Editor’s Report by Capt. Nick Martinez
HydroHoist engineers boat lifts, floats, and dock accessories designed to protect boats, personal watercraft, and docks from damage. HydroHoist lifts can be adapted to multiple boat types and a range of sizes, and lift and launch them with ease. The docking platforms are easy to use and durable.
Benefits of Boat Lifts
Boat owners, particularly those in warm southern waters, are increasingly searching for solutions to prevent bottom fouling. They seek to keep their boats looking and performing like new. One of the best solutions is simply to get the boat out of the water after it has been used. Not only does that eliminate bottom fouling and corrosion, but it also keeps the boat from being bounced around by wakes and wind.
A boat that is bounced against a dock or splashed constantly in the water gets a lot of wear and tear. Even one little problem can cause serious damage if not caught in time. For example, a failed bilge pump or a dead battery is a common problem that could lead to sinking from rainwater if nothing else.
Storing a boat in water is one of the main causes of damage below the water line and can contribute to many other problems that the boat encounters. Harsh weather conditions in which the water levels shift dramatically or where debris is present can cause a lot of stress on the boat that shortens her life. In addition, wet storage can cause hull blisters and electrolysis damage to props and shafts.
Algae is a very big concern when wet storing a boat. It will start to collect on the exterior of the boat, resulting in layers of moist scum and residue that takes time and effort to remove. Corrosion can also occur and lead to problems. By keeping the boat above the water, algae, grass, barnacles and other marine vegetation will not grow and corrosion can be avoided. This means no one will not have to spend money on bottom paint or a diver to clean the bottom regularly – especially in tropical waters where fouling is more prevalent.
A boat lift can keep the boat clean and ready-to-launch in a matter of minutes. There are no complicated lines to untie, no need to check for leaks or other damages, and no need to scrub away icky algae. Also, boat lifts are safer because they make a boat more stable for boarding, especially when changing water levels makes it tricky to get on and off. Finally, with the easy push of a button, any boat can be ready to go in short order, which means more time out on the open water enjoying the day with friends and family.
HydroHoist makes three different lift types: HarborHoist, UltraLift, and E-Series. These cover most types of boats and marina locations, from open-ocean to harbors, lakes, and rivers. The HarborHoist is used in tidal situations, the UltraLift and Economy E-Series are typically used with U-shaped floats in fresh water. Each type of lift is custom-configured for the individual boat, even some sailboats. HydroHoist has already configured lifts for many boat types, so there are no special fees or engineering charges.
All the lifts HydroHoist makes work on the same concept: flood the tanks to sink the hoist below the boat, drive off; on return, drive over the submerged lift, hit the button to pump air into the tanks,evacuating the water and raise the lift, boat and all – simple and effective.
In addition, HydroHoist produces three different PWC HydroPort docking platforms – Extreme, Pro, and Epic - to store personal watercraft out of the water without using a trailer. We detail those at the end of this article.
The UltraLift Series fits most boats ranging from 4,400 lbs. (1,996 kg) to 32,000 lbs. (14,515 kg), and is available with shallow water and front mount options. HydroHoist’s most popular model lift, it uses polyethylene tanks, which are highly resistant to impact or low-water damage. UltraLift features all-steel construction above the water line and a heavy-duty hull support system.
The HarborHoist boat lift is built to withstand the effects of brackish and saltwater while maintaining quality performance. The HarborHoist lifts are the only model used in tidal situations. They feature rugged marine grade polyethylene tanks, but have aluminum frames for extended product life. They can be tied to the dock using ropes or a conventional mooring system. HarborHoist is compatible with different docks and slips, and the hull supports can be configured for nearly any boat style including wake, pontoon, and tritoon boats.
HarborHoist lifts make for easy loading and unloading of passengers and controls are integrated into the lift. They work well with both fixed or floating docks and are compatible with U-shaped slip, double-wide slip, L-shaped dock, and square docks.
The E-Series lift is built for durability and functionality. The E-Series gives boating enthusiasts protection, security, and convenience with polyethylene tanks, galvanized steel construction, and lockable deck mounted control boxes at a lower cost than the UltraLifts.
HydroPort PWC Series
HydroPort drydocks keep the watercraft out of the water and protected during stormy weather. The PWC will remain free of marine growth and corrosion in the intake pump and hull bottom. HydroPort’s will save the PWC owner time and effort of having to trailer the craft after every use and the time and trouble of having to relaunch it.
HydroPort Epic has the widest anti-skid walkways in the HydroPort Series. The new entry design makes for easier loading and launching, and the anti-slip walking surface provides safe access to the boat.
The Epic accommodates the increase in size and capacity of today’s PWCs with wide adjustable rollers. The EPIC provides for stable access, easy cleaning, fast covering, and deters intake fouling associated with marine growth. Epics connect seamlessly with the HP Extreme model allowing growth of the HydroPort fleet. They are available in tan, gray, or blue.
The HydroPort Extreme is foam-filled for increased strength and will remain afloat if compromised. The PWC is fully supported on high-performance 5” x 2” rollers – width and placement are easily adjustable to accommodate different PWC models. The Extreme has stainless steel roller axles for increased strength and compatibility with fresh, brackish, or salt water and feature “air pillow” bow stops, and flat anti-skid walking surfaces. HydroPort Extremes are available in tan or blue.
The HydroPort Pro features tough polyethylene construction, in-line rollers, patented bow bumper, and molded-in tie-down. A tapered entry with dual bow rollers helps center the craft. The port can be front- or side-mounted for both fixed and floating docks. Connecting hardware links multiple front-mounted units together (optional). The HydroPort Pro is available in tan or blue.
Docking and Launching from HydroPort Dry Docks
HydroHoist’s Hydroport PWC floating dry docks are easy to use. With a bow notch at the end of the dock, simply point the bow of the jet-ski into the notch, straighten out the jet-ski with the dock tracks and give a 1 to 2 second firm press on the throttle to get the PWC right up on the dock. (Even when on the dry dock, BoatTEST recommends properly securing your PWC with a line or lock.)
When ready to launch, just untie the PWC and give her a good push till the vehicle is about halfway off. Then hop on, attach the safety lanyard and rock her off the dock. When the PWC is fully in the water, start the engine and ride off.
Prices vary per boat lift as all lifts are custom-configured to each individual boat’s specs and customer’s preferences.
That said, the smallest lift for a 4,400 lb. boat under 22' (6.71 m) start out at $6,400 and range to lifts that can pick up a 32,000 lb. (14,515 kg boat that may be 50' (15.24 m) in length might run as high as $40,000.
PWC HydroPort Pricing
HydroPorts can attach to either floating docks or hard docks, the mounting kits for the hard docks is slightly more than the float kit hardware.
Prices for float kit include hardware:
- Extreme ($2,700)
- Pro (2,000)
- Epic (Contact hydrohoist.com for details)
To connect multiple HydroPorts together a ($280) hardware kit is required
Boat lifts are an added initial expense, but this is one of those expenses that may actually save money in the long run. It protects the expensive investment and extends the life of the boat. With a lift there’s no need to pay a diver for regular bottom cleaning - just rinse off after use, and the efficiency of the boat will be maintained, keeping fuel consumption in check. All in all, this adds up to money saved. That’s something rare in boating.
Boat lifts are so popular now that we’ve actually seen entire marinas that consist only of lifts in every slip. That alone is a profound statement on the popularity and advantages of owning one.