Boat lift installations are not something to be taken lightly. Trust us–we know a thing or two about boat lifts. Though we can be sure of the quality of our boat lifts, boat lift installations are just as important as boat lifts themselves to securing all manner of vessels all year long.
To dig a bit deeper into the topic of boat lift installations, we tapped into the president of Hi-Tide Boat Lifts himself, Carlos Quinones, to answer the top-eight questions we get on the subject.
Carlos Clears Up 8 Big Questions on Boat Lift Installations
What is the number one question you get about boat lift installations?
Why can’t I install it myself? The answer is simple: installing your boat lift incorrectly can lead to serious boat damage and is definitely best left to the pros.
What should boaters look for in a boat lift installer? How can you tell if they’re qualified and know what they’re doing?
Look for longevity in the business, all proper insurances, adequate equipment for setup (barge, cranes, machinery to hammer pilings) and an installer who is an actual marine contractor. Hi-Tide qualifies and certifies all of its own dealers/installers.
What are the warning signs of a faulty boat lift installation?
The real culprit in a traditional install is the proper driving of a piling–this is crucial to the lift itself. An inadequately driven piling can move, sink and cause all sorts of havoc to the lift sitting on top of it. Aluminum elevators are a different monster altogether and require their tracks to be perfectly parallel or the elevator will bind. In simple terms, this could pose a major issue for your boat.
Is there a way to get a boat lift installation assessment, especially after rough weather?
Your certified Hi-Tide Boat Lifts dealer will gladly assess your boatlift at anytime. It’s always a best practice to arrange/purchase a service contract with your dealer when you purchase your lift to keep yourself covered. After a storm, it is highly recommended to arrange for a boat lift assessment to insure there are no concerns structurally or electrically.
How long should my boat lift installation remain secure?
Some aluminum lifts with driven piles are still tip-top to this day after 30-40 years.
Can I do my own boat lift installation?
No, you void any warranty if an installation is performed by an unauthorized or uncertified installer.
Where can boat lifts be installed?
Hi-Tide’s boat lifts can be installed anywhere pilings are allowed.
Do you have to conduct maintenance on your boat lift once installed? If so, how often?
Maintenance is kept to a minimum with a Hi-Tide boat lift due to our welded design and sealed gear boxes. Greasing pulleys and bearing blocks and spraying cables with corrosion block are regular maintenance suggested by the manufacturer. This can vary depending on frequency of use, however. Cables are recommended to be changed every five years.
We hope that helps clear up some of your questions about boat lift installations but if you’re still looking for answers, whether about boat lift installations or anything else in our wheelhouse, our team is ready to talk shop. Contact us today, and as always, we’ll see you on the water!
It’s nearly January and with the start of the new year comes a post-holiday hangover of too-many-turkey dinners, gallons of eggnog and nearly a metric ton of sweets. Many of us leave the holiday season feeling a bit bigger in the waistline, slower to the start and suspended in a post-party funk.
To slim down, decompress and enter 2017 with a new excuse to hit the water, give kayaking a go.
Kicking off 2017 with Kayaking
How can kayaking benefit you for years to come?
- Clear Your Mind: If you’re already a fan of boating, then you’re sure to understand the serenity of a day spent on the water. Kayaking on a quiet lake while soaking in the sun, sights and wildlife is something of a meditative experience for many kayakers. Florida is covered in lakes, streams, inlets and other calm waterways just waiting to be leisurely explored all year long.
- Cardio, Sans Treadmill: Though some get a kick out of spending hours sweating off post-holiday poundage on a treadmill, exercise bike or elliptical machine, we promise, there is a better way. It’s called kayaking. Not only do you get to soak up sights, smells, and sounds of the great outdoors, but you get to do so while getting that killer cardiovascular workout you’ve been itching for. Weight loss, stress reduction, improved heart and lung health and so much more can be achieved with a paddle in hand.
- Yep, Another Reason to Hit the Water: OK, you’ve found us out. You know we’re just looking for another reason to get out on the water, and this is the perfect excuse. Even if this is your first time kayaking, it is extremely easy to find instructors to lend a hand, and just as easy to get the hang of once practicing in the calm waters of local lakes or ponds.
Though we’re all for kicking back and gorging on extra helpings of holiday ham, it’s a good idea to (eventually) get back into beach-bod shape in time for summer. Why not workout while on the water, taking in the natural beauty that the Sunshine State has to offer? Seems like a win/win to us.
If you’re interested in learning about kayak lifts, give us a call at 800.544.0735 or visit our site for more info coming soon!
