Best Boat Lifts for Shallow Water

Best boat lifts for shallow water

Shallow water environments can be difficult to dock a boat in. Whether you’re fighting changing tides or boating in an area prone to low water levels, you need a boat lift you can rely on when the water gets low. Some boat lifts are designed for use in shallow water to prevent damage and difficulty accessing your boat. 

Learn more about water levels, boat lifts and which are best for boating in shallow water.

How Water Levels Affect Boat Lifts

Fluctuating water levels are natural for most bodies of water, especially since so many factors can affect water levels. The weather, tides, currents and boat traffic can all impact the water level around your boat lift and dock. Fluctuating water levels can be tough on certain boat lift and dock materials. For example, wood will wear down more quickly in water that consistently rises and falls or beats against the structure.

Consistently high or low water levels can also impact your boat lift and dock. High water levels can potentially submerge your dock, preventing you from accessing your lift. Additionally, your lift may only be able to raise your boat to a certain height. If your lift isn’t designed for deep water, you may be unable to lift your boat completely out of the water, or worse, your lift controls may get submerged. 

Low water levels can also make accessing your boat difficult. When you lower your boat into the water, it will sit lower next to the dock. If your dock remains stationary in different water levels, getting in or out of your boat may be challenging. Shallow water can be trickier to dock a boat since boats require certain depths to operate safely. 

Top Considerations for Boat Lifts

Choose your lift carefully to minimize the impact water levels will have on it. As you consider which boat lifts may be best for your location and boating needs, here are a few considerations you should keep in mind:


Durability and materials should always be a big consideration when purchasing boat lifts and docks. Certain materials offer more durability than others, meaning they’ll withstand the elements and heavy use better than others. For example, wood has long been a popular material for boat lifts and docks, though other materials like polyethylene or aluminum offer increased durability. 

Durability and materials should always be a big consideration when purchasing boat lifts and docks

Shallow water increases the chance of your boat lift bumping the water bed, meaning you should carefully consider the durability of a lift’s materials. Opt for a lift made with solid materials that are less likely to get damaged when the water levels get too low.

Water Level

Since water levels can significantly impact your boat lift, you should consider it when looking for a boat lift. The right boat lift for you will be designed for the water levels you regularly have at your dock. For example, if you plan to dock your boat in shallow water, look for a boat dock that’s designed for shallow water. These lifts will better support your boat in shallow water conditions. The same goes for deep water. 


Boat lifts can have various different features and designs, including the type of lift and how the lift is powered. Considering a lift’s features is essential, as your current dock setup may not support or accommodate some boat lift features. For example, some boat lifts are powered with electricity, requiring an electric connection at your dock. Without it, you wouldn’t be able to get an electric boat lift, or you’d need to have electricity hooked up by the water.

Boat lifts can have various different features and designs

Types of Boat Lifts

Depending on where you dock your boat, what the water level typically is and what the shoreline looks like, you may have some options regarding the boat lift you use. Here are a few types of boat lifts you may consider for your property:

  • Bottom standing: A bottom-standing boat lift sits on its own legs adjacent to your dock. These lifts are common in applications where the water bed is level and firm. Bottom-standing lifts can work well in various water depths, including relatively shallow water. These lifts may operate manually, electrically or hydraulically, depending on your chosen model. A downside to bottom-standing lifts is they need to be removed for the winter and require reinstallation each spring.
  • Shore-mounted: Shore-mounted lifts are what their name suggests — the lift is mounted to the shoreline and extends into the water. These lifts essentially operate like a ramp with a winch and line that tows your boat up onto the lift and out of the water. Installing these lifts requires a gradual shoreline, though they can be an effective option for shallow water.
  • Piling mount: A piling mount boat lift is installed directly to a piling or fixed dock, allowing it to be used in any water depth. However, these lifts require a strong dock structure to support the weight of the lift and boat. Custom pilings often need to be installed to adequately support these lifts, which can get expensive.
  • Floating: Floating boat lifts are often the preferred choice for shallow and fluctuating water levels because they float above the water regardless of depth. Floating docks are supported with plastic or metal air-filled tanks that flood and displace water with air to lower and lift your boat. These lifts are typically paired with floating docks and require electricity.

Types of boat lifts

EZ Dock’s Aegis™ 7 Boat Lift

With a galvanized steel frame and linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE) tanks, the Aegis 7 floating boat lift is a durable and damage-resistant shallow water boat lift. This floating dock is corrosion-resistant, resists damage in shallow water and can withstand the worst weather conditions. 

The Aegis 7 Boat Lift keeps your boat out of the water, helping to prevent marine growth on the boat’s underside and allowing for easy maintenance access. This lift can be customized to accommodate various hull configurations and is compatible with traditional docks and other EZ Dock products. 

Get Floating Boat Lifts and Docks from EZ Dock

Floating docks and boat lifts are one of the best choices for shallow-water applications. Regardless of the water level, floating boat lifts rise and fall to accommodate fluctuating water levels. This floating lift characteristic gives you peace of mind and confidence in your boat lift. 

At EZ Dock, we design our products with durability, safety and ease of use in mind. We can help you design a setup that incorporates your current dock with a new floating dock, or we’ll customize a new floating dock and boat lift for your needs.

Request a quote today to get started with an EZ Dock floating boat lift.

Get Floating Boat Lifts and Docks from EZ Dock