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-   -   air-dock boat lift info (http://www.wakeworld.com/forum/showthread.php?t=794573)

nailem 07-18-2012 12:37 PM

air-dock boat lift info
I did do a search but found little info about Air-dock boat lifts.
I live off of lake Erie and in my area boat lifts for the most part are unheard of. actually when i called the marina where i keep my boat i had to explain what one was to the guy. he first said that i can not mount anything to the dock so i sent him some information on Air-dock system.
my question for the group is what do you think of the air-dock for v-drives? how reliable are they? it says on their site that you just lay heavy rubber over the center for the fins, is this really effective? any thoughts or suggestions would be appreciated.

azeus17 07-18-2012 1:59 PM

I had one when we lived in FL. Same situation...lived in a condo complex on a canal that did not allow lifts. I figured it was easier to beg forgiveness than ask permission, so i just put in the air dock and no one really said anything...probably because you could not really even see it. I painted the PVC pieces black to blend in with the water more.

The air dock works as described. It raises and lowers the boat quickly. It is kind of a PITA to put in and take out (I only did each once being in FL), but on Lake Erie you will get much more practice. I bought the mat that they sell for the lift because of the tracking fins. Worked fine, no problems with holes or anything. The mat actually was nice as it helped sink the bags when you deflated them. I also added 5 or 10 lb weights to the bottom of the bags to help get them out of the way of the prop and fins (you should never pull in far enough that the prop would touch the bags, but better safe than sorry). It was not perfect. Sometimes I felt like the mat was sticking to the fins or something as it would occasionally take a few attempts at bumping the throttle in reverse to get off the bags. And sometimes, if you stopped too short, you would have to back up and take another running start at docking on the bags. I think the forward movement of the boat creates a little buffer zone of water between the bags and the hull.

Anyway, long story short, it is way better than leaving your boat in the water, especially Lake Erie. I have a pic of my Sport Nautique sitting on in somewhere. I can try to find it if you want.

wakeboy01 07-18-2012 3:41 PM

I am also interested in this. Picture would be appreciated. Adam you didn't think that the system would put too much pressure on your driveshaft causing vibrations? I don't want to buy a massive lift to bring in and out every season. How was it to take in and out of the water? Thank you for your time.

nailem 07-18-2012 7:51 PM

Adam, thanks for your response, thats what i was looking for. like wakeboy01 asked what was the trouble with taking them out and putting them in? where they just plain heavy. i was thinking i could float them over to the ramp and either load them on my boat trailer or on to a flat bed trailer. you say that you do not pull up far enough for the prop to hit but how do you know how far that is? do you just get use to where to stop? sorry these may be simple questions but the only boat lifts i have ever used are hyrohoist at homes i have rented on Norris lake TN

fullspeed 07-18-2012 10:21 PM

Adam, I looked into boat lifts a 5 months ago, because we a pontoon style boat lift that I really don't trust and I want to get rid of it. The neighbor a few houses down has an X15 and he has this boat lift. Sunstream http://www.sunstreamcorp.com/floatlift.htm It is solar or can be and bimini top cover and even led lights. It is controlled remote by fob. It should fit in a standard boat space but I was just going to place ours if we get one on the side of our dock since it completely floats and can be just tied to your dock.

Check them out. Pretty pricey. Around 15 to 16,000 with led lights runway for night parking, solar and bimini top. We are going to wait until we can afford one so I am sure in a couple years.

pittsy 07-18-2012 11:16 PM

Get the SunStream, I have an 06' X-Star and this is my 2nd year with this lift. Its awesome, it quiet and lifts the boat quickly and I have never had a problem with it. I keep the boat on the lift all summer and gone are the days when I had to pull the boat out when I was not going to be at the lake house. Definitely recommended.

alexair 07-19-2012 12:23 AM

2 Attachment(s)
This is my lift. It's similar as air dock but only two tubes. I ordered these custom tubes PVC on boat manufacturer and total cost of lift approx $650. Second season on the water and no problem. My lift have no any protection in prop or fin area - just enough gap. operated by usual vacuum cleaner. Less 5 minutes lift up or drop off.

nailem 07-19-2012 6:53 AM

alexair, do you have the information on where you got the bags made? i think my boat would be a bit heavier but i see you have a full ballast up front. i just weighed my boat and it was 4980lbs with half a tank of fuel and full of gear.
i looked at sunstream but i think it would be too wide when raised. my slip is a double slip with a neighbor next to me, nothing between us. im not exactly sure how big the double stall width is so i have to measure this weekend but i of course only get half. i will post a pic if i can to show.
also i was looking for something lower cost. boating season here starts around June and even early June it is wet suit season and runs to mid September if your lucky. the lake gets really rough in the fall. hell even in the summer its rough. i went to go out yesterday, there were only 9mph winds but they were from the north so the lake had 2-3 footers with white caps.
any ideas on where to find used lifts would help too. im not afraid to travel for the right deal.
thanks again, keep the info coming

TheSqueakyWheel 07-19-2012 7:31 AM

I second the Sunstream floatlift.

I researched floating lifts for quite some time and went with the Sunstream floatlift with 6000lb capacity. This summer it has worked flawlessly with my >4500 lb MB 24.

Raises in 60 seconds via hydraulics, lowers in half that time. Solar powered. Flawless.

From what I recall, it's a big price jump over the airdock.

If space is a concern, consider the new V-lifts from sunstream. This product wouldn't work for my situation but might be perfect for you.

wakeboy01 07-19-2012 8:36 AM

@alexair that's nuts. How do the bags stay that wide / stay in the same spot? I'd like to see a video of this w/o the boat on how it's set up and then boat being brought on and lifted up. That's awesome.

azeus17 07-19-2012 3:27 PM


Originally Posted by nailem (Post 1768975)
Adam, thanks for your response, thats what i was looking for. like wakeboy01 asked what was the trouble with taking them out and putting them in? where they just plain heavy. i was thinking i could float them over to the ramp and either load them on my boat trailer or on to a flat bed trailer. you say that you do not pull up far enough for the prop to hit but how do you know how far that is? do you just get use to where to stop? sorry these may be simple questions but the only boat lifts i have ever used are hyrohoist at homes i have rented on Norris lake TN

My trouble was that I had to take it all apart. If you live near a ramp and have the space to store it without taking it apart, then it would be no big deal. Also, the water was deep (about 6 ft) where it was installed, so i had to do everything from the boat. As for not hitting the prop, it is like any other lift...you learn where to stop. It really does not put very much pressure on the drive shaft. If I remember correctly, it is only like 5 or 10 psi in the bags, so if just inflates around the shaft and strut. I will look for my pics tonight. Hydrohoists are nice, but as mentioned...very pricey. I like the home made job. I thought about something like that with large diameter PVC pipe, but had trouble finding it large enough and cost effective. Look on CL or ebay. I think I got my air dock for about $600.

Truekaotik 07-19-2012 6:49 PM

Nailem... I will be at the lake this weekend and will get you the pics you want of inboards on them.. It's just like the website says... There's two ways to air dock a inboard with no issues.. 1. Deeper water. Atleast 2ft deep.. You put 5 lb weights on each rear bag at the ends of the bags and it draws the rear down for the prop. Or 2. Shallow water... You take each rear air chamber line to post to open it a bit... They love these things at our lake and are a bit cheaper than a lift... If they do get a hole it's easy to patch i guess... I was told they were not bad to install...

wakeboy01 07-19-2012 7:35 PM

@Adam what is there to disassemble?

alexair 07-20-2012 12:51 AM

I'm from Ukraine and off course the bags were done in Ukraine. Boats manufacturer has facility only half mile from me and make order on bags for me was not too difficult. I use PVC in yellow color for better vission in sunk position and it's 1000g/m gauge PVC. They are 17' lenth and approx. 30" diameter. If you have interest I can make a sheme. I'm sure my hoist ready for 5000lbs+. This hoist has too low pressure in bags in work position and it's good for worries about punctures or any boat damages. If I need cleaning of sides of boat I use more pressure in the bags and boat rise much more from water. Also now I've got some expirience and know how make this hoist a little better.
Really I can make a new movie because this one was my first attempt on the water last summer.


One more.. Hoist easy take apart in fall or drop in the water in spring! And I store my hoist in a ski locker in the boat

nailem 07-22-2012 7:36 PM

3 Attachment(s)
alexair do your bags need to be attched on bothe outer sides to a dock? here are some pics of my boat in the slip and a shot of what a empty slip looks like. i forgot to take a tape measure with me so i do not know how much width i have. i'm guessing 12' for my half.

alexair 07-23-2012 5:28 AM

In my case I use both sides of dock, but in your case you can use additional slim long bags (4-5) inches along on both sides of main bags to keep your hoist in proper position. ("Air dock" use the same system but they put these bags inside the main bags and you can't see them and I think it's more difficult way in manufacture) These small bags you have to keep with air all time and they will works like perimeter keepers on the water surface and help you put your boat over the hoist like you need. Also you need put anchor on free end of hoist. You have to use rope with rubber insert inside (don't know english name) for ability change the lenth during lift. I use the same " soft" ropes to attach my hoist to the dock. The anchor will be tense a little in back and out from your dock. In this case you can use only four points to keep your hoist in proper position. And one more - now I'll make front sides of my bags a little different. I'll use oval profile on the edges of them and maybe approx 6-7 feet conical shape to the front side for little deduction flotation on front end of hoist. (You can see these bulbs on my photos under noses of boat) In your case with rear motor position it will be better my guess.
I hope my info usefull.

alexair 07-23-2012 5:58 AM

When I started make my dock I didn't know about one more opportunity to keep bottom clean. For this device need less materials and you never worry about of your hoist and or any problems. This one works like towel under your boat and not big floats bags perform pressing this PVC sheet to the bottom of the boat and remove all water which contain oxigen and others organics for grow any bios on the bottom. Boat stay on in regular position on the water but bottom covered by the PVC.
Also I saw the device which make removing water during flotation bag filling by air - more quick and attractive as for me (can't found video)

93rx7 07-23-2012 10:25 AM

currently looking for a lift myself.. need something under 10k though :(

nailem 07-24-2012 7:41 PM

I looked up the flexidock and they are around 9k plus shipping. Intersting idea. I wonder how it would work with the tracking fins?

alexair 08-06-2012 12:09 AM

I start think about manufacture of the ones...

coryjud 11-20-2012 9:46 AM

airdock boatlifts
i bought one but need help with installation.
can anyone help me in 33480

coryjud 11-20-2012 9:48 AM

i bought one but need help with installation. anyone help me in 33480

alexair 11-20-2012 10:00 AM

2 Attachment(s)
New place for my boat and try to lift one another boat

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