Improve Your Boat Lift with These Six Add-Ons!Photo of a boat lift with canopy installed by Captain Rod's.

Adding a boat lift to your dock sure relieves a lot of stress. On the one hand, you don’t have to worry about your boat being negatively affected by sitting in water for a prolonged amount of time. On the other hand, you also don’t have to worry about all the time and hassle it takes to constantly get your boat in and out of the water by hand. Life is good when you’ve got a high-quality hydraulic boat lift—but could it be better?

There’s a wide range of accessories on the market for your boat lift, including things like solar systems and wireless remotes or even something as simple as a canopy top. Here’s a rundown of 6 types of boat lift accessories that we recommend you consider for your lift.


Getting your boat safely onto your boat lift can be a bit tricky, especially with choppy water, bad weather conditions, and other complicating factors. However, guide-ins can make it easier to get the boat on the boat lift and keep both from getting damaged in the process.

Guide-ins come in several varieties, some of which include:

  • Vertical PVC guide-ins consist simply of vertical PVC posts, often covered by fabric. They guide boats by the rub rail to help you guide your boat onto the boat lift.
  • Full-length guide-in systems are sets of guides that mount to the side of a hoist. They adjust both horizontally and vertically for a perfect fit, and provide a visual aid for centering and landing your boat on the boat lift. They’re typically carpeted to protect the hull of the watercraft.
  • A bow guide, otherwise known as a bow stop, is a bow-shaped beam at the front of the lift. This keeps you from overrunning the boat lift, ensuring proper positioning for secure storage.
  • Pontoon guides are vertical posts that extend up under the pontoon and help you guide the pontoon onto a boat lift.

Canopies and Bird Deterrents

A canopy is one of the most important accessories you can get for your boat lift. A complete canopy kit includes the canopy frame, the canopy cover, and the posts that support it all. The canopy protects your boat from sun, rain, birds, and more while it sits in your boat lift.

In addition to the canopy itself, there are additional accessories you can get for the canopy itself. One example is a canopy cubby, which gives you extra storage space between the canopy and the boat. Another example is a bird deterrent system. This can take several different forms, such as posts that extend above the corners of the canopy and are connected with fishing line to prevent birds from perching on it.

Solar Panel Systems

Your boat lift is outside all summer, and includes various systems and equipment that run off of electricity, including the boat and the lift themselves. So, set up solar panels and you can charge your systems and save on power costs.

A solar system consists of one or more solar panels which can attach to various parts of the boat lift, most typically the corner post. The kit can then charge either a battery in a battery tray, or directly charge the battery in your personal watercraft. The battery and the solar panels come in different wattages to suit different levels of use.

Install some solar panels and you can keep your 12v battery or personal watercraft charged all summer with absolutely no hassle.


Sometimes, you have to get your boat on or off the lift while it’s dark out. Whether you’re getting an early start preparing to start a voyage before sunrise, getting home late at night after an evening on the lake, or making sure everything’s secure while a storm blots out the sun, you’re stuck trying to do this all while it’s hard to see.

Prevent this from being an issue by installing a floodlight. LED floodlight systems provide ample lighting for safely getting on and off your boat, and can be integrated into the electrical system of your boat lift and pier. This means it can be powered by your solar panel system, and turned on and off with your wireless remote. Many even come with automatic shut-off features so that the lights turn off after 15 minutes of inactivity, preventing unnecessary battery drain.

Hull Supports

Your boat or other watercraft deserves to have optimal support while it sits up on your boat lift. That’s why there’s a whole range of different types of hull supports you can install on your boat lift to get that perfect fit. These come in several categories:

  • Cradles, or cradle pad pivot bunks, are pairs of pads that support stabilize and support the hull of your vessel. They can be either nonadjustable or adjustable both horizontally and vertically.
  • Full-length bunks provide maximum support and stability. These pairs of aluminum extrusions contour to your watercraft and are covered in vinyl which resists the adhesion of sand and debris. They can be offset toward your pier for easier access as well.
  • Pontoon bunk / guide-in systems are combined bunks and guide-in systems designed for pontoons. They come in both full-length and cradle varieties.

Wireless Remote

Once you’ve started to accumulate accessories for your pier and boat lift, you may start to want a more convenient way to control it all. That’s where a wireless remote comes in.

If you have a vertical screw drive (VSD) or electric winch boat lift, you can get a remote which lets you raise or lower your boat from up to 300 feet away. The same remote can additionally operate your LED floodlight system if you have one. This means you can turn on the lights and lower your boat into the water before even setting foot on the dock.

If that’s not convenient enough, you can even put the key fob remote on your keychain so it’s always on hand. If you can open your garage and unlock and start your car with a key fob, why not make it just as easy for your boat?

Call Captain Rod’s for Boat Lift Accessories and Maintenance

Depending on what sorts of accessories you’re interested in, such as the bunks and cradles, it’s probably a good idea to get some professional help choosing and installing your boat lift accessories. Captain Rod’s Boat Lift & Pier Services is a team of professionals, and we’re well-equipped to handle any maintenance you need for your boat lift in the Chain O’Lakes area. Give us a call at (815) 759-9134 today and let’s discuss how we can make your boat lift and pier as convenient to use as possible!