Boat Lifts for Pontoon Boats: How They Are Different from Regular Lifts

Boat Lifts for Pontoon Boats: How They Are Different from Regular Lifts

With multi-purpose functionality, pontoon boats ferry and entertain both freshwater fishermen and lake enthusiasts. Known for their many advantages in maintaining an easy, family-friendly design, pontoons are designed with durability in mind. An efficient way to prolong longevity is by securing the right boat lift for your pontoon. Below, we discuss the differences between regular and pontoon boat lifts.

Pontoons: The Basics


Traditionally, a pontoon’s original design intent applied to boating on sheltered freshwater like lakes and rivers. Over the recent years, boating along saltwater intracoastal waterways with pontoons became a possibility.


A large, physical distinction between traditional deck boats and pontoons is the shape and function of the hull. Typically, the hull of deck boats are V-shaped. However, the pontoon’s design allows the boat to lie flat on the water, balancing on two or three hollow, aluminum tubes. The flat deck and hull lend tremendous stability on top of the water by easily resisting side-to-side rocking traditional deck boats often encounter.

Boat Lifts: An Introduction


The essential purpose of boat lifts entails transferring boats into and out from the water at different elevations. For boat relocation, maintenance, or simple corrosion prevention, mariners found many reasons to name this an essential component in their boating experience or career.


You can make your selection based off 3 boat lift categories: suspended, bottom standing, and floating. Each classification caters to different types of docking construction and water conditions. This highlights the importance of being cautious when selecting your type of lift.

Pontoon Boat Lifts: Why Generic Lifts Aren’t Compatible

Boat lifts for pontoon boats require entirely new design, structure, and weight capacity. They require wider and longer frames to provide better support and stability when lifting today’s pontoons. Because the hull of a pontoon differs from traditional V-shaped boats, generic lifts aren’t constructed to support the weight distribution and width of a pontoon’s flat deck and aluminum support below.


To cater to different lifting preferences and pontoon sizes, a cradle style lift helps in securing the boat’s hull in place. Pontoon cradles are typically manufactured with aluminum and stainless-steel hardware with optional carpet, vinyl, or wood bunks to support the pontoon. The cradles bolted onto a dock remain non-adjustable, unlike floating boat lifts that shift along the water. Cradle boat lifts for pontoon boats typically manufacture as one of the three styles: center, bunk, and sling.

Center Lift Cradles

Center lifts effectively provide support for your pontoon. Made of wood, stainless-steel, or aluminum, center lift cradles often have a coated layer of vinyl to protect your underbelly scratching. 

Bunk Style Cradles

Significantly more stable than other cradle style pontoon boat lifts, bunk style cradles work similarly to the bunks on a boat trailer. Like center lift cradles, the bunks also offer a non-marring protective cover of carpet or vinyl to prevent your pontoon logs from damage when transferred on and off.

Sling-Style Lifts

Sling style boat lifts provide the greatest depth. Usually made from nylon or polyester, the sling lift lies flat against the ground. Sling-style lifts take up less space than metal bunks and cradles. This allows the lift to hold the weight of the pontoon from above, unlike other cradles that support it from beneath the pontoon flooring.

SVI Recreational: Pontoon Boat Lift Repair Parts

Unfortunately, nothing lasts forever. However, at SVI Recreational, we dedicate out time to manufacturing quality boat lift kits and repair parts that extend the quality and life of your boating equipment. Contact us today to receive a quote on our kits and repair products!

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