View Full Version : Docking/lift suggestions

10-25-2011, 07:40 PM
What do you guys that live on the water use to secure your Donzis? I have a decent dock but the boat is tied to the dock with bumpers to protect it. I bought some whips to keep it away from the dock but am considering a lift, attached to the dock to get the boat out of the water. We get alot of wind here and alot of wakes from waterskiers. I think I could keep the boat nicer out of the water.

Any suggestions, pictures or companies that produce a decent lift? It would have to be removed in the winter.


mc donzi
10-26-2011, 09:41 AM
I have a 'Sunstream' boat lift. It operates hydraulically by means of a key fob(up & down). The hydraulic pump is in a box that sits on the dock that has a hydraulic pump that is powered by a 12V battery. There is a small solar panel on the top of the box that keeps the battery charged.

We live on the Trent-Severn Waterway( a recreational waterway that runs between Lake Ontario and Georgian Bay on Lake Huron). During the summer there is a lot of traffic.. some up to 65'. The 'posted' speed limit where we are is 10kph(6mph) but there are a few bozos that think that it doesn't apply to them and we get some big wakes.

The lift keeps the boat about 2-2.5' above the water. We have a 22'C so we opted for the 4000# model. The lift taken out in the fall and put back in in the spring.

We've had it for 3 years and have had no problems.

I think that the 'Sunstream' web-site has a video clip showing how it operates.

Love it!!

10-26-2011, 10:46 AM
I've used a variety of lifts from HydroHoist (most common brand out here), Sunstream, AirDock, and others.

The Sunstream seems like a pretty good choice though I've only used one and don't really have much experience with it. Interestingly it can be used on a mooring with no shore support due to the solar charging.

The airdock stuff I really don't like. Seems very dodgy and I've seen boats rolled on their side from one of the bags going flat. I don't like that they have no structure. Hard to get the boat in the right position.

The HydroHoist stuff comes in a few different styles, but for a small boat like a 22 you'd probably have a simple 2-chamber system. I prefer the free-floating systems as opposed tot he ones that bolt to a dock. Drawbacks are that they require a fair bit of water under the boat so if you've got a shallow slip it's a problem. Some of the bunks are a little cheesy and could be built heavier to prevent sagging in the middle. And they are very slow to go to full-down position if they don't have any weight on them. In fact, I have a small one here at my dock that's been 'up' for about a year now with nothing on it. Since it's in salt water, I'm sure growth has likely clogged the inlet on the bottom of the tubes. Usually when that happens I just turn them to 'raise' and blow out the hole before turning it to 'lower' and letting it go down, but I'm not sure it would even go down at all now without putting some weight on it.

The only other thing I'd watch out for on a HydroHoist is some of them can be a little complicated to use. You have to lower the stern first then the bow. I have a larger 4-chamber unit here, and an un-trained person (the owner, of course) tried to launch a 28' Four Winns off of it. He didn't pay attention to what chambers he was emptying first, and rolled the boat way over on it's side. Could he have flipped it? Maybe. Of course, the average person is smarter than him, so that probably only applies if you let infants or chimps run your lift.

10-26-2011, 10:48 AM
Ditto on the Sunstream. Met the owner years ago at the boat show in Boston. One hell of a engineer and a really smart guy. He put a lot of thought into the lift design. If I didn't move, I would have bought one.


10-26-2011, 11:28 AM
Having been in the marine biz for many years I never cared much for the lifts, cost, maintenance, hoses letting go to mention a few. Two stout pilings with a bunk lift and a roof to protect the boat from sun and rain is a better way to go. I can not count the number of lift sinking's IE the boat high and dry but with a ton of water in the bilge wiping out starters and who know what else, our Donzi's are especially prone due to the hatch drains dumping directly into the bilge. After watching my two pumps work their butts off during a rain storm at 1K I added over board hatch drains, there are other things to consider then just getting the hull clear of the water.

10-26-2011, 02:19 PM
They also have those docks that you drive up on, no problem with a 18'. Kinda like a floating dock with a winch on it and rollers.

I agree with the standard 4 pole lift which is what I use but I understand your point about ice. What do you do to keep your dock from lifting? If it does not lift, a lift probably would not as well. Do you run an ice-eater?

10-26-2011, 05:00 PM
Thank you MC Donzi. Zelatore, Tidbart, MOP and Biggiefl for your responses. Looks like I will look into the Sunstream lift. Solar sounds appealing as we get alot of sun where the boat sits.

