If you own or have owned a boat lift, even for one season, then you will be familiar with the difficulty that arises when you want to get that lift into place when the season starts and when removing it at season’s ends. The lift, out of necessity, must be built out of heavy duty materials and as a result can be very cumbersome to maneuver.  Even in instances where you have relatively level ground around your waterfront, or shallow water, the movement of your lift into place and leveling it can be difficult, especially if you do not have allot of help.  In this article we will discuss one specific tool that, in conjunction with a boat lift wheel kit, can reduce the amount of work required to position your lift.

If you have a wheel kit for your lift or are interested in acquiring one, you may want to look into purchasing a boat lift jack.  The wheels are very effective in reducing the amount of effort required to maneuver your boat lift, however, getting them on your lift, especially when it is in the water, can be difficult.  If you have access to help in the form of agreeable neighbors or family, then having them lift the boat lift up will enable you to attach the wheel brackets and wheels.  But, if you are not so rich in assistance, you may need an additional tool to get the job done.  The attachment brackets for the wheel kits that are available attach to the bottom framework of the lift and although you can attach them while the lift is setting on the shore or in the water you will still need to lift the whole unit up 8-10 inches to get the poly wheels on.

The boat lift jack is:

  • Rated at an 800lb lift capacity
  • Features an all steel construction
  • A Dutton-Lainson winch
  • 3’16” galvanized steel cable.
  • The cable attaches to the bottom framework of the lift with a 2.5” x 7.5” steel hook.


The Dutton-Lainson winch can be operated by a crank handle but can also be operated by a wheel.  The winch features a gear cover enclosed brake and a heavy duty industrial strength cable.  The lift jack is a very handy tool that can be easily operated by one person.  By attaching the lift hook to the bottom frame of your lift, either one side at a time or mid-frame at the front or rear of your lift, you can elevate the lift and get your wheels in place.

If you are not using a wheel kit, you can use the jack to level the lift, allowing for the adjustment of the extension legs and pads in uneven lake bottom conditions.  Designed to function best in water depths of 4.5’ or less, the jack will still function under deeper conditions.  The jack has a base measuring 40” long and 4” wide and works best on solid or semi-solid surfaces, however, in muddy or mucky conditions a 2”x8’ or 2”x10” board can be attached to the base of the jack giving it more stability.

When operating the boat lift jack we recommend that you remain vigilant and mark the condition of the cable and winch over time.  Further, the jack is rated at 800lbs and is not intended to be employed to raise lifts with crafts in place.  When in operation, the lift jack cable is under extreme tension and should be regarded with the appropriate respect.  Loose clothing or long hair should be kept away from the cable and winch assembly.  Further, the jack may be placed on uneven ground when in operation in the water so you should be aware that it will tend to lean or pull into the framework of the lift so watch your fingers.  Using any machine or tool should be initiated with respect for the forces involved and the boat lift jack is not exception.  Your boat lift is heavy and being made of steel, unforgiving, so be aware of the proper techniques and operation methods before employing any tool.

Getting your boat lift into and out of the water doesn’t have to be a hassle and in the end you want to get out on the water as quickly and safely as possible.  In a related article we will cover the variety of boat lift wheel kits that are available, which will make installation a cinch if you add the boat lift jack to the equation. The boat lift jack is an excellent tool to add to your waterfront lifestyle and will reduce the amount of effort required in using your lift.

© 2013 BoatLiftandDock.com