Posted on October 11, 2018

Boat Lift Sizes: What Size Boat Lift Do I Need?

How Do You Determine What Size Boat Lift You Need?

Written by ShoreMaster Marketing

Congratulations, you’re in the market for a boat lift! This is an exciting next step to take as a boat owner — one that will make maintenance easier and protect your boat’s value in the long run. As you likely know by now, boat safety and quality are just two of the many reasons to buy a boat lift.

Exploring the journey of selecting the perfect boat lift involves more than meets the eye, especially when it comes to accommodating boats of different sizes with utmost safety. The research by Asmara and Yudo (2020) sheds light on the critical need for a boat lift system that operates with precision and ensures the well-being of your boat. It's a reminder to boat enthusiasts that paying close attention to the weight and dimensions of their boat is paramount when choosing a boat lift. After all, a lift that fits your boat's specific requirements not only enhances safety but also boosts efficiency. (Asmara & Yudo, 2020)

Once you’ve decided that you need a boat lift, the question becomes: How do you determine which size boat lift to get? Although there are many important factors to keep in mind, the two key points include:

  • Boat weight: Knowing the weight of your watercraft is important to determine the weight capacity needed for your boat lift. Along with the base dry weight of your boat (which can be found in your boat specification sheet), this also includes gas, batteries, water, storage, water sports equipment, and anything else you may put on your boat. We typically recommend adding a 20 percent safety margin here, and always sizing up when it comes to boat lift capacity.
  • Boat width: What is the style and beam of your boat? The beam is the widest portion of your boat, so your boat lift has to be able to accommodate that — plus a minimum of a four-inch cushion on either side. If you’re going to use guideposts on the lift, you’ll want at least a ten-inch cushion. The style of lift size you want will depend on the shape of your hull (V-Hull, Pontoon, V-Drive, etc.) draft of the boat, whether you have an inboard or outboard motor, and so on.

The best boat lift is whichever one works for your boat weight and width! Of course, there are also several others factors that will impact your boat lift decision. For example, the type of water your boat is in matters — is it a shallow lake shore or deep, fluctuating water in the gulf? Your answer will determine whether you need a standing or floating boat lift. Your dock location and shape can impact your boat lift choice as well.

At ShoreMaster, we recommend a welded aluminum boat lift for most scenarios. Why? Aluminum boat lifts offer ultimate stability and performance across waterfronts. Aluminum is a lightweight material, which means parts can be made thicker for added strength (without weighing the boat lift down). It also holds up well in different weather conditions and over time. Aluminum boat lifts are low maintenance and reliable — a win for every boat owner.

ShoreMaster offers the best boat lifts in the industry. We are pioneers of the aluminum boat lift, and we strive to provide our customers with top-of-the-line waterfront products. Our boat lifts and docks are built to last, no matter what the wind and waves throw their way!

To learn more about ShoreMaster boat lifts, or to contact our team with any boat lift capacity or specification questions, visit our website. To buy a boat lift today, search our large dealer and distributor networks throughout the U.S. and Canada.


Asmara, I., & Yudo, H. (2020). Evaluation of Boat Lifting System Using A Multiple-Drum Winch. Kapal, 17, 7-14.


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