How Much Does It Cost To Move A Boat Lift (Safety Tips)

The purpose of a boat lift is to protect the base of the boat and dock the boat for long periods of time. While there are cantilever and vertical boat lifts used for different surfaces and boat models, some boat lifts can pose a sudden mechanical error, thereby creating the need to move a boat lift. If you’re using a boat lift already, you should also know how much it would cost to move a boat lift. 

Moving a small lift costs at least $1,000, while moving a large lift can cost higher depending on factors like transit fees, rental charges for the crane, rigging charges, the weight of the lift, and the size of the lift. Travel surcharges also add up to the overall cost when the distance is over 30 miles. 

In this article, we shall look at factors influencing the costs of moving a boat lift and the perfect way to move or disassemble a boat lift. 

Factors Influencing The Costs Of Moving A Boat lift 

Most boat lift dealers or manufacturers offer moving services as an add-on when you purchase the boat lift. Keeping their contact information intact is a great way to strike a deal in the net price. 

Perhaps, if you’ve moved to a different location, it’s better to approach a local company to move your boat lift. 

So, what factors are used by the service providers in deciding the exact cost of moving a boat lift? This is a crucial section to understand, so you end up paying the right price. 

Lift Size

Whether you use a cantilever or a vertical boat lift, the size is the first concern. The service provider might ask for the boat lift model to estimate dimensions and plan a relevant move. 

Some service providers also extend support in moving a 4-arm lift. In that case, it costs about $950. When more arm sets have been added to the lift, the charges can increase substantially. 

On the other hand, if your boat lift is over 12 feet in width, it incurs an additional $100 toward wide load permits.

Alternatively, if you know how to assemble and disassemble the boat lift, buy the necessary tools and start right away. You don’t have to worry about paying someone else!

In general, service providers charge about $1,000 towards moving a small boat lift, and this increases based on the size of the lift and distance of movement.

Resource Availability

Some boat lift models, like piling mount or floating lifts, need resources with expertise to move efficiently. Otherwise, the movement can face a ruckus in the middle and result in a halt. 

If your boat lift is experiencing other problems or is stuck somewhere, specialized personnel and equipment are required to address the issue. Check out this article on fixing a boat lift that won’t go down.

Experts charge significantly higher and can add up to the movement costs. Adding to their costs, renting a crane or a piece of specific equipment would also include in the total cost.

In general, it’s appropriate to assume an average of $25-$50 per hour towards the cost of one worker involved in moving your boat lift. As the number of workers increases, charges can also vary.


Most boat lift owners go by the conception that every move is the same. Hence, a standard fee is required to move the boat lift. However, from the operational perspective, every move demonstrates a change in terms of human resources, equipment, and time involved. 

For instance, if there’s a need to move the boat lift intact and not have to disassemble it, it’s a different quote. Contrarily, if you may have to disassemble, move, and then reassemble, the move will need more resources with expertise and more equipment. Especially if you have a large boat lift, prices can spike rapidly. 

Some boat lift owners might even want to move the lift to a different place or water source. When there’s a change in the surface, it can add complexity to the job. 


Moving a boat lift mostly implies moving it to a new location. The average charge to transport a boat lift starts from $125, and it varies based on the size, overall distance, type of surface, and personnel requirement. 

Suppose it’s a move between lakes, the charge doubles. If there’s a need to transport between a combination of surfaces (lake, land, terrain, and lake), the cost multiplies. The service provider might have to charge you for the permit fee as well.

How To Move A Boat Lift

Moving a boat lift requires two tools: a hoist lifter and a smart jack. As you fit the hoist lifter to a vertical side of the lift, it lets you lift at a distance. Subsequently, you can also attach a wrench to the adjustment screw, and the smart jack system helps in disassembling the boat lift. 

Let’s look at the process in detail. 

  1. Attach the hoist lifter to any vertical section of the hoist. 
  2. It’s now possible to lift one side of the hoist. If you have one more lifter and a resource, it’s feasible to lift both sides of the hoist simultaneously. 
  3. Next is to fix a 9/16 wrench to the top of a smart jack system (that follows the screw leg model). 
  4. Adjust the position to lift the hoist’s leg and then screw the wheel. 

To make things even easier, it’s highly recommended to remove the wheel from the boat lift. This helps in fastening the hoist and avoiding potential wear and tear during the process. 

What if you’d like to move a boat lift in the water?

In that case, you need a floating dock system that lets you disassemble and move multiple sections of the boat lift one trip at a time. 

When you’re moving a boat lift to land, it’s essential to disassemble and transport every piece separately. Perhaps, to move from one part of the land to the other, you can use an SUV. However, remember to avoid docking in the sand. 

Do you prefer moving a boat lift on your own? Here are a few things to keep your mind. 

  • Plan requirements prior and purchase relevant equipment. 
  • Be cautious about unexpected events and propose contingency plans for the same. 
  • Determine the terrain and examine difficult areas prior. 
  • Maintain an address book of experienced professionals if you’re stuck at some point. 

Can You Disassemble A Boat Lift?

Disassembling a boat lift is feasible but involves risk and demands specialized knowledge and equipment to avoid damage or injury in the process. Each boat lift type follows a specific method to disassemble the parts, and it’s essential to know the specifications. 

The common mechanism to disassemble a boat lift is as follows:

  • Get boat items or the boat away from the lift. This is the preparation stage. 
  • Disconnect electrical connections and keep the space free of wires. 
  • Eliminate cables associated with the lift. This is a critical step to begin packing or moving the boat lift. 
  • Remove other structural elements and the frame from the lift. 
  • Pack all components separately. 

If you are purchasing the boat lift, the manufacturer also issues a document on the right way to disassemble the same. Keep it handy.

However, you may not want to cause any damage or put your boat lift at risk. Keep the contact of an expert handy as well.

What Is The Life Expectancy Of A Boat Lift?

The average life expectancy of a boat lift is 20-25 years. It also depends on factors like environmental conditions, maintenance, degree of wear and tear, and the type of boat lift. Manual boat lifts exhibit lower expectancies compared to other models. 

A boat lift is an asset to every boater out there. Whether you want to use your boat frequently or during specific seasons, a boat lift is a valuable tool to enhance the longevity of your boat. However, longevity strongly relies on the maintenance routine. 

For instance, manual lifts work on mechanical air pressure and are vulnerable to failures. As a result, they have shorter life expectancies compared to hydraulic lifts. The latter is sturdier and has longer life expectancies as they’re less vulnerable to harsh conditions. 

When you own a boat lift, here are a few tips to maximize the expectancy. 

  • Inspect the condition of the lift at least once a week. 
  • Ensure periodic service and lubrication. 
  • Effective usage as per the manufacturer’s suggestion.
  • Regular cleaning of internal components.

These tips enhance the life of a boat lift and also other components associated with it. 

Final Thoughts

Moving a boat lift isn’t a cumbersome process anymore if you have access to a smart jack system and a hoist lifter. However, it’s essential to know how to use them effectively or hire an experienced professional to help with the process. This protects your boat and the lift from potential damage or injuries to the professionals involved. 

As it’s a technical operation, having prior knowledge is helpful, but not mandatory. So, get those tools ready and educate yourself on the movement of boat lifts and how they operate. Cheers! 


Boatlifehq owner and author/editor of this article.

Recent Posts