Elevator boat lifts are a great option for the boat owner that has limited space for dockage. The elevator lift can be lowered so that the boat can be floated over the lift for easy access unlike the 4 post lift in which you need to navigate between the pilings to get the boat on the lift.
The elevator lift is the most popular lift in our service area which includes Ocean Reef, Key Largo, Islamorada, and Marathon due to the fact that most of our properties are located on canals or have limited water frontage.
So is an elevator lift the best option for you? If you have a canal front property with a seawall or dock running along the length of the canal or the depth of the water from the surface to the hard bottom is over 20 feet I would recommend this lift. The reason I would recommend an elevator boat lift in these instances is as following. For most canal front properties a 4 post lift or sometimes referred to as a cradle lift will limit the allowable dockage on a seawall where you have neighbors on either side as they may have a boat on their dock that will limit the access to your boat lift unless you can pull you boat over the lift as you will be able to do with an elevator lift.
When it comes to deep water dockage I would normally recommend an Elevator boat lift and the reason is if you have deep water and want a boat lift installed a 4 post lift requires pilings to be installed and as water has no structural support it would be like putting your boat on pilings 30 feet in the air. Pilings whether wood or concrete pilings can handle vertical force meaning the downward load applied to them when a boat lift and boat are on them however they can not handle lateral force such as a boat running into them or if the pilings are not installed correctly. As you can see in the photo above the cables supporting the boat on the lift are pulling straight down and are centered on the pilings but if the pilings are not installed exactly plumb and square the applied load will be pulling on the pilings and put a lot of stress on them causing wood pilings to bow and concrete pilings can possibly break. Before deciding on which type of lift to have installed I suggest you contact a reputable boat lift installer. In the Florida Keys Boat Lifts of South florida and their sister company Island Marine Contractors are the leaders in marine construction and boat lift sales/installation. Always have a reliable marine contractor inspect your dock or seawall to make sure it can handle the loads applied to it with your new lift.