For those of us who grew up around boats in New England, our world revolved around the region’s rocky harbors and coves, where boats lived on moorings. Yes, some berthed in slips, but access to your boat was mostly by dinghy or maybe yacht club launch. A boat at your own dock was not even a dream, unlike many are used to in the Florida boating commmunity.
A first-time visit to Chesapeake Bay revealed that a more intimate berthing relationship existed. Driving across the Severn River Bridge (RT 50/301) to Annapolis provided a glimpse into a narrow creek, whose shore was lined with quaint homes and tidy bulkheads and docks, with boats right outside the back door at the foot of the lawn. This was the Cove of Cork, and its entrance channel required that you run toward shore parallel to, and nearly under, the bridge, make a hard right, and run parallel and close to the shore, and then finally a hard left into the cove’s entrance channel – all of which was unmarked at that time. Desire for a closer connection to the waterways must have kicked in without my knowing then. Just four years later, I moved from Newport to Annapolis to become a yacht broker, where I lived for the next 25 years, with its creeks and coves abound, small community marinas and private docks lining the shore with all those boats right outside back doors.
This kind of backyard access to your boat is perfect for tinkerers, whose boat projects seem to never end. If a tinkerer’s project was ever completed, they were often led to purchase a new boat with a whole new list of projects to tackle. I’m more the type that sees a boat as a perfect refuge for, say, a nap. I still have a list of boat projects, but most of them will never be completed and there is no particular pressure to get a new boat since this one is “finished”. There is a level of contentment that settles in that I find helpful in boat ownership. And in being married, for that matter (more about that in a moment).
Then came my first visit to Florida. I was at a friend’s house (he was a fellow yacht broker) in Dania Beach, just south of Fort Lauderdale, and right outside of his back door was a patio and canal with a long bulkhead, beside which was an amazing assortment of sailboats and powerboats — and it was winter, and warm, and you could go sailing or fishing in February! That hidden desire must have kicked in again, right then and there. Without any intention of living in Florida, I received a job offer from a marine electronics manufacturer that required a move from Annapolis to Fort Lauderdale. That was 13 years ago.
This is the move that led to my marriage. I had discovered kayaking in my last couple of years on the Chesapeake and gained a closer, more intimate knowledge of those same waters I had once cruised in larger sailboats. Now in Florida, I was doing the same but with turquoise water, palm trees, and sandy white beaches to run up on and have a swim or just watch birds and boats go by — and it was warm, and you could do this in February!
I worked occasionally as a kayak tour guide in Fort Lauderdale, my favorite trip being the nighttime Full Moon Cruise. Imagine paddling gently under a full moon, then drifting and seeing palm trees in silhouette with the rising moon behind, dragging a hand in the warm water. On one particular trip, we had overbooked by one seat. Since my Old Town kayak could be paddled as a single or in tandem, it was simple to rearrange the seats to accommodate the extra guest. It turned out that it was her birthday, and her friends had arranged the Full Moon Kayak Cruise as a surprise. This turned out to be a great way to meet the person who you will marry, and as I write this, we’re just four days from celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary.
My wife and her brother are the owners of Hi-Tide, the company founded by their father in 1979. I was aware of Hi-Tide Boatlifts, as so many of my customers in Maryland and Florida personally owned their lifts. Now, as I drive around, doing my marine electronics consultant job, I have Hi-Tide signs on the car door. It is both interesting and gratifying to see how many people approach me at the boatyard or West Marine parking lots because of these signs. Many of these people are, themselves, Hi-Tide boatlift owners, and just say, “Thanks for a great lift.” Others have questions well suited for our dealers. “Who can I call for service on an existing lift?” “Who can guide me on increasing their lift capacity for a new boat they want to buy?” “Who can advise me about getting a new boatlift or inspecting or upgrading an existing boatlift at a house I am considering buying?”
What we all have in common is a passion for boats and being around the water. My journey to get closer to the water contributed to getting me from New England, to the Chesapeake, then to Florida boating and a surprising new life and family. Doors opened unexpectedly and took me in directions I never anticipated. I’m excited to see what stories we uncover about people and places as we travel along the East Coast and lake regions and we pass these stories on to you. There are so many ways to enjoy life on the water, and in my case, you may even meet the person you’ll marry. It just goes to show; you never know what a life spent boating may bring.
Author: Randy Morris
Deck boats and party barges have seen a huge surge in popularity within the pleasure boating market, and for good reason. One of the great pleasures in boating is being able to hang out with a group of friends in a relaxed, “it’s 5 o’clock somewhere” setting. Whether pontoon boat, catamaran, or multi-hull, there are some easy steps to take to ensure that these types of vessels, with their large square footage and infinite accessories, stay properly supported when out of the water and on your boat lift.
