What You Need To Know About The Air-Dock Inflatable Boat Lift – Light As Air Boats icon

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What You Need To Know About The Air-Dock Inflatable Boat Lift

Thinking about an inflatable boat lift to protect your boat? That’s because you know how important it is to safeguard your boat from algae and barnacles.  Read on to see if the Air-Dock could be your best solution in protecting your craft.



Why Get An Inflatable Boat Lift

First, let’s talk about the benefits of an inflatable boat lift. They’ve been around for about 30 years and interest in them is growing.  There are several benefits you get from an inflatable lift that you can’t get from any other docking system. 


They are gentle on your boat.  Hard docking systems that you drive your boat up on are tough on the hull of your boat.  Over time, hard lifts scrape the beautiful finish and scratch the hull. 

With an inflatable boat lift, you simply drive your boat into the slip and then inflate the lift under it. Your boat rests on the inflated bladders. 

An inflatable boat lift works with stationary docks and floating docks.  Plus, the Air-Dock boat lift functions well in various water levels.

This type of dock even works when the water depth is very low, and it can sit on the bottom when the tide goes out.

Air-Dock is the most affordable boat lift system on the market.  In fact, on average they run around $4,000.  While the average cost of a standard boat lift is around $11,000.

There is no corrosion.  Other than d-rings the dock is not a hunk of metal sitting in water. Corrosion is 

The Air-Dock lift system is easier to self-install than other docks.  Also, they last anywhere from 12-15 years!

How It’s Made


Air-Dock boat lifts are constructed of a tough Elvaloy, PVC, and Urethane blend. This fabric is chosen for its high tear strength and abrasion resistance. These materials are used primarily for industrial applications such as membrane roofs, pond liners, oil spill booms,  and truck tarps.


Air-Dock boat docks can accommodate various size boats and personal watercraft.  Air chambers are connected via rods and cords.  Internal guide chambers keep the outside edges of the boat lift afloat.


How The Air-Dock Boat Lift Works

Read on to see how this inflatable dock operates with different types of boats

Inboard/Outboards & Outboards

Drive the boat in

This type of boat drives into the dock slip as usual but with a little more throttle. The boat's hull should slide easily into the Air-Dock.  In fact, most boats up to 30 feet long can be pulled into the Air-Dock by hand with a rope.


Dock Lines Are Attached to the Boat

Once a boat is aligned, mooring lines are attached to the four corners of the boat. The lines should be tight and should cause the small lines attached to the air chambers to become slack.
It is important not to let the air chambers rub on the dock or any other structure.


Inflate The Air-Dock

Next the Air-Dock is inflated lifting the boat completely out of the water.  The boat should not be raised more than 4 inches at the stern and 2 inches near the bow.  The air supply is adjusted to the main air chambers to level the boat.

Inboard/outboard (I/O), or Outboard boats will raise the outdrive unit to the "trailer" position.

Lower Boat until Floating

To lower a boat, simply open the three air valves and wait until the air is completely exhausted.

Jet Boats

The Air-Dock floating boat lift works great with jet boats. The jet boat drives into the Air-Dock boat lift the same as other boats.  

Jet Boats in deep water

For deep water, the air chamber lines are attached to the forward D-rings on the back of the Air-Dock. Also attached is enough weight to the very back D-rings. Five pounds of weight will sink the material down and away from the jet intake grate.

The Air-Dock material will automatically rise to meet the boat hull of the jet boat when the jet boat is raised.

Jet Boats in shallow water

In shallow water, the instructions are a little different.  The air chamber lines are attached to the very back D-rings on the Air-Dock stern air chambers.  This time without weights.

When driving the jet boat in, it needs to shift into neutral about 4 feet short.  If the jet boat does not coast completely into the Air-Dock, pull the jet boat into place with a rope.

To remove the jet boat from the Air-Dock, it needs to be pushed back about 4 feet by hand, then driven out of the Air-Dock.

V-Drives & Inboards

Most inboard boats have tracking fins on the bottom of the hull which could damage the Air-Dock. For that reason, a thick rubber matt is offered to protect the material.  This INBOARD PROTECTOR is easily attached to the Air-Dock with four straps (included).

The weight of the mat pulls the Air-Dock down in the water to prevent the fins from catching on it.

The proper height for raising a V-drive or inboard boat is where the propeller is half out of the water.  Raising the boat higher compromises, the stability and safety of the Air-Dock and should not be done in any circumstance.

Because inboard (center engine) and V-drive boats have propellers under the hull, the air-dock installation is modified slightly.

In deep water,​ attach the two back connecting lines to the forward D-rings on the back air chambers. Then attach enough weight to the back corners to sink the Air-Dock material downward and away from the propeller. The air-dock material will automatically rise to meet the hull when re-inflated.

In shallow water, drive the boat on, shift into neutral about four feet short. Then pull the boat on with a rope.  

In most cases the boat will coast into position if the internal guide chambers are adjusted properly. When backing out of the Air-Dock, push the boat back about 4 feet by hand first, then drive it off.


Personal Watercraft Lift

The Air-Dock inflatable boat lift can be used to dock your personal watercraft from the bow in or stern in.

Use one PWC Air Control Box to operate one personal watercraft lift or multiple lifts.

Very low-pressure air will easily hoist the watercraft several inches above the water.

With the Air-Dock mounted parallel to your dock, you can even drive the watercraft straight through it.

To dock the PWC stern first, sit backward on the seat and close the handlebars. Then pull in with a rope.

The two lifting airbags are connected with a rope which allows width adjustment. The space between the airbags allows water flow for the watercraft.


The PWC model hoists the PWC several inches above the water and holds the PWC stable.

​The watercraft lift is approximately the same width as the PWC.

Dock Type

Fixed Dock

General instructions

The Air-Dock is held in place with lines tied to four corner points. 

Make sure the center sinks to the same depth as the boat hull draft, not including props. Weight may be needed in dense water like salt water. 

Inflate the Internal Guide Chamber.  This will center and stop the boat at the proper position.  It will also prevent air chambers from shifting as the main chambers are inflated.

Single Slip

Connect the lines to four corner points.  The lines may be connected with loops to allow for depth fluctuation. 

A frame kit may be needed depending on the shape of your slip. For example, if your dock has only a side tie application, the frame kit will provide all four corner points.


Floating Dock

The Air-Dock boat lift is held in place with lines tied to four corner points.  The center area must sink to the depth that equals the boat hull draft.  A frame kit may be needed if the dock does not have sufficient tie points.

Auger Poles

Auger poles can be used as tie points in some applications. They are only practical in shallow water applications with little depth fluctuation. They must also be strong enough to hold the boat in high winds and currents.

Learn more at Light As Air Boats – www.lightasairboats.com

Get the Air-Dock inflatable boat lift to protect your boat.  Call Dave at Light As Air Boats  864.367.6161.   dave@lightasairboats.com