Case Studies

Hi-Tide Boat Lifts: Affordable and Dependable Quality

  • Written by: Hi-Tide Boat Lifts: Affordable and Dependable Quality
  • Produced by: Hi-Tide Boat Lifts: Affordable and Dependable Quality

Hi-Tide Boat Lifts (Hi-Tide) was established in 1979 to create a superior boat lift for waterfront homeowners. With a love of the water and a desire to manufacture an innovative and durable alternative to the standard four-post vertical boat lift, Donald Wood, founder of Hi-Tide, established a niche. From Hi-Tides’ one manufacturing facility in Fort Pierce, Fla., the company has grown to serve an impressive geographic area over the years. Today Craig Wood, Donald’s son and president of Hi-Tide, runs the company with the help of 32 dedicated employees.

Hi-Tide sells its products through dealers – primarily marine contractors – that often work directly with retail customers by advising on the best product selection for each situation and ensuring that installation meets the specifications of the design.

“We’re part of the supply chain in marine construction,” explains Craig. In addition to owning the manufacturing company, Craig also runs his own marine contracting business. Craig’s experience on both ends of the industry grants him a unique perspective on how to satisfy the end-user with a product most appropriate to the application.

“Our target market is waterfront homeowners,” explains Craig. “We have high-end lines and budget lines. They’re different products, but they serve the same purpose: to get your boat out of the water when you’re done enjoying it for the day.”

A Lift to Meet Every Need

Each item in Hi-Tide’s product line is soundly engineered utilizing high-quality materials. “We test our lifts and every one of them is covered by warranty,” says Craig. Standard models of every lift are the mainstay of what gets assembled in the shop, but clients can choose to customize each product to suit their particular aesthetics, specific functionality or need for convenience. “Some of them have more bells and whistles, some have less,” he continues.

The company’s catalog highlights a range of products. The Little Spinner, a 1,500-pound capacity lift, was designed to accommodate personal watercrafts, such as Sea-Doos, jet skis and WaveRunners, which are so popular for family weekend fun. Hi-Tide also boasts the larger capacity Topless, which is specifically designed with a low profile to preserve homeowners’ waterfront views.

Materials and components also vary, from standard steel hoists to innovative, modern systems unique to Hi-Tide. The company holds a U.S. patent for one of the most crucial components of any cable lift: the Hi-Tide Gear Drive, which actually powers the boat out of the water. Hi-Tide’s Gear Drive guarantees longevity with its one-piece aluminum gear housing that resists corrosion and reveals no mechanical parts, keeping this key mechanism in a sealed aluminum box. As an added bonus to its extraordinary functionality, the Hi-Tide Gear Drive is quiet, clean, safe and fast.

According to Hi-Tide, what is highlighted in this feature is the way in which the company has, throughout its existence, continually designed a line of products that takes into account the desires of the common boater. “The products not only satisfy the critical eye of the contractor for their durability and excellent engineering, they also provide considered details for boaters and homeowners concerned with convenience, aesthetics and the safety of their families who see and depend upon the product daily,” explains Craig.

Products for lifting vessels in various environments are available as well, such as the Boat House Lift, with a hoist system specifically geared toward enclosed conditions. The neat, compact design is engineered to fit flexibly into an existing boathouse. The lifting system, comprised of aluminum structural materials with stainless steel cables, uses the framing of the boathouse roof in addition to the stability of side pilings that are standard in other four-post lifts.

In addition, Hi-Tide has recently introduced the Launch Pad Lift (LPL), a submersible displacement lift that fits well into sites where pilings can’t be installed. The LPL is ideal for lake areas, regions where freezing temperatures prevent structural on-water systems or any other applications where permanent attachment to the seabed is unfeasible or not permitted. By utilizing compressed air boats are raised out of the water by side-by-side tanks comprised of polyethylene floats that support the hull. The lift can be easily assembled, towed into place and anchored. Users simply open the lift’s valves and turn on the pump, allowing the LPL to inflate within three minutes, elevating the boat safely out of the water.

Each of the company’s products is available with add-on features, including steps and boarding platforms. Aesthetic alterations and additions are often worked out between the contractor and the customer, ensuring products can be customized at the time of installation to fit site conditions.

“Some dealers take our product and they’ll add a veneer or panels to customize it to fit in with the architecture of the site,” explains Craig. “When it comes to function, we’ll customize anything.”

Hi-Tide’s flexibility creates opportunities for the company and its dealers that are not available through manufacturers only dealing with a standard product line. Boats come in all shapes and sizes, and Hi-Tide provides solutions for a variety of budgets to store any recreational-sized boat out of the water safely with a long-lasting product. Having in-house engineers allows the team to work collaboratively to design custom products for any application when Hi-Tide does not currently have a stock solution. While the company has designed many lifts for 120,000-pound vessels, the previous record will be trumped by Hi-Tide’s upcoming project, which will accommodate 180,000 pounds.

Adaptability and Expansion

The company has grown significantly since its beginnings over 20 years ago. “Our lifts have been installed up and down the East Coast, along the Gulf in Florida, Louisiana and Texas,” explains Craig. “There are also some in the Midwest, in the lake regions in Texas and we’ve done quite a bit of business in the Caribbean. We’ll go anywhere to get the job done.”

With the economy slowly recovering, Craig states that Hi-Tide is experiencing growth. “The cost of our materials isn’t really tied specifically to the oil market,” he explains. “We use a lot of metal, which isn’t tied into oil like plastics. Our primary material is aluminum.” With improvements in the real estate market, more Americans are purchasing houses on the water and, in turn, boats. “As those markets improve we’re seeing an increase in demand,” says Craig. “Those changes create sales for us.”

Hi-Tide is extremely proud of its accessible customer support in addition to rigorous design and engineering. In an age of advancing technology and demand for instant online answers, many companies forget the remnant need for staff to be available to address concerns that cannot be queried on a company website. In a commitment to maintain both a connection to and satisfaction from its customers, Hi-Tide’s knowledgeable customer service staff is eager to answer questions about products, components, repair or warranties by phone or e-mail.

Affordability and dependability are keywords at Hi-Tide, as durable, custom solutions are the core of the business. “It doesn’t matter what kind of boat you have, we’ll get it out of the water for you,” says Craig. The team offers experience and attention to both detail and customers, qualities that have kept Hi-Tide Boat Lifts above water for two generations.

Published on: May 28, 2013

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