The first step is to find out if the manufacturer has any recommended or required methods to properly support these vessels. Sometimes boat builders have exact support designs to ensure hull protection, making the process a no-brainer (especially if the vessel is still under warranty). If the manufacturer has no specific recommendations, then the next step is to examine the trailer on which the vessel was hauled. Simply reproducing the trailer’s configuration is a good place to start, but be sure to examine the trailer and boat thoroughly to ensure that the trailer did not have a design flaw that caused damage to the boat. Also, be aware that certain types of trailer support systems are not easily transferred to a standard boat lift.
If the first two methods of support design are not available, you’ll need to design from scratch. The first thing to be aware of is what areas on the vessel are structurally sound. In most cases, it is the hulls or pontoons themselves that are designed to hold the load. This certainly makes sense since these are what supports the boats’ load in the water, but remember, water provides evenly distributed support throughout the hull. Once the vessel is raised from the water, some type of structure must support all loads. This creates potential “point loading” which is what damages vessels.
The safest configuration for most multi-hull boats is parallel longitudinal support of each of the outboard hulls. For vessels with more than two hulls, it is usually OK to support the outer two hulls and let the middle hull hang freely. For a round bottom aluminum pontoon, a V-shaped longitudinal support will often distribute the load well enough that the hulls won’t buckle or dent. Square edged fiberglass pontoons are usually best supported by flat, longitudinal bunks placed so that the corners of the hulls handle the majority of the load. On longer, multi-hull boats, be aware that the further the boat extends beyond the lifter beams, the less support the bunking system will provide the hull. The inherent flexibility in all materials tends to focus a higher amount of load directly over the lifter beams. One popular solution for long, bi-hull boats is to construct a raised structure that is elevated high enough to directly support the frame of the boat and keep the pontoons off the lifter beams. While these approaches are not comprehensive, they work for the majority of the multi-hull boats.
As with any hull style, each fit-up should be approached on an individual basis and never assumed that any two boats are the same. To be sure that your method of hull protection and support will work for your vessel, ask for guidance from your lift manufacturer and installing dealer. When you contact the manufacturer and/or installer, have as much information available as you can to prevent damage and ensure your vessel is around to provide relaxation for years to come.
Author: Craig Wood
So, why would there be a blog topic about choosing the “right” boat on a boat lift website? Well, it turns out that the factors that influence which boat you purchase are often directly connected to whether or not you purchase a boat lift, and which type of lift you buy. Without getting into specifics of any one type of vessel, let me put your mind at ease: whatever boat you choose will be the perfect boat for you. The choice you make is all about who you are and what you desire, not the opinions of salesmen, friends and “experts.” And if you find that you don’t like your decision down the road, you can always change your mind.
Let’s start with some important questions to ask yourself when considering buying a boat:
- What do I like about boats?
- Do I want to connect with other people while boating or enjoy the solitude of the sea?
- Do I enjoy the action of water sport or the relaxation of cocktails?
- Am I a minimalist or do I need luxuries?
- What is more important in the vessel: function or form?
- What is the environment that I will be operating in look like?
- Will I be doing my own maintenance or will I hire someone else to keep up the boat?
When you begin to uncover the answers to these questions, your internal compass will point you towards a particular style of boat with certain generalized features. Most of this applies to first time boat owners. If you are a seasoned captain, then you probably already know exactly what you want when buying a boat, with a very specific list of amenities. If you are a longtime boat owner and find your boating activities becoming boring or burdensome, then this exercise might just open up a new perspective for you. Don’t rush the process; come up with your own questions as well and always think outside the box. Just remember, the only perfect boat for you is the one that you choose.
Once you decide on which boat is for you, much of the decision-making process that you went through to choose your boat will directly apply to choosing the right boat lift system to protect your new investment. For example, if you decided on a beautiful Chris Craft inboard wooden restored original masterpiece, you will want to design some type of covered structure to maintain the finish. In this case, a boathouse type lift would be a good consideration. If you were into wakeboarding and making multiple trips onto the water, a high-speed lift might be in order, enabling you to spend more time having fun and less time waiting on the dock. In tight quarters with limited dock access, a lift without a top beam may be your best choice. Whatever your final decision, always choose a service provider (boat dealer, marine contractor, and lift manufacturer) who has a focus on what is best for you as the customer and not what they want to sell you.
Author: Craig Wood