Biggiefl: My dock is about 50 feet long. 38 feet of it is an older wooden dock with cement footings, so it is relaltively stable. I put a 12x6 foot aluminum extension onto the wood portion. The aluminum section is in the deepest water. I do not use a circulator. We pull the dock each Fall. The lake freezes solidly every year and even if I used a circulator it would get destroyed in the Spring ice out as we face the West, get lots of wind and the chunks pile up on the shore. The lake is deep (103 feet) but where my dock is situated is only about 3 feet at the deep end.

I will look at the Sunstream website. Do they conduct business/delivery/setup in the Northeast?

10-26-2011, 05:42 PM
I keep my 16 on a 3,000# shorestation hoist. It has 2 bunks (as opposed to feet) so you are instantly centered on and off. sure beats leaving the boat in the water where the hull accumulates all kinds of crud. I Have to take the hoist out of the water in the winter (major league pain in the a$$) otherwise the hoist will be twisted like a pretzel at ice-out.

10-27-2011, 09:03 AM
Thanks Fbc whaler. I will take a look at the Shorestation 3000 hoist.

10-27-2011, 11:05 AM
I have two types of lifts, both in the picture below.

The Donzi is hanging from it's two lifting eyes by 2 hoists attached to the boathouse beams.

The Lyman is on a bed style lift that I bought from Lunmar for about $1000. All the mechanics are up in the boathouse.

Both have nothing in the water so easy in the winter. All from above, nothing to remove.

Both have their pros/cons.

The hoists are much faster, self aligning, and very easy, the bed lift is a pain, you have to hold the boat positioned exactly right and wait for the lift to come up slowly.

The bed lift does provide better support tho for the wooden boat. Both boats can go on either lift but I don't like to hang the wood boat indefinitely whereas the Donzi has no problems hanging long term, has been for 8 years. You can also lift almost any boat with the bed lift, just drive it on and go. The hoist needs good lifting eyes which are rare.

10-27-2011, 01:37 PM
Pismo that looks like a great setup but there is no way I would ever be able to get the necessary permits to build a boat house type structure in the water on this lake. There are none on either side of the lake. The ice here some winters is over 3 feet thick and would likely destroy anything in the water. In fact, they won't allow any building or even tree cutting within 100 feet of the water.

10-27-2011, 02:23 PM
We have that ice problem as well. Everything gets totally destroyed regularly. I finally built another cantilevered boat house that has nothing in the water during the winter. Mine are all overhead lifting based so you would need some kind of structure above, or at least some tall pilings to lift from. I avoided the in water lift for the ice concerns and i don't want to have to bother removing it all every fall.

10-27-2011, 05:46 PM
HYDROHOIST, between my father and I we have a total of 6 of them my 18 sits on a 4000#, we have had only 1 problem with a leaking jetski lift and it was replaced by Hyrohoist, their tanks come with a lifetime warranty. Polylift is another nice lift, both use the same theory and work great and lift your boat level. Steve

10-28-2011, 09:43 AM
Real nice setup you have there Osur. I have looked at the Hydrohoist and will check out the Poly lift. Thanks for the info.

10-28-2011, 10:54 AM
We have 4 hydrohoists and I have had a couple of failures over the last 10 years or so, but only one salt water unit. I've had to replace a couple of blowers, and I've had the fitting where the hoses connect to the tank rot off. This system is pretty old, and the problems were clearly salt damage. The blowers failed because when you drop the hoist fully, sometimes a little salt water would blow back up the air hose and get into the blower. Doesn't take a lot of that to kill one. I bought replacement blowers from Hydrohoist, but I'm sure with a little scrounging you could find a cheaper generic replacement. The hose fittings were a bit of a PITA, but I ended up just knocking them out and sealing a small piece of brass pipe in the opening with 5200. Not pretty, but it's been working for several years now.

Since we aren't the original owners on these things (we took them in on trade over the years) I never knew they had a lifetime tank warranty. I probably could have had the tank fittings repaired by them. (?)

Here on the west coast, you never see hoists. I can't think of any in California, though there may be some on the inland lakes. I don't know if it's the tides (about 6' in my area) environmental restrictions, or just regional preference. I do know it's not the ice. :tongue:

10-28-2011, 11:17 AM
Ours Freeze here in the Midwest, both in the Kansas city area and at LOTO