Beauty and recreation on the waterfront

Boat lifts and davits, with special seawall information for home owners

Two sets of boat lifts at 1449 Hillview Drive
Two sets of lifts - This home for sale at 1449 Hillview Drive in Harbor Acres has two sets of boat lifts

We love great water views. The bay, Gulf and intracoastal provide great vistas from sunrise to sunset. The sound of the waves lapping up on the shore is a great way to relax. It can also be a great resource for recreation, boating, kayaking or a thrilling ride on a Jet Ski. When it is time to protect your precious belongings and views, you look to the experts.

And there are great companies here in Sarasota to protect your seawall, build docks that will last for years, and offer solutions to protect your watercraft with lifts or davits. If you are moving from a landlocked property to the waterfront we hope that you will find some of the information in this article to be useful.

Even moving from an area where you may not have had problems by leaving a boat in the water, there are some concerns here with salt, waves and creatures that can cause problems underneath. You can avoid the harmful effects by lifting your boat out of the elements. You can ask advice on which is better for your situation, either a lift or davit.

For personal use with your own dock you can choose a lift, typically for boats from 1,600 pounds to as high as 60,000 pounds. If you are lucky enough to have a boat over 30 tons you should consider professional storage. That is approaching super yacht size. You can determine the weight by consulting your manufacturing specs for dry weight, then adding the weight of full fuel and water capacity along with any gear storage. Your consultant can determine an additional margin of error, typically around 20 percent.

There are different types of boat lifts to consider. The common cradle lift allows you to pull the boat between a set of pilings, then raise the boat out of the water with motors on each side pulling the cradle up through a series of cables. With this type of lift you should consider other factors. The length and width of the boat will determine the distances between the pilings. The lift height will account for such considerations such as tide variations and extreme weather or wave conditions.

Long boat dock, lift and fish cleaning station
This boat dock, lift and fish cleaning station is ideal for anglers at this 6155 Manasota Key Road home

Cradle lifts can be designed for boat usage such as pontoon, pleasure craft, fishing boats or even sailboats. They can be used with motors that are remote and automatic for lift, but also by using the mechanical advantage in large wheel construction for smaller boats. A cover as a roof of the lift is also useful to keep the area above the waterline from being exposed to the elements. These canopies also help prevent damage from bird droppings.

There is another type of lift that is becoming popular for smaller boats up to pontoon size. Floating boat lifts can be an economical solution worth considering. The boat operator simply pulls up to the dock with a floating lift, then powers the boat up onto the floating dock. There may be a center to line up v-hull boats so the boat is evenly distributed on the float. To help start the boat on this guide there may a cutout section on the stern to help funnel the boat to the center and to provide an area for the lower unit. Then the propeller can be raised or trailered so that it is kept out of water. Personal Water Crafts (PWC) are popular docking uses of floating lifts.

Boat davits can be mounted on seawalls, docks or on pilings. Useful for PWCs and smaller power boats, davits are matched to its construction type by the weight and surrounding conditions. A davit that mounts to a seawall can lift more weight while dock mounted davits may be able to lift only 1,000 bls. An average Jet Ski, or PWC, is roughly 850 pounds.

Davits act like a crane that pivots the boat into its place. Some actually rotate 360 degrees for maximum usage. They also have other uses. A boat davit can be installed on a yacht or sailboat to hoist a small dinghy out of the water. A boat owner with a nonambulatory guest can have a davit rigged to safely board the guest. They can also be used to lift heavy objects such as batteries onto the boat.

Cost differences aside, most boat owners prefer lifts over davits. A davit used to hoist a boat out of water leaves the boat open to swaying in the wind. If used in tandem, davits can be used like lifts for more stability. Spreader bars can also be rigged on davits to make the boat more stable out of water. Some single davits are useful if they can swing the stern over land for easier engine and propeller maintenance. There is a lot to consider if choosing between a boat lift or davit. A reputable dealer can offer suggestions depending on your situation.

Marina and Moorings of the Longboat Key Club
Modern Seawall Techniques - Special guest Jim Smith of Custom Dock & Davit in Sarasota discusses seawalls in this REALTALK™ #179 episode

One thing to consider in your lift selection is your seawall. Seawalls protect the properties from soil erosion due to wave and storm surges. A typical seawall is made of a concrete base that is anchored to the property. A special machine drills a horizontal fastener that attaches to a tieback rod. A concrete cap protects the seawall from damage above. Last week I had a good conversation about seawalls with Jim Smith of Custom Dock & Davit of Sarasota as a special episode of REALTALK™.

Jim explained basic seawall design in our discussion. He was then able to compare construction designs of 50 years ago to modern techniques that have a 50 year limited lifetime warranty. Once the cap is removed, he demonstrated the new technology that involves driving an interlocking PVC corrugated panel into the seabed. Concrete or seashells fill the space for three layers of seawall protection. The cap and anchoring system is then restored.

We also discussed the differences in prices and construction restrictions by comparing Bird Key to Country Club Shores. He explained these restrictions may be changing within the Sarasota and Longboat Key jurisdictions as they prepare for predicted higher water levels. The information is excellent and is worth checking out at REALTALK™ #179. We can help with your dock, davit, lift and seawall plans. Please contact me at (941) 387-1840 if you have a property to sell or buy.


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