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Airdock-a way to wet slip with no worry and no fixed lift

Julian

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I finally pulled the plug and got tired of having a slow and dirty boat and bought an AirDock. Now my boat sits up out of the water and stays nice and clean! It takes about 5 minutes to lift the boat and exactly 6 minutes 50 seconds to deflate. While deflating we remove the covers, store coolers, load people etc, so it lines up nicely with our typical departure times. The Airdock is also the most inexpensive of the floating lift options at only $3100 delivered plus about $100 in other parts and a day's assembly.

Air Dock Boat Lifts | Home

Their price list is available online....our boats use a "C" Model, and may require a frame depending on your docking situation.....

Air Dock Boat Lifts | Home

Here is a photo (not a very good one...sorry....) of the boat raised up....

Boat on Air dock.jpg

I have also attached the Airdock Installation instructions.
 

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leeatmg

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I have considered this a number of times - saw one for the first time in person this past summer at the place I rent a slip. What's the best guess on reliability and lifespan on these? I'm leery about buying something like that and only having it last a few seasons before leaking. Also - is it hard to assemble and install?
 

Julian

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Lifespan is estimated at minimum 5 years, maximum 15 years. So I'm hoping for 10. It is really a pretty simple solution. The worst thing you can have happen is getting a hole in the bladder...usually because an animal chewed it. The company says that this is easy to repair. The interesting thing is that the air pressure in these huge bladders doesn't actually get that high.

Assembling it wasn't hard. It was a 2 person job, and the longest part is assembling the frame that holds the bladders in place. I did all of that myself in my garage to a point (it is PVC pipe and cement (EASY), then did the final assembly at the marina and had a couple of the marina workers help me carry the frame and bladders out to the slip.
 

PoquosonDad

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I have been thinking about one of these. Are you able to flush the engines from a hose while lifted on the bags? Are you in fresh or salt water?
 

leeatmg

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I may need to seriously look into one of those. I've been told that the lakes in my new home state are test beds for algae developed by the NSA to grow at superhuman rates just to annoy boaters, and that I don't want to wet slip unless I'm willing to pull the boat and pressure wash it every other week or so.

So you assembled it at home and drove it down to the marina?
 

Julian

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Yes, I partially assembled it at home and drove it to the marina with a couple of friends. We then finished assembly and 4 of us walked the frame down the dock and put it in. Then walked the bladders down the dock and connected them to the blower box.

I boat in fresh water and like Lee am on a lake where the NSA is experimenting with mutant algae! LOL

I see no reason why you couldn't flush the boat while on the airdock.
 

txav8r

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Julian, so the airdock lifts the boat completely out of the water? How stable is it if you get in and out, and can you load up completely and then deflate, or do you need to lower the airdock and then load and go? Very interesting...what is the weight limit and do they make them for larger vessels?
 

Julian

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@txav8r Check out their website....they go up to 47' and 24,000lbs

http://airdock.com/models/sizes-prices

It is VERY stable. You can climb in and out with no problem while it is inflated. The dock actually takes longer to deflate than it does to inflate. So our routine is to:
1) Go to the dock first and open the valves to release the air
2) Load up the dock cart and haul the beer and any other crap to the boat :)
3) Uncover the boat, put the cover in the dock box, unplug chargers etc
4) Load up the boat with the beer and other stuff

Usually by this time the airdock has deflated and we push her off and away we go.
 

cane.mba

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Julian, I'm still planning on purchasing the air dock, it's the perfect solution for me. My home is left of a power line right of way, and my dock is on the right side, so I can't run electric to the dock. My other challenge is that my dock is in shallow water (should have 10-12' but thanks to an unremediated dam break I am down to 6') on a Army Corps of Engineer lake where they draw the water level down in the winter to prep for spring rain. The ability to power the air dock via the boats battery is huge, and the shallow water capability is perfect. I'm just waiting on the parties responsible for flooding my cove with silt and sediment to fix the problem, and dredge the cove.
 

Julian

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Got a few more questions about this via PM, just copying my response here:

I bought it new from the manufacturer. Cost somewhere around $3100 (including shipping and frame), then you have to spend (depending on your install location) $200 for a frame if you don't have a U shaped dock (mine is L shaped and you need support on the far corner so the bladders stay in place when you pull onto it).

It is the cheapest solution for getting your boat lifted out of the water. Sunstream V lifts are much better, but more than twice the price, and I couldn't justify that expense.

I've only had it a year, and thus far no issues. One thing to consider is that if your water freezes you can't leave the bladder in the water over the winter. The lake around our docks doesn't freeze so I left it in. They also caution you on if you live where critters might decide to nest on it. I've not had any issues thus far.

As for operation, its really very basic. There are 3 main bladders, each of which has one small internal bladder. When you first set it up, you fill the small internal bladders enough to float the whole thing and act as a guide for the boat to pull on. Then you close those and never touch them.

Then you drive or pull the boat onto the bladders, and begin inflating the main bladders. This takes about 5 minutes and people can be getting on and off while you do this. Once raised, you close the 3 valves to each bladder and you are done. As you get towards full, you adjust the fill rate of each bladder to get the boat level using those same valves (PVC pipe valves).

When you want to lower the boat, you just open all 3 valves and wait. It takes longer to lower the boat than to raise it. Roughly 10-15 minutes. So what I do is go straight to the boat first and open the valves. Then begin unloading the coolers from the car, hauling tubes etc down to the boat, uncover the boat, stow everything, and by the time I'm done the boat is down.

I can't comment on durability as I've only had it one year, but so far its been fine. No holes in bladders, and no functional issues. I'd buy it again for what it is. If you have dough, the V-Lift is nicer-but as I said, twice the price. The V-lift will likely hold its resale value better.

Pretty sure I got a "C" model, they are very helpful.

http://www.airdock.com/models/sizes-prices
 

Jayr212x

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Have you experienced any issues with the lift material interfering with the jet intakes? I'm worried about it getting sucked up in the engine. I'm considering the v-lift too, but like you the price difference makes the Airdock attractive.
 

cane.mba

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Jay, welcome to the new site!
 

Julian

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@Jayr212x I've had no issues with the intakes and lift material. I pull the boat back off the lift a few feet before I start the boat, and turn her off as I slide into the lift. You can only bow into an airdock because the bladders are oriented for the layout of the boat. I also have a couple of weights on the back so when the dock is deflated it pulls the back underwaater....so I probably don't need to pull her back as far as I do, but I'd rather be certain water flow isn't obstructed.
 

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@Julian, is there a way to set it up so you could back into the dock? How far below the boat does the dock sink when your are coming and going? Do you have a video link of you coming/going/inflating?
 

Julian

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No, you cannot back in. The airdock is configured for supporting the boat in one direction only. One bag at the front and two side by side for the main part of the boat.

I don't have a video of pulling on and off the dock, but can see about putting one together.
 

Julian

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Very nice setup!

UV rays might be enemy #1 on those bladders. Shoot them with 303 protectant every couple times out.
 

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Julian,
I'm VERY interested in the Airdock product. Can you give us an update? Any issues? Have you pulled your boat to see what the bottom looks like?
 

Julian

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