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2: Boat Lifts continued
Written and photographed by Ellie Van Os — November 2001
Hi-N-Dry, a manufacturer of lifts able to hoist 35,000-pound vessels, says it had its biggest year for large lifts last year. David Peterson, whose family owns and operates the Maryland-based company, emphasizes the need to work with local dealers on custom installations, especially those larger than 20,000-pound capacity.
Regardless of who manufactures them or where they're installed, lifts of more than 30,000-pound capacity are typically powered by four motors and installed on eight pilings. The actual lift structure may be of steel, aluminum, or a combination of the two. HydroHoist International of Claremore, Oklahoma, offers an totally different option: a "hydro-pneumatic" boatlift that can best be described as a small-scale dry dock. It uses fiberglass pontoons to support the boat, which are filled with water when the boat is in the water. To elevate the boat above the water, air is injected into the pontoons, displacing the water and raising the lift. Versions of this system now reportedly lift vessels weighing up to 80,000 pounds. According to Hydro-Hoist's national sales manager Mick Webber, units have been installed in England, Scotland, Switzerland, and Israel.
Regardless of which system you choose, an accurate estimation of the size, hull shape (necessary for the correct placement of chocks and bunks to properly support the hull), and weight of your vessel is crucial to a successful installation. Included in the latter must be not only the listed displacement but the weights of ancillary equipment like watermakers and tenders, maximum fuel and water, and personal property like clothing and stores.
What do these personalized dry docks cost? Keeping in mind that the cost of any two boats in the 35- to 95-foot range will vary considerably, manufacturers say the price can run from five to 10 percent of the boat's value. That's not small change, but lift owners feel the price is well justified. One says he thinks he will recoup the cost in three years thanks to savings in maintenance costs and higher resale value.
So the next time someone at a marina asks you if you need a lift, pay attention. He may not be offering you a ride into town.
Hi-N-Dry Phone: (800) 957-5438. www.theboatlift.com.
Hi-Tide Sales Phone: (800) 544-0735 or (561) 461-4660. Fax: (561) 461-2298. www.hi-tide.com.
HydroHoist International Phone: (800) 825-3379 or (918) 341-6811. Fax: (918) 341-1178. www.boatlift.com.
Ellie Van Os is a freelance writer in Florida.
This article originally appeared in the January 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.