Lifting your boat out of the water keeps it looking new over the years because it saves the boat from the wear and tear of beating against the dock all day long, especially when the boat will be sitting for long periods. The resale value will certainly increase with a shiny and clean hull that is free of grime, lake scum and dings.
The end result of a boat lift will be the fact that it looks brand new for much longer. Who doesn't want a nice looking boat?
The downside of boat lifts is that they are attached to your dock. So if your boat is in its home, it's safe. But everywhere else, it's exposed to the elements.
There's a solution. There is a boat lift that you take with you, no matter where you are. How can this be, you ask? Pontoon Legs from Hewitt (www.pontoonlegs.com) or pontoon lifts from Sea-Legs (www.sea-legs.com). Both products attach directly to the underside of your pontoon and lift the boat with a simple touch of a remote control.
When we posted a picture of the legs in action on our Facebook page, a lot of our readers thought it looked like something out of a Transformer movie. You can see why. It looks like the boat grew legs and started taking off for dry land. Instead of a science fiction creation, it really is an effective way to keep your boat lifted.
The product consists of hydraulic or electric operated lift legs that are attached directly to the bottom of the pontoon deck. They will lift and hold the boat four to six feet up from the lake bottom. When it's time to go, they are fully retracted under the deck and do not affect the performance.
"The pontoon could stay on the legs year around as long as the water does not freeze in that location," says Troy Hewitt of Hewitt Pontoon Legs. "Use can use the legs to lift you boat out of the water next to your dock, make it stable for putting in fuel or loading people or use them at your friends dock, marina or a beach."
I was curious whether high winds could affect the functionality of the legs.
"We offer seven different models, one of which we call the wide base," says Hewitt. "When these legs retract they go outward rather than straight down so it give you a much bigger foot print and able to handle the wind and rough waters."
Hewitt systems are compatible with two or three-log boats and come in electric and hydraulic versions. Leg assemblies are solidly bolted to the existing frame members of your pontoon boat and will not interfere with trailering. In the retracted position, legs extend less than six and a half inches below the deck. Boats can be transported with scissor or bunk style trailers.
The supporting structure, including mounting brackets, legs and feet, are made from structural aluminum, which offers a high strength-to-weight ratio and natural corrosion resistance. Hewitt Hydraulic Legs are also well suited to deeper water applications. At maximum leg extension, the underside of the boat's deck is approximately six feet above the bottom of the supporting feet.
Another option is Sea-Legs. The Sea-Legs system is designed to lock into the position you leave the pontoon in. Sea-Legs are no stranger to pontoons. The company has been around for over 15 years and has over 8000 sets out on the water today.
"It will stay in the same spot for days and weeks on end," says Sea-Legs rep Nate Deschene. "I have also heard of some dealers leaving their demo display pontoon with Sea-Legs on outside up in the air all winter long."
Sea-Legs can be used on all types of lake and river bottom surfaces. Whether you have sand, rocks or muck, each independent leg has approximately 3000 pounds of extension and retraction power so getting stuck is not an issue.
"That is the beauty of our product, since it's attached to the boat, you can use it in some many different situations. At the Sandbar, restaurant, neighbors dock or shallow water fishing," says Deschene. "Then when you get back to your dock simply hit the button on the handheld remote lifting the pontoon and walk inside."
Prices vary depending on the model that you are interested in but you can expect somewhere in the neighborhood of $5k for this kind of lift system. Both companies have dealers all over the country that will install it for you at their shops.
We encourage you to head over to http://pontoonlegs.com/ or www.sea-legs.com so you can watch videos, read reviews and check out each product for yourself.