Cross-Deck PWC and Dinghy Loading Options

PWC Swim Deck Lift SystemOur Tilt-Up PWC Rails load your PWC "parallel" to the host boat. All the weight of the PWC is leveraged (cantilevered) out beyond the end of the swim platform. They are designed for relatively large houseboats (50 feet or longer) with welded-on swim platforms that can support that significant amount of down-force.

But if you have a cruiser or smaller houseboat, or your swim deck is bolted-on or molded fiberglass, it might not support that much cantilevered weight, and it will “squat” your boat down into the water quite a bit. Smaller boats won’t have enough flotation to support that much leveraged weight.

But we have a great solution!

Cross-Deck Lift Systems

If you own a fiberglass cruiser, or a smaller houseboat, or a boat with a bolted-on platform that is no more than 12 inches above the waterline, we provide three “Cross-Deck” models. They are designed to hold your PWC "perpendicular" to your boat on the back edge of your swim platform. If your swim platform can support the actual (unleveraged) weight of your PWC, our Cross-Deck systems can work for you. It may still cause the stern of your boat to squat down in the water, but that won't matter if you only want to have a great way of loading and storing your PWC when you aren't using your boat and saving the cost and hassle of trailering or storing it. When you are on the boat, you can unload your PWC so your boat levels out.

These lift systems were originally designed for inflatable dinghy's that weigh about 150 pounds with an engine. It is a VERY economical way to pull a dinghy up onto the cradle arms by hand compared to the hydraulic-lift systems that can cost over $30,000. We have beefed them up to handle up to 1,000 pounds which includes modern 3-seater PWC’s. However, they are easiest to use with lighter PWC's such as Seadoo Sparks at under 400 pounds, a dinghy, or a small tender boat. A 1,000 pound PWC will be a lot of weight on the back of a typical cruiser.

  • Simple Installation - No need for a professional installer
  • Load your PWC or Dingy by hand, or with an optional in-line hand winch
  • Easily unload your PWC or Dinghy whenever you need it.
  • Remove or pivot the lift arms out of the way so you have full access to your swim platform with nothing on which to stub your toes

Will a Cross-Deck Lift System work on my boat?

The key elements as to whether or not you can use our Cross-Deck models for a PWC boil down to three elements.

1) Height above the water - Is the top of your swim platform 12 inches (30 cm) or lower to the water? If 12, that is a significant lift…difficult to use our system because the davit arms barely reach low enough to engage the side of your PWC. It will work with 12 inches, but you have to do some lifting and manipulation to get your PWC engaged against the davit arms…then you can pull and winch it up the rest of the way normally. It is much easier to engage your hull to the davit arms if your swim platform is 6 to 9 inches above the water (15 to 23 cm). To be more specific, when in the loading orientation, the davit arms are angled downward about 45 degrees. The length of the arms from the pivot point to the end is 14.5 inches (36.83 cm), so the end of the arms are about 6 to 8 inches below the top of the deck. You need to be able to engage the side of your PWC hull into the davit arms, and then "drag" it up the sloping arms. Obviously, the lighter your PWC the easier that is.

2) Structural Strength - Is your swim platform strong enough structurally? Most are, especially for a 400 pound PWC like the Seadoo Spark. You can simulate the weight by getting a few people to stand on the back edge of your swim platform. While most boat manufacturers will say they built the swim platforms for people not machines, most of our customers have no problem with the structural strength. If you think that is marginal, you can review the discussion on We can’t make the strength determination for you, so you will want to make that evaluation.

3) Access to the underside - Do you have access to the underside of the swim platform so that you can screw the nuts onto the bolts? Some swim platforms are “shell construction” so they are hollow inside. If that describes your swim platform, you might be able to access the inside space from your engine room. Otherwise, you might need to get longer bolts that go through both layers of your swim platform, and seal the holes so no water can get in. Therefore, we don't officially recommend them for hollow swim platforms.

4) Weight - The 1,000 pound weight rating of the Top Mount and Under Mount listed below is the "structural rating". That means they can handle the weight of a modern 3-seater PWC. But that isn't the most important weight question for you to consider. Rather, the "practical" weight rating depends on how much weight you can drag (slide) up onto the davit arms. That issue is a combination of the weight of your PWC and the height of your deck above the water line. A Seadoo Spark weighs just under 400 pounds, and it works great on our lifts. If you have a 700 pound or heavier PWC, then the lower your swim platform is to the waterline, the better. Even with our helper winches, lifting a 900 pound PWC up onto your swim deck is not easy.

5) Squat Factor - In other words, how far down in the water will your PWC squat your boat? With our Top Mount and Under Mount Swing Away models, the PWC will be centered over the back edge of the swim platform. So you can simulate the squat-factor by getting some friends that weigh about the same as your PWC to stand on the back edge. It is likely that it will squat your boat quite a bit, and that can negatively affect your ability to cruise with your PWC on the back, and make cooking and sleeping difficult because of the angle. On the other hand, if you only want to store your PWC on your boat while away, then the angle doesn’t matter.

Taking those five elements into consideration, you can now decide whether or not the Cross Deck Lift will work on your boat. There is more about, "Which model will work best" below. Also, be sure to review the installation instructions before making a buying decision. We want you to be confident that our lifts will work on your boat.


Three Models of Cross Deck Lifts

We offer three models to match your needs: 1) Top-Mount, 2) Under-Mount Swing-Away, and 3) Extended Arm Model. We describe these in detail below. All three models include two pivoting cradle arms made of rugged marine board which will not harm your PWC or dinghy hull. They are mounted in heavy-duty machined aluminum pivot-brackets with stainless steel bolts and nuts. With a rope or strap clipped to each end of your PWC or dinghy, you pull it up onto the cradle arms which level out as your PWC or dinghy slides up and self-centers on the arms. One person can do this by hand with smaller and lighter PWC’s or dinghies. Heavier PWC’s will need a helper winch described below.

This YouTube video shows how one person can do it with a SeaDoo Spark which weighs less than 400 pounds. Obviously, it is even easier with 2 people. He has added a hand-crank winch to pull up the rear. We now recommend an even better inline winch-assist described below. He is demonstrating the Under-Mount Fold-Away model, but the loading process is the same for all three models..

June Discount Pricing

Top Mount - Rated for 1,000* pounds: $1195 - $295 in June = $900

Under-Mount Swing-Away - Rated for 1000* pounds: $1995 - $395 in June = $1600

Extended Arm - Rated for 450* pounds: $1495 - $295 in June = $1200


Top Mount - Rated for 1,000 pounds - $900 in June

The “Top-Mount Model ” connects to Weaver brackets (included) that you permanently bolt to the top-rear edge of your swim deck. When not in use, the marine board cradle arms tilt vertically, so most of your deck is clear and usable. Or, by pulling a pin on the brackets, you can easily remove the arms and stow them onboard, or dangle them in the water from a tethered line. The Weaver bracket plates remain, but are almost flush with the deck nothing on which to stub your toes. See the Click to Enlarge photo below.

PWC Swim Deck Lift System


Under-Mount Swing-Away - Rated for 1000 pounds - $1600 in June

The “Under-Mount Model ” is shown in the video and in the next photos. Its advantage is that the support mechanism and cradle arms can be rotated completely out of the way when not being used so you have the full use of your smooth swim deck...nothing to stub your toes on...nothing on the top of your deck except the smooth bolt heads. Of course, you cannot drive your boat while the arms are down in the water. They are pivoted under the deck when you are at anchor, floating, beached, or otherwise not driving your boat. The Under-Mount installation is a little more involved than the Top-Mount model. See the installation links below.

Under-Mount Model Requirements: The maximum thickness of your deck can not be more than 6 inches and cannot be hollow shell-construction.


Extended Arms - Rated for 450 pounds (mostly used for light-weight PWC's or dinghies): $1200 in June

The "Extended Arm Model" is designed for boats with short swim platforms that can't accommodate a PWC or wide dinghy. The stainless steel extenders add 16 inches of length from the edge of your swim deck to the center of the cradle arms. The kit includes four 10-inch stainless steel carriage bolts (1/2" diameter) with washers and nuts, and eight 1-inch spacers. Most swim platforms will only need one or two spacers..




Which model is best for my boat?

There are several considerations that go into deciding which model is best suited for your application. These considerations have to do with both your main boat, and your loaded boat.

  • The Extended Arm model is rated for 450 pounds, so you can’t use it if your PWC or Dinghy is heavier. Seadoo Sparks are about 400 pounds which is the lightest 3-seater PWC. As such, they are a very popular choice to put on swim decks.
  • The Top Mount and Under Mount models position the davit arms on the back edge of your swim platform.* So approximately half of your PWC or Dingy is over the platform and the other half is over the water. If the front-to-back depth of your swim platform is not at least half the width of your PWC or Dingy, then you need the Extended Arm model. *The Under Mount positions the davit arms just a little beyond the back edge of your swim platform, so they provide a little more room for your PWC or Dingy.
  • The Top Mount can handle more weight because the entire load is “down” onto the platform while the Under Mount load is “pulling” from underneath. Your platform structure needs to be stronger to handle the added stress of the Under Mount. Said the other way, the platform doesn’t need to be as beefy to use the Top Mount.
    Both the Top Mount and Under Mount can be removed or lowered by pulling a pin. But with the Top Mount, you would dangle the davit arms in the water. With the Under Mount, they stay connected and swing down, so it is easier to lower and raise back up than the Top Mount.
  • When lowered, the only thing above the deck with the Under Mount are the round bolt heads. With the Top Mount, the weaver brackets remain on the top. They are fairly flush so not likely to be a toe-stubber, but quite a bit more than the round bolt heads.
  • The Top Mount are the easiest to install, but that is probably a minor consideration compared to the other elements described in this list. All three models require measuring, drilling, and using bolts, washers, and nuts…all supplied. For installation questions, please take a look at the installation instructions and videos here.
  • Finally, the price might be a consideration for you. The Top Mount are the least expensive at $900, the Extended Arms are $1200, and the Under Mount units are $1600. The davit arms are the same, but the materials and mechanisms are quite different. As such, the more expensive models also cost a little more to ship since they are quite a bit heavier than the Top Mount model.

Given those benefits and limitations, if affordable, the Under Mount are the most desired models. If on more of a budget, or lifting a heavy PWC, then the Top Mount may be the better option.


Winch Assistance Loading PWC’s

Dinghies can usually be pulled up by hand. The video shows us loading a Seadoo Spark which weighs less than 400 pounds. It can be loaded by hand by one person, but easier with two people or a little winch assistance. The video shows us using a crank winch that is mounted on a piece of aluminum that connects to a cleat. Since that video was made, we have found a much easier and less expensive option. Click here or on the picture of the helper winch for more details. It is rated at 900 pounds, so will easily raise a PWC.

The normal cost of these Helper Winches is $54.95. But if you order 1 or 2 with your Cross-Deck Lift System in June, we will include them for only $39.95, a $15 savings.


Installation Instructions

Click here to see the installation videos for all three models

All three models can be mounted without removing your boat from the water, altough it is MUCH easier if your boat is on a trailer. You have to be able to access the underside of your swim platform to attach the washers and nuts. You can access unibody swim platforms from inside your hull. If you are comfortable with a hand-drill and hand tools, you can install them yourself. If not, one of your boating friends can probably help, or one of the marina employees would be glad to do it after-hours for a few dollars. We do not include or arrange installation.

Ordering and Contact

If you have questions, or when you are ready to place your order, please contact me and let me know the following. It would be helpful if you copy and paste these items into an email to, and embed your answers. Be sure to authorize so our reply doesn't get blocked in your spam filter.

  1. Your shipping address and whether it is residentially-zoned or commercially-zoned…the latter being preferred if possible.
  2. Your best telephone contact number
  3. Which model you want to purchase….the Top-Mount for $900*, the Extended Arm Model for $1200*, or the Under-Mount for $1600*? (*June pricing)
  4. Do you want one or two of the Hand Helper Winches. As noted above, these are only $39.95 each if ordered in June, with one of the lift systems.
  5. How would you like to pay for it? We can invoice you and you can pay by check (preferred). Or you can use a Visa, Mastercard, Discover, or PayPal for an additional 5%, but we would prefer not to add that to your total.
  6. Any other questions?

I will reply with the shipping cost and order form for you to sign and fax or email back along with the payment details.

If you have any other questions about the Cross-Deck Lift Systems, please don’t hesitate to ask. You can call me directly at 937-476-1298 (Eastern USA), or send an email to


Links to Straight-In Tilt-Up PWC Rails for Houseboats

Click here to see more pictures of our Tilt-Up Rails

Click here to see Fabrication and Welding Details

Click here to see Installation Instructions

Click here to read the FAQ's

Click here to see Loading and Unloading Instructions

Click here to see Prices and Ordering

Click here to review the Upgrade Options

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