. If your lake has fluctuating water levels, select a lift designed to adjust accordingly. Choppy waters require robust lift construction and durable materials.

Boat Lift Materials

Finally, your boat lift’s materials affect its lifespan and safe weight capacity. Marine-grade aluminum provides strength and resists corrosion. Stainless steel fittings and cables ensure longevity, in freshwater and especially in saltwater. Meanwhile, a strong, welded frame adds stability to your boat lift. Look for high-quality materials, such as Master Docks custom dock solutions.

Why Do You Need To Choose the Right Lift Capacity?

Choosing the right lift capacity is necessary for the safety of your boat. An undersized lift puts your boat, the lift itself, and those nearby at risk of damage or injury. Overloading a lift strains its components, potentially leading to failure.

On the other hand, a correctly sized lift protects your boat. It prevents boat damage and ensures the lift functions properly, saving you money on repairs and extending its lifespan.

How To Calculate Your Ideal Boat Lift Capacity

First, find your boat’s dry weight through specifications, the manufacturer’s website, or online model searches. Next, calculate the weight of a full fuel tank by estimating 6 lbs per gallon of capacity. Then, consider the weight of the gear and passengers you typically have on board. 

It’s always best to overestimate slightly to ensure a safety margin. Finally, ensure that your cradle beam (the part of the lift the boat rests on) is a few inches wider than your boat on both sides.

For a quick illustration, imagine a boat with a dry weight of 2000 lbs, a 50-gallon fuel tank, and you usually carry 500 lbs of gear and passengers. Your estimated lift capacity needs would be at least 3300 lbs: 2000 + (50 x 6) + 500. Remember to add an extra 10-20% capacity buffer for extra safety.

Can You Increase The Boat Lift Capacity Later?

While it may be possible to modify some boat lifts to increase their capacity, this depends on the lift’s design and construction. It’s not advisable to attempt modifications without expert advice. Always contact a professional, such as the team at Master Docks, for a safe assessment and guidance on whether your lift can be upgraded. When purchasing a boat lift, always think about your plan for future boat purchases. If you plan to buy another boat in the next 5 to 10 years then consider buying a larger boat lift. 

Why Choose Master Docks?

Master Docks is a well-established company with deep expertise in boat docks, lifts, and waterfront solutions. Our service area covers popular lake regions, we are licensed marine contractors and we have a reputation for customer satisfaction. 

When choosing Master Docks, you gain a partner dedicated to quality custom boat docks. We prioritize design, durable materials, and meticulous construction for long-lasting waterfront enjoyment. We also offer a selection of floating and stand-alone boat lifts from reputable brands, to find the perfect fit for your lake conditions. 

Other than installation, we provide valuable maintenance, repair, and lake permit assistance. You won’t have to worry about anything else.

Upgrade Your Waterfront With Boat Lifts

Choosing the right boat lifting capacity makes your boating experience better. If you need help with calculations, want to explore custom dock options, or have any waterfront questions, reach out to the experts at Master Docks. We’ll help you make the most of your time on the water.