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Enhancing Your Boat’s Load Capacity

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Lifting your boat out of the water offers a lot of protection and increases the lifespan of your equipment—you just have to make sure you’re investing in the right lift. Some boat lifts on the market can be upgraded to handle higher capacities, but always ask your dealer if that’s possible just to be safe. When it comes to your long-term investment, though, some boat dock lift qualities make lifting heavier boats easier and help you determine what capacity you’ll need.

The Boat Itself

Obviously, the weight of your watercraft determines your capacity. Your boat specification sheet will have the base dry weight of your boat, but think about how much your boat will weigh after you add gas, batteries, water, equipment, passengers, and anything else you’ll be taking onto the water. Allow a 20% safety margin for weight, and always size up for boat lift capacity: you can’t be too careful.

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Your boat style—including beam, lift, hull shape, draft, presence of an inboard or outboard motor, etc.—will also determine the kind of lift you need. The length of your cradle beam should be the length of the widest portion of your boat with a four-inch cushion on either side (10 if you’re using guideposts). Sheaves as part of a pulley system can be added to increase the capacity of the boat lift, but again, ask your local Shoremaster dealer if this is an option for your lift.

Dock Location

Before boat lift installation, think about the type of dock you have and the water conditions around it. You might need a different amount of lift if your water is deep, shallow, or fluctuates. Rough waters might need a higher lift, and saltwater has its own considerations as well. Floating and fixed docks can also affect what capacity your boat lift will need to be able to hold while staying stable.

Materials

Before investing in or upgrading a boat lift, make sure that the materials are strong and engineered to last. ShoreMaster recommends aluminum for most boat lift scenarios. It allows for optimal stability and performance across a variety of shorelines. Because it’s a lighter material, it can be made thicker and therefore stronger without adding a lot of extra weight. It’s low-maintenance and holds up well in many conditions.

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