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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 aluminum-hull 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 just don’t have enough floatation to support that much leveraged weight.

But we have a great solution!

Cross-Deck Lift System

If you own a fiberglass boat, or a smaller houseboat, or a boat with a bolted-on platform, we provide two “Cross-Deck” models. They are designed to hold your PWC "perpendicular" to your host boat on the back edge of your swim platform. If your swim platform can support the actual (unleveraged) weight of your PWC, one of these options 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.

Referred to as dinghy davits or dinghy lifts, these lift systems were originally designed for inflatable dinghies that might weigh 150 pounds with an engine. It is a VERY economical way to pull a dinghy up onto the cradle 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.

There are two models: A Top-Mount and an Under-Mount which are described in detail on this page. They include two pivoting cradle arms made of rugged marine board which will not harm your PWC or dinghy hull. They are hinged 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, you pull it up onto the cradle arms which level out as your PWC 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 are discussed further down this page.

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 have found an even better winch-assist described below. He is demonstrating the Under-Mount model.

Top Mount ($900) or Under-Mount ($1600)?

Both models use the same marine board cradle arms, and they both hold your PWC in the same position with the keel of your PWC over the rear edge of your swim platform. Both are made with heavy duty machined aluminum and stainless steel bolts. The Top-Mount model works for all PWC's, including modern 3-seaters that weight up to 1,000 pounds. The Under-Mount model works great for PWC's up to about 700 pounds

The “Top-Mount Model ” connects to Weaver brackets that are permanently bolted 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 bracket, you can easily remove the arms and stow them onboard, or dangle them in the water. 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.

The Top-Mount Model costs $900 plus shipping (20 pounds)

PWC Swim Deck Lift System

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. This is only done when you are at anchor, floating, beached, or otherwise not driving your boat. The Under-Mount installation is more involved than the Top-Mount model.

The Under-Mount System costs $1600 plus shipping (40 pounds).


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 ratchet winch for more details. It is rated at 900 pounds, so will easily raise up a smallish PWC.

Click here to go directly to the Harbor Freight ratchet winch. Let us know if this link is broken. They change them from time to time.

Heavier PWC's

Modern 3-seaters can weigh up to 1,000 pounds. If you can’t pull your PWC up by hand or using the ratchet winch, you will need to add some additional mechanical advantage. This can done for less than $30 with a come-along hand winch, or for about $150 for a 12-volt winch. (These links will open in a separate browser window. Let us know if the link is not working.)

  • A come-along puller is rated at 2,000 pounds, so quite a bit stronger than the 900 pound ratchet winch.
  • A modest marine grade 12-volt push-button winch for loading heavier PWC’s such as we use for our Tilt-Up Rail Systems. Our 12-volt marine-grade winches normally cost $320 but we are discounting them if ordered in January for $150. The synthetic rope is an additional $25, but well worth it compared to the standard steel cable which is very hard to handle.

This photo shows a hand-crank winch (circled) that one of our customers mounted to a pipe that slips in and out of a fishing pole receiver on the floor.

PWC Swim Deck Lift System

While the above example is on a pole that the customer made, there are several options that don't require a permanent attachment. Again, this is only necessary for heavier PWC's. There are far too many boat styles and shapes for us to make a mounting kit that would fit all of them. But we will gladly help you figure out the best way to connect a mechanical aid for pulling up your PWC. Most customers want to use a method that can easily be removed and stowed out of the way. The illustration below shows a way you can connect a variety of leverage devices without needing to mount anything permanently. It helps if the winch or come-along is as high as possible so it is pulling your PWC "up" rather than just dragging it against the cradle arms. So if you use a method like this, you might want to place something under the winch to raise it up. This can be a pole, an ice chest, a tool box, or anything that raises it a few inches. Or, you could run a tight line between the rear cleats that would be across the rear of your boat, just in front of your swim deck, and connect the puller to it. You are only pulling your PWC about 2 feet to get it up onto the cradles, so you don't need a lot of room.

If you want to use a 12-volt winch, you don't need to permanently run wiring to your battery. You can connect it to your battery with jumper-cable clamps, or use a small rechargeable jumper box so you don’t even have to access your engine battery.

You are responsible for devising a way to connect leverage pullers or winches to your boat. We will gladly consult with you, but we don't have kits for this because the significant variety of shapes and designs of boats and swim decks.

If you are concerned about your swim deck's strength and ability to support your PWC, click here to see a simple way to strengthen it.

Installation Instructions

Click here to see the installation instructions. Both models can be mounted without removing your boat from the water. 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.


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 pasted these items into an email to, and embed your answers.

  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 or the Under-Mount for $1600?
  4. Do you want to purchase one of our 2500 pound marine-grade Falcon 12-volt winches and synthetic rope? The winches are normally $320, but we have them on special if purchased in January for $150. The synthetic rope is an additional $25.
  5. Do you want one of the Helper Winches. Two? As noted above, these are available form Harbor Freight stores.
  6. 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 3%, but we would prefer not to add that to your total.

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

If you have any other questions about our PWC Rails or the Cross-Deck Systems, please don’t hesitate to ask. You can call me directly at 937-985-5863 (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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