Pontoons and tritoons are a great way to enjoy the lakes in the summer. They’re also heavy, large, and expensive, especially if you need to invest in the related equipment. Specifically, you might need to invest in a new boat lift, which can be another expense. Today’s pontoons and tritoons are larger and heavier than older boat models, which means that they can’t go on V-hull or other lifts designed for smaller watercraft—in fact, for boats that are 25 feet or longer, your best option is to upgrade to a longer pontoon lift to guarantee that your boat will get the support that it needs.
However, some boat owners don’t have to replace their old boat lift to enjoy a new watercraft. There are a few options available on the market that will allow boaters to modify their existing boat lift to support a new boat’s pontoons. The handy waterfront owner can DIY modifications of an existing lift to accommodate pontoons; there are also rail kits specifically for V-hull to pontoon lift conversions.
Do It Yourself
With the right equipment and know-how, a handy boat owner can create the parts that an existing lift needs to be pontoon-ready. A pontoon lift needs a pair of bunks for each pontoon (and even more support for a tritoon), so an existing lift that’s set up with bunks will need an additional set. It’s also important to know the weight capacity of the boat lift, the weight of the loaded boat, and how the boat is positioned. For pontoon boats, most of your weight is going to be in the back, where the storage locker, motor, and battery usually are: this affects where the weight is concentrated and therefore where the modifications need to take place.
Buy a Rail Kit
If DIYing sounds overwhelming, you can buy a pontoon rail kit that includes the parts you need. Given the risk of damaging your boat’s pontoons, and how expensive those pontoons are, it’s a good way to save money and protect your investment. Removing the bunks and cradles from the existing lift before you install the pontoon rail kit to allow it to act as both lifting and centering devices for your pontoon boat. A rail kit like the ones available from ShoreMaster will work for vertical and hydraulic lifts and come with rails, brackets, and assembly instructions that are already made for effortless conversion.
You can also pay someone else to do the conversion for you—sometimes the expense is worth the peace of mind. Choose a dealer that’s very experienced in both the product being installed, the conditions in your area, and on who can provide advice on the installation and conversions. If you’re at all nervous about the installation and only want to worry about getting on the lake, this is another way that you can get a V-hull to pontoon lift conversion stress-free.
For more information:
1025 International Drive
Fergus Falls, MN 56537