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Bill W

Inland Lake Lifts / hoists

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Bill W

I have done the site search and read the existing threads regarding lifts. There is some good info here for sure. What I didn't see are discussions around the key benefits / features of lifts and to the topic steel vs aluminum construction, etc. So needing to purchase a lift for an inland lake, I'm looking for some guidance.

Galvanized steel rusts (eventually) and is likely heavier than aluminum, so the benefit of using it in lift construction is what, manufacturing cost margin?

For example, I'm looking at Shorestations and Shoremasters one of which uses galvanized steel for the "boat cradle" as I'm told by the dealer and one is entirely aluminum. I don't recall which uses which, but if they are priced competitively and we assume "dealer service" is roughly the same, what's the better lift?

What pieces / parts on lifts break, wear out the soonest, aren't covered by the limited warranty, etc.

Yes, certainly consider the warranties etc, but what are the real world issues people have had with their lifts that they would share so others won't have to reinvent the wheel?

Thanks for any shared knowledge.

PS - definitely open to dealer input here as well. Hopefully dealers carry specific lifts for quality of build / and reduced maintenance reasons and not solely for the margin. :blush:

Edits for clarity.

Edited by Bill W

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gonorth

#1, be sure the cables are Stainless, that is about the only part of a lift that breaks and it is due to rusting.

Gal Steel versus alum, weight is the only real diff and weight can be good and bad.

Alum obviously is good if you take it out every winter is easier to carry, you might get by without wheels.

Easier to move further in or out if the water level changes unexpectedly.

On the other hand, steel can be better if you have a cover, wind is less likely to tip it over if the boat is not on the lift. (hint, never leave a covered lift empty when you are not on the lake)

My Response sits on a 4000# shore station with cover, I like it. Get a lift that is rated heavier than your boat unless you are sure you will never upgrade to a bigger boat. The other advantage of a heavier rated lift is that they are geared lower and easier to turn the wheel when lifting.

Also, stay away from the cantelever style unless you have very stable water levels.

Edited by GONORTH

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mlange

I've also got a Shorestation. The thing is built like a tank. In the areas of Wisconsin that we boat (Milwaukee and Eagle River areas) it seems like Shorestations dominate the market.

As GONORTH said... the cable is the biggest thing to worry about. If I remember correctly it will run you around $200 to replace it.

I would also the second on going with a vertical lift rather than a cantilever.

Shorestations are definitely aluminum and I could have sworn that Shoremasters were as well.

Mike

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CedarLakeSkier

I have a shorestation and it's aluminum.

weight is the big difference. A friend of ours is in Minnesota and wouldn't get an aluminum lift. He is on sand. With a cover and no boat it would blow over in a big wind. His is also cantelever, but his water level is very constant.

In my situation, I only need to put the boat on the lift once and the feet are buried in muck. Even though It's aluminum, I don't think any wind is going to pull the lift out of the muck. Last fall we could barely get the thing loose to put it on the shore.

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mook222

I've got an aluminum ShoreMaster.

It has worked very well, but have only had it four years so I'm a few years from having to replace cables. (or worry about them, I hope)

The one thing that has been a problem for me is the remotre control. It has been replaced 3 times due to shorting out and unknown reasons. I keep having them install a new "board" because I really like the ability to raise or lower the lift when I come back from a day on the lake and the water level has dropped or gone up. (saves me from having to dock, get out, crank to the right level, get back in, pull in the lift....)

I also have a 4,000 ldb version which works fine, but wish I'd considered the 5,000 lb lift for the possibility that I upgrade to a bigger boat, or if I wanted to leave the ballast full overnight, etc...

FYI, Mook

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Sixball

Aluminum if you need to move it you will know why. SS cables.. 4,000 lbs. min. If your lake freezes you need to remove it for winter. I recommend vertical lift. You can get everything out of the water. If you put a cover on it you can get the boat up snug to the top. The only thing I have ever repaired are cables 9 years old. Still looked good just thought it should be done. And bunk carpet. I love the 120 volt power lift.

Oh ya a vertical lift takes 1/3 the time to lift. I have never had any wind issues and I have some bad winds at times. 12 years old and still going strong. I have a Midlander I thin only available In Michigan.

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1FootDan

I've got aluminum and boy am I glad it is not steel when comes time to take her out in octobre and but her back in in may... Biggrin.gif

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grnautique

Bill,

I would agree with the group to stick with an aluminum lift. From what I have seen, the aluminum lifts last virtually forever while the steel ones begin to look pretty rough after 10+ years of use. One thing I will say is if you are looking at used lifts pay attention the condition of the cables and the gear mechanism for the crank. I bought a used lift and the gears were just about shot. I had to get it rebuilt which was pretty costly.

If you are looking at new lifts, I would recommend Floe. I bought a new Floe 2 years ago. Their customer service isn't great but the lift is very well made and has some unique features. The nicest of which is the legs are adjustable while in the water using a cordless drill so it is easy to get the lift perfectly level. I have the VSD model which uses a ball screw and 2 batteries to raise and lower the lift, instead of a crank. If you don't get a Floe, I would recommend Shore Station. Many of my neighbors have them and no one has ever had a problem other than normal wear and tear. I know my in-laws shore station is 20+ years old and still works and looks good.

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Bill W

Hey Craig, thanks for the thoughts on the lift, definitly value all of the info available from the crew community.

Minor self-hijack: Heard you can't make the MI Ski Clinic this year, sorry to hear that, we'll miss ya! Maybe we'll do a tribute or something for our big slalom sking friend ;) .

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grnautique

Bill

It wasn't that I couldn't make it to the clinic, I just thought with so many people signed up it was going to be getting tight anyway. Plus that early in May, I have a feeling its going to be very cold. I'm sure you guys will have fun though.

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Woodski

I've had both the Station and the Master. IMO the Shore Station is of higher quality, but I got my Shore Master cheap with all the options (cover/power lift) and it has served pretty well. Stainless cables are a must. My lift ends up in muck so it won't come free without a big nudge, so no chance to tip over. On a lake that freezes, you must take it out as the vertical guides could get bend due to ice and then is won't work.

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OldHickory

I just had a single column Galvanized lift installed. It is a cantilevered lift. It is rated at 3000# and is powered by a 220volt motor. There are no cables just a chain to lift the cradle. It comes with a remote. I haven't had time to put my boat on it yet but am really looking forward to use it this summer. We live on the lake and this makes my boat readily available.

This is a viking boat lift. Anyone that would like to see apicture of it PM me and I will be glad to send you one.

OldHickory

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CedarLakeSkier
If you are looking at new lifts, I would recommend Floe. I bought a new Floe 2 years ago. Their customer service isn't great but the lift is very well made and has some unique features. The nicest of which is the legs are adjustable while in the water using a cordless drill so it is easy to get the lift perfectly level. I have the VSD model which uses a ball screw and 2 batteries to raise and lower the lift, instead of a crank. If you don't get a Floe, I would recommend Shore Station. Many of my neighbors have them and no one has ever had a problem other than normal wear and tear. I know my in-laws shore station is 20+ years old and still works and looks good.

What a great feature!! I wish my shorestation did this. When the lift sinks in the muck it's a little different every year so it has to be re-leveled every year. Those pins are really low on the legs and a pain in the %#$ to use. I don't intend on replacing my lift, but if I knew then what I know now, I would have seriously looked for a dealer that carried this lift.

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grnautique

The adjustable legs are a great feature. I have watched many people trying to line up the pins under water in the cold spring, plus with the pins you can never get it perfect. With this, the leg slides up and down with infinite adjustment so it is really easy to get it just right. Ever year my neighbors give me a jealous look when I am out there with my drill. It also makes it easy to get the legs unstuck in the fall since you can raise them up to help pull them out if they are buried.

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Boatman

Harbor Master makes a great aluminum lift that is a cross between a cantilever and a straight up lift. The model is called ELITE. It rolls up an incline. The West Michigan area is full of them. They are built in the Grand Rapids area. Staight up (vertical) lifts are a nightmare to change cables on.

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Bill W

Thanks for all of the info, very helpful Yahoo.gif .

My next quandary is... should I get a canopy for the lift? How effective are canopies for use with towers in other words, how much coverage do canopies actually provide the boat with the tower? Doesn't having the tower up keep the entire boat lower in the lift and then therefore more in the sun? I don't think I'll want to deal with having to raise and lower the tower (Titan I) every time the boat goes out. I think the canopy would certainly help with rain and some sun.

I currently have a custom, snap cover (it came on the boat). It's in decent shape (maybe 2 or so more years of life), I don't love it but it works. So I'm looking for best overall bang-best-for-the-buck option.

Would I be better off to:

1) Use the existing cover and deal with it (no new costs) OR

2) Get a new cover with more coverage (e.g. - Covercraft, Rankin, etc for $1,000-ish) OR

3) Keep the custom snap cover and add the canopy to the lift ($2,500)

Thoughts?

Edited by Bill W

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grnautique

Bill

I would absolutely get a canopy for your lift. Yes, the tower is going to make it harder for you to get the boat up into the canopy but it will still provide protection for bird droppings, rainfall, etc... I know my Floe lift canopy can be lifted quite high to accomodate a tower. The guy who sold me my cover has a MC and he said he can get his boat in and up out of the water with the tower up without any problems. I have had boat lifts with and without canopies and I can tell you that for me not having a canopy isn't even an option.

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Bill W

Any other thoughts on this? Is it a silly question?

I can't be the only one that wants to know this about this time in the year.

...Anyone...

Beuhler...

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Boatman
Bill

I would absolutely get a canopy for your lift. Yes, the tower is going to make it harder for you to get the boat up into the canopy but it will still provide protection for bird droppings, rainfall, etc... I know my Floe lift canopy can be lifted quite high to accomodate a tower. The guy who sold me my cover has a MC and he said he can get his boat in and up out of the water with the tower up without any problems. I have had boat lifts with and without canopies and I can tell you that for me not having a canopy isn't even an option.

AMEN!

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kiley

If anyone is looking for a new lift, check out eBay. There is a guy selling new Lakeside lifts 3500 lb and 4500lb. They are made by Craftlander. My parents have had a Nucraft (now Craftlander) for years, and really like it.

eBay link to 4500lb Hoist

Bill

I would absolutely get a canopy for your lift. Yes, the tower is going to make it harder for you to get the boat up into the canopy but it will still provide protection for bird droppings, rainfall, etc... I know my Floe lift canopy can be lifted quite high to accomodate a tower. The guy who sold me my cover has a MC and he said he can get his boat in and up out of the water with the tower up without any problems. I have had boat lifts with and without canopies and I can tell you that for me not having a canopy isn't even an option.

AMEN!

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