Make The Connection

When you’re getting together with your “fun-time friends” on the weekends and want to just get out on the lake you don’t want to be hampered by a complicated or time consuming boat or jet ski lift; you just want to get going.  Probably the most unobtrusive and convenient style of jet ski lift is the floating lift.  These units are molded poly Jet Ski/ wave runner stations that can attach to your existing dock or sea wall and provide a simple solution to your waterfront lift needs.

DualUnit1A floating jet ski lift is, in many ways, a more convenient and inexpensive option for keeping your wave runner at the ready.  To give the floating lift the stability required to enter and exit with your jet ski, you will need to be able to mount the floating unit to a permanent or semi-permanent structure. This “structure” can be a free-standing or floating dock or a sea wall. The type of connection really requires some thought as you want the connection to be stable and flexible at the same time.

Floating Dock

To demonstrate the differences and requirements of installing a floating Jet Ski lift, I will use, as an example, the Rhino Port Jet Ski lift. The Rhino Port floating Jet Ski lift is an 1150lb capacity, one-piece unit that has a mounting flexibility to fit almost any need. In addition to the main unit, supplemental floats can be attached to increase the capacity of the unit in 50lb increments.

The primary thing to consider with a floating lift is the force placed on the connection at the dock when you move onto and off of the station.  The type of connection must give you the necessary strength and flexibility during this critical process.  If you have a floating dock and want to place the unit in a parallel or perpendicular configuration you will want to choose a connection style that gives you the greatest amount of natural flexibility.  The nature of your waterway, that is the average state of the water, calm/rough, will also factor into the type of connection and support structure you choose.

FlexhingeRhino Port uses either a stand-off plate connection in combination with support posts or a flex-hinge connection, each designed to accommodate the movement of the water both when the Jet Ski is on the lift and while it is unloaded.  The movement of the lift and/ or the dock is absorbed either by the flexibility of the hinge attachment or by the allowance for movement, by the floating lift, up and down the support posts.

The key to making this essential connection between two floating surfaces or a floating lift and a immobile dock is to avoid a static connection on both ends.  You need to have a reasonable allowance for movement built into the system to avoid damage.

Free Standing Dock

If you have a free-standing dock or seawall connection, the attachment hardware is designed to account for the movement of the floating lift during normal water movement and when entering or exiting the lift with your Jet Ski.  Given the more stable nature of a free-standing dock, the brackets used to attach the Rhino Port allow the Jet Ski dock to move freely in relation to the dock through the employment of posts.  These posts attach to the Rhino Port at the front or side, depending on how you configure the unit.  In this way the Rhino Port can move freely with wave action or water depth variations while maintaining a stable yet flexible connection to the dock or seawall.

The Rhino Port floating Jet Ski lift can be configured in either a parallel or perpendicular arrangement and can also be set up as a dual-unit kit.  Both calm and rough water kits are available and these units include durable rollers for ease of entrance and exit.

FreestandingThere are many options out there for keeping your Jet Ski at the ready and you need to ensure that the dock or lift you choose is adequate as well as properly positioned and connected to your shoreline.  It is important to accurately gauge the nature of the waterway in which the floating unit will be placed as the relative movement between the dock and floating lift will strongly influence the type of connection you will require.  As with any purchase you plan to make for your waterfront, you should get all of you questions answered first by contacting a dealer first, then you can be assured that the connection you make is the right one.

© 2013