Posted on December 29, 2022

How to Select a PWC Dock Lift or Platform System?

How to select a PWC platform or lift system

Written by HydroHoist Marketing

Whether you’ve added a jet ski to your waterfront fleet or you’re just getting into the hobby, having a place to store it outside of the water is a great idea. Just like a boat, your personal watercraft will be exposed to the elements, which means that any extra protection you can provide can’t hurt. This is where buying a jet ski, PWC docking system, or platform can come in.

However, PWC platforms and boat lift systems aren’t one size fits all. Here are the criteria you should consider before shopping and bring to your local dealer to help you make the most optimal choice.

A floating boat lift for pontoon boats

Permit or Other Requirements

Some locations will have different legal requirements for the kinds of structures you can put in the water. Whether you live where an HOA requires a beautiful view of the water or does not allow specific lifts or features, you want to be sure that you comply with whatever rules you have to follow. Consult the regulating authorities in your area for more information. If you choose a local dock systems dealer, they’ll also be familiar with many of these regulations.

Water Conditions and Type

How deep is your water, and does that level fluctuate with the weather or as the seasons change? Are you boating in salt or freshwater conditions? Are you in a quiet, secluded area or a very busy marina with rough water near your slip? Are you concerned about protecting the bottom of the water by your shore? Keep these things in mind as you shop around because certain PWC platforms and lift systems are best for different water conditions and needs.

PWC Size

The size, style, and weight of your watercraft matter when considering a PWC lift system or platform. PWC lifts, like boat lifts, are built to accommodate the exact weight listed in their specs and not even a pound more. Also, remember that this includes wet weight—add the dry weight of your watercraft with the fuel, water, and other things you might have with you (allow about 6-8 pounds per gallon of gasoline). Your PWC lift or platform should also be able to accommodate the width and length of your watercraft to ensure that it stays on the lift properly and doesn’t end up damaged.

Travel Distance

The distance from the top of the dock to the top of the water is called travel. This distance provides the room your PWC needs to float off the lift. A travel distance that’s especially high or low requires special considerations from a docking system. 

Mounting Options

Will you let your dock stand or float on its own, or will you mount it to another solid object? A piling, dock, or seawall, for instance? Some PWC platforms and lift systems are designed to be seamlessly incorporated into your existing dock design with the appropriate hardware. Think about how much room you have to work with when considering mounting options.


Will you have access to electricity in the location where you’re planning to put your PWC lift? Electrical lifts are very convenient but are less convenient and even impossible to use if you can’t safely run electricity out to your watercraft. If you can’t get electricity out to your PWC lift safely, and with all other factors considered, you might be better off using a manual lift or a PWC docking platform rather than a PWC lift with a motor.

Selecting the right PWC lift on your own can be daunting—after all, you’re trusting this platform to hold one of your most treasured possessions for years! It’s not a process you have to navigate alone, though–you’re already in a good starting place. A local HydroHoist dealer can help you determine what system is best for you based on your PWC, existing waterfront system, and the water you call home—get in touch with someone in your area by contacting us! 


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