This is the kayak lift we installed in our garage out of parts from the hardware store. The kayak on the left of this photo is 12′ in length and the one on the right is 14′. Our vehicles park underneath of the lift and boats (when the garage is cleaner than this) without any issues.
Installation and operation of the lift is pretty easy.
The lift is made up of the following parts:
- Ceiling Pulley – Qty 2
- Clothesline Pulley – Qty 2
- Carabiners – Qty 2
The lift is essentially made up of two triangles.
The triangles are made up of a hook, a clothesline pulley/carabiner, and a ceiling pulley. The carabiner dangles down to attach to the boat and when a rope is snaked through it all, it forms the triangle shape.
I learned that the two ceiling pulleys should be installed on the ceiling about a foot or so less than the length of your kayak. So, for example, if your kayak is 14′ long, install the pulleys ~12-13′ apart (make sure you screw them into a ceiling rafter). Don’t go less than 2 feet shorter than the kayak or it won’t work well. The hook spread is no big deal – You want the clothesline pulley to be able to come all the way up to the ceiling between the ceiling pulley and hