The Ultimate Guide to Boat Lifts: Types, Features, and Benefits

Exploring the Various Types of Boat Lifts

Boat lifts are essential tools for boat owners, providing convenient storage and protection for their vessels. Whether you’re a seasoned sailor or a novice boater, understanding the different types of boat lifts available can help you make an informed decision about which one best suits your needs. In this article, we’ll delve into the various types of boat lifts, exploring their features, benefits, and ideal use cases.

Vertical Boat Lifts:

Vertical boat lifts are among the most common types used in both residential and commercial settings. They feature a vertical lift mechanism that raises the boat out of the water. These lifts are ideal for areas with fluctuating water levels or limited space, as they can accommodate boats of various sizes and hull shapes. Vertical boat lifts offer quick and easy access to the water, making them popular among boat owners looking for convenience and efficiency.

Hydraulic Boat Lifts:

Hydraulic boat lifts utilize hydraulic power to raise and lower boats with ease. These lifts are known for their smooth operation and ability to lift heavy loads. Hydraulic boat lifts are suitable for larger vessels and can be customized with additional features such as remote-control operation and automatic leveling systems. While hydraulic boat lifts may require more maintenance compared to other types, their durability and performance make them a popular choice for boat owners seeking reliability.

Floating Boat Lifts:

Floating boat lifts, also known as floating docks or floating boat platforms, are designed to keep boats above the water’s surface when not in use. These lifts utilize buoyancy to support the boat’s weight, eliminating the need for a traditional lift mechanism. Floating boat lifts are ideal for shallow water locations or areas with soft bottoms where conventional lifts may not be practical. They are also popular in marinas and waterfront properties where space is limited.

PWC (Personal Watercraft) Lifts:

PWC lifts are specifically designed to accommodate personal watercraft such as jet skis and small boats. These lifts typically feature a simple, compact design and can be installed on docks or seawalls. PWC lifts provide easy access to the water and help protect watercraft from damage caused by prolonged exposure to the elements. They are available in various configurations, including manual and electric models, to suit different needs and preferences.

Cantilever Boat Lifts:

Cantilever boat lifts utilize a pivoting mechanism to raise and lower boats out of the water. Unlike vertical lifts, which move straight up and down, cantilever lifts swing the boat horizontally before lifting it clear of the water. These lifts are suitable for locations with shallow water or limited clearance under docks. Cantilever boat lifts are often preferred for their simplicity, affordability, and ease of installation, making them a popular choice for residential boat owners.

BH-USA (Boat Hoist USA) is a well-known manufacturer of boat lifts. Below are the various types of boat lifts we offer:

Featured Vertical Lifts:

Coastal Series Overhead / Boathouse Lifts

Our Coastal Series line of overhead lifts features a variety of options of slings, v-hull, pontoon, or tri-toon cradles. Available in 4,000 lb. and 8,000 lb. lifting capacities. The Coastal Series includes a variety of options such as slings, v-hull cradles, pontoon cradles, and tri-toon cradles, catering to different boat types and sizes. 

The Max Overhead / Marina Slip Lifts

The Max Lift is an overhead lift available with the option of slings or a v-hull cradle with a whooping 12,000 lb. lifting capacity. Available in options such as slings or v-hull cradles. Used in marina slips or personal boathouses.

Gulf Breeze Overhead Side Mounted Lifts

The Gulf Breeze is available as a side mount overhead lift and can be purchased with or without a v-hull cradle. Perfect for maximizing space while providing efficient and convenient boat storage. Used in marina slips or personal boathouses.

Dock Piling Boat Lifts

We offer a large variety of pile mount lifts. In aluminum or galvanized finishes and components. We have three distinct sizes ranging in the number of pilings needed. Four piling, six pilings, and eight pilings. 

The aluminum lifts offer all three sizes. The four posts have a weight range of 6,000 pounds to 20,000 pounds.  While the six posts have a weight range of 20,000 pounds to 24,000 pounds. The eight posts have a weight rating of 30,000 pounds.

The galvanized lifts only come in four post configurations with a weight range of 6,000 pounds to 12,000 pounds.

Featured PWC Lifts:

Dockside ‘Lil Lifter

The lift mounts directly to the dock. There are two versions: manual and electric. The manual version comes with a brake pulley and a wheel, while the electric comes with an A-Drive series PWC gearbox and an attached electric AC motor. Both versions have a 1,000-pound weight capacity.


Made to be fully rotational when raised, the BH-360 is mounted to the dock while the drive pipe is driven into the bedrock. It comes in two versions: belt-driven and direct-drive. The belt-driven uses a gearbox, belt, and motor while the direct-drive uses an A-Drive series PWC gearbox and motor

Coastal Series PWC Skiff Lift

The PWC skiff lift can fit both personal watercraft and small skiff boats. It uses an A-Drive series PWC gearbox and motor. The large lift track sticks above the shoreline and allows for 180-degree rotation. It has a weight rating of 1,500 pounds.