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air pillow Boatlift

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anyone is using or have seen this boatlift: airdock

what do you think about fins and prop in case using it for a BU

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jgouveia3

they have a special pad that protects the chambers for inboards. also the setup is a bit different (using weights in the rear of the chambers) that makes the lift drop down so the driveshaft does not hit the chambers when it is deflated. here are a couple of shots of my BU on the airdock (also, go to their website photo gallery, lots of inboards shown):

2000ResponseonAirDock1.jpg

2000ResponseonAirDock2.jpg

2000ResponseonAirDock3.jpg

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Chia

that's pretty cool, a good option for under $2,400. How stable is it, does it bounce around in a storm?

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Chef23

How hard is it to get out of the water in the winter?

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tj_in_kc

shot - do you have a line on a good deal for one?

is there something about the airdock that makes it fit your requirements better?

looks kind of half-assed IMO, just wondering why you would consider this when there are many more options available...

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jgouveia3
that's pretty cool, a good option for under $2,400. How stable is it, does it bounce around in a storm?

definetly the price is WAY cheaper than a freestanding lift. It doesn't really bounce, it rides them, just like a floating dock does. it actually cushions the boat more than if the boat is sitting directly in the water. think if a trailer truck air ride system

How hard is it to get out of the water in the winter?

simple. i think that is the best part of this lift. i think the total weight is is 78 pds, or something close to it. i put it in and take it out by myself each season. no more need to get 4 or 5 helpers over to drag the hard lift.

shot - do you have a line on a good deal for one?

is there something about the airdock that makes it fit your requirements better?

looks kind of half-assed IMO, just wondering why you would consider this when there are many more options available...

at first, i was skeptical too. but it is a very well thought out system. I was forced to go with this lift after being fined by the local agency for having a freestanding lift put in, where one was not allowed.

turns out that for my situation, this is a very good option. i am in salt water, there is absolutely NO MAINTENANCE. its basically a rubber boat, with some hoses, what amounts to a vacuum cleaner motor for a pump, and some PVC. I bottom paint it, and its in the water in an hour. If i am motiviated once or twice a season i flip it over and power wash it (don't even have to disconnect anything to do it. And as I said above, i can put it in, take it out, by myself. and it folds up and stores on a shelf in the garage.

it may look "half-assed", but it sure is nice to wake up at 6AM in the morning, be in the boat at 6:05, and done by 7:00, with the boat nice and high and dry, out of the water. I'll take half assed over the option of trailering, or leaving it in unprotected.

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Brad B

Can you back onto this kind of lift?

Or is it forward drive on only?

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shot
shot - do you have a line on a good deal for one?

is there something about the airdock that makes it fit your requirements better?

looks kind of half-assed IMO, just wondering why you would consider this when there are many more options available...

at my dock boat lifts are not allowed Cry.gif

trailering takes long because the ramp is far away

the only other option is painting the boat

which I do not realy want on my new BU

@jgouveia3

thanks a lot for our pic's and suggestions

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tj_in_kc

thats what i was wondering, sounds like it might be perfect for your situation.

i agree that is is certainly more portable than any standard setup i've seen.

sorry about the comment, i didn't mean it that way. it does look make-shift, but that sounds like the very beauty of it. easy to remove and maybe not seen as a "permanent structure" to the forces that you are dealing with at your marinas or public lakes...

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jgouveia3
Can you back onto this kind of lift?

Or is it forward drive on only?

forward drive on only (you can back off of it)

thats what i was wondering, sounds like it might be perfect for your situation.

i agree that is is certainly more portable than any standard setup i've seen.

sorry about the comment, i didn't mean it that way. it does look make-shift, but that sounds like the very beauty of it. easy to remove and maybe not seen as a "permanent structure" to the forces that you are dealing with at your marinas or public lakes...

didn't take the comments as bad. as i said, i was skeptical too. and to be honest, i was very hesitant ordering it. i think the company is probably just a couple of people. if there are any issues, the owner answers the phone or calls you back. great customer service.

and shot, same issue with me, boat lifts are not allowed. but I took this in front of the Coastal Resources Management Council of RI, and convinced them that this was not a "lift", it took up no room than the area the boat floats in. I also convinced them that it was better than for the environment since I wasn't going to be painting the boat bottom (don't tell anybody i paint the bottom of the lift), and there was less chance of bilge stuff being dumped into the water.

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Bill_AirJunky

Good to see a happy customer for this product. I have considered it due to my boat situation too. We own shared waterfront, and our house is a block or two away from the beach. Keeping the boat in a slip is something to get used to when it's new, especially out of your sight, and ESPECIALLY when the weather gets a little nasty. Keeping the boat on this type of lift would go over fine with my HOA & keep the boat high & dry if things got a little hairy when I wasn't able to pull the boat.

So how long have you owned the AirDock? Ever have any problems with the skegs, rudder or prop knicking anything? How long does it take you to setup? Do you have the AC or DC version?

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Brad B

I looked at these and almost got one a few years ago to use as a guest lift. I have a 50x19 covered slip so plenty of room for a guest BU. Currently have a buddy with a '96 VLX that leaves it there on weekends so I am now again in the "seriously reconsidering" mode. Just can't beat the cost and convenience. I have a Galvalift for my boat and lifts are allowd (and encouraged) at our docks. Encouraged because marina requires that they do the sale and install. This may fall outside of their call.

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tj_in_kc

Brad, from what i see the airdock is more of a workaround for a lift when you have someone imposing requirements on you.

In your situation where you have a dock, and no limitations i would spend the extra grand or two and get a real lift, with galavanized brackets and hard tanks. I think it would pay for itself in long life.

Also regular lifts are boat and sold all the time, look for a used one if you are looking for an economical solution...

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Brad B

I have a "real" lift already for my LSV.

My slip is wide enuff for 2 boats.

I would use something like the AirDock for guests.

I'm not gonna pay $6k for a permanent lift for someone else to use.

But the AirDock can be fairly easily transported and used at another lake if I was a guest in someone's slip and be used for guests in my slip.

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jgouveia3

sorry for the long post, but trying to answer all the questions:

So how long have you owned the AirDock? Ever have any problems with the skegs, rudder or prop knicking anything? How long does it take you to setup? Do you have the AC or DC version?

I want to say I am going on my 6th season with the lift, but it may be 5. I had a "real" lift, but it became illegal. i do like real lifts better for driving on and off, but this one is fine once you get used to it. i guess if you want to look at the positives of 'accidents' when driving on/off, with an accident on the airdock, the boat wins, vs when they happen on a hard lift, you usually damage both. Any damage to the airdock is very easily repaired (they provide a kit).

the problems you can have with these (and it is almost always a matter of a bad setup) is that if you come in too "hot", you will ruin the D-ring on the lift. I did that a couple of times when i first got it, and then figured out (with the help of the owner), it was because i had too much air in one of the internal chambers, and it was causing the boat to catch, rather than slide on the lift. its kind of hard to explain without seeing it in person, but the lift is made up 3 seperate chambers, that once the boat is on, you blow up to lift the boat. but inside each of those chambers, are 4 internal chambers (1 in each side chamber and 2 in the bow chamber). these internal chambers are blown up once at the begining of the season (you run the motor for anywhere between 1 and 2 minutes), and then you never mess with them again. these chambers then align the boat, stop it, and keep the lift floating for when you come back to get on the lift. long explanation (probably not very clear) for something that works pretty neat. Anyway, once you get these internal chambers set right, works great (and you just remember - i.e. at my age, write it down for next season - how long you ran the blower to get that perfect amount of air).

I did one time put i knick in one of the chambers with the prop (not paying attention, messing around), and it gouged it in a couple of places, but only leaked in a very small hole, easily repaired. i can honestly say that they are pretty tough (and also the bottoms of my feet can tell you they are real hot from the sun too - don't stand on it in the middle of the day!). the biggest problem i had was that the original airdock came with what they called inferior valves on the chambers. so they sent new valves, along with very good directions on how to replace them. well i replaced 3 with no problems, but struggled for about a couple of weeks with one of them leaking. I called a few times, and had them help me over the phone. this is where i think they have good customer service. without even asking, the owner just asked me if I lived in the same location, and within 2 days a brand new chamber was at my house, already bottom painted and everything. this was 2 years after a bought the lift!

my setup time now is definelty less than an hour now. in the pictures above, thats my old dock. my new dock is a big 20 x8 platform. i can do the whole install from the dock now.

i have the AC version. for my response, i'd say 3 minutes to fill, about the same time (maybe a little longer) to empty (no motor used to empty, just open the chamber valves).

I have a "real" lift already for my LSV.

My slip is wide enuff for 2 boats.

I would use something like the AirDock for guests.

I'm not gonna pay $6k for a permanent lift for someone else to use.

But the AirDock can be fairly easily transported and used at another lake if I was a guest in someone's slip and be used for guests in my slip.

definitetly would be easy to transport (the chambers fold to about 4' by 2', and are light, and are easily fit into a boat. if you are planning on travelling with it, get the DC version (although i thought i read that version was not offered anymore, BICBW).

Before i make the next, I am very happy with this lift, and is perfect for my situation, it may not be for everyone. I think there are good and bad points about a hard lift vs this lift (if you search this site or the old bu site for AIRDOCK, i have mentioned these points before):

OK, and now for a cheap plug. once you buy one of these, they make you a "reseller". So if I were to buy another, i get a discount, and I am allowed to buy another one for whoever i want (i.e. to resell). So if anyone really wants one, I can get a discount off, and would share that discount toward your purchase. usually works out to some decent bucks saved (i don't have this years price list yet, so i can't tell you what is is). everything is shipped directly from them to you.

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1FootDan

I guess this would be a good in deep waters where the legs are too short or in shallow waters where there is not enough water for a standard lift. Or even if you have very swampy or uneven bottom. On my lift, the front legs are at the minimum and the rear at the maximum. I am pretty much borderlined...

How long does it take you to inflate and deflate?

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jgouveia3
I guess this would be a good in deep waters where the legs are too short or in shallow waters where there is not enough water for a standard lift. Or even if you have very swampy or uneven bottom. On my lift, the front legs are at the minimum and the rear at the maximum. I am pretty much borderlined...

How long does it take you to inflate and deflate?

i'm in very shallow water (less than 2 feet at the bow). that is one of their selling points, works in any depths.

inflate is less than 3 minutes (with AC motor). about the same for deflate (deflate is completely manual, just open the valves).

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Chef23

If I wasn't hemoraging money because of a construction project I would order one of those today.

Which model do you have? The AC one is the one that runs off the boat battery correct? I don't have any power at my dock.

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jgouveia3

no A/C (alternating current) is 110 volt (i.e. house), D/C (Direct Current) is 12V, battery. I am not an electrical enigneer, i just slept at a holiday inn, so EE can correct me if I am wrong on those.

but anyway, I have A/C (plug it into the outlet at the dock). A/C unit comes with a built in GFCI, which is nice.

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Bill_AirJunky

Great info, jgouveia3. Sounds like a great setup, even if it is a "work around".

I imagine it would be best to get the AC version of the Air-Dock, and install a power inverter in your boat. Just have to see how many watts the Air-Dock pump draws, and make sure your inverter is rated for more. Another option would be to install a deep cycle battery, solar charger & power inverter in a dock box. Then run it off it's own source, that is always being recharged by the sun.

Looks like someone got a pretty descent deal on one this weekend.

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tj_in_kc

If you have space on the dock, i would think about getting a dock box and just using a Generator for power. Like you, I have no power on my dock either. i purchased a 1200W power inverter at Radio Shack but ended up returning it. The amperage was too high, it would run for .3 seconds then click off and start beeping. When i priced the next higher one up I happened to think about a generator, and turns out it was about the same price. $300 Generators are a much better way of getting power and more rugged than Inverters IMO.

NOTE: i don't have this exact system so the motor for the blower on these might not require as much, you'd just have to check the specs on the motor.

Generator provides another benefit in that it can serve other purposes. Like if the power goes out at the house you could lug it up and run the basics like frig, microwave etc. Or you can throw it in the back of the pickup and bring it to a tailgate at a Chiefs (insert your favorite football team) game. Or if you plan on cruising/camping to a desert island you could bring it aboard and have power if needed!

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jgouveia3
Great info, jgouveia3. Sounds like a great setup, even if it is a "work around".

I imagine it would be best to get the AC version of the Air-Dock, and install a power inverter in your boat. Just have to see how many watts the Air-Dock pump draws, and make sure your inverter is rated for more. Another option would be to install a deep cycle battery, solar charger & power inverter in a dock box. Then run it off it's own source, that is always being recharged by the sun.

Looks like someone got a pretty descent deal on one this weekend.

that was a good deal (but if he loved it so much, why'd he sell it?). i would actually consider getting another one if i find one used, for my fish boat. not so much as concerned about that boat sitting in the water, more for the banging around against the dock when the wahoos are out there all day long on sat and sun...

and yes, the blower motor on these i think is real low draw. i don't know the specs, but the owner told me its a vacuum cleaner motor. as a matter of fact, one year i got my motor wet ( Oops.gif ), and while waiting for a replacement, all i had to do was reverse the hose on the shop vac, and stick it into the valve to put the boat back onto the lift

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WhoaNellie

I think the Airdock is a good solution for our 'Bu. The HOA that controls our marina is pretty strict and I would need to get approval for any lift that is permanently attached to the dock, like the Hydrohoist. The significant savings are a plus.

jgouveia3, I would be interested to hear about your reseller discount.

-Whoa

Edited by WhoaNellie

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WeekdayBoater

Can anyone add any recent  comments on the 'lift' products from Airdock?

 

Thanks

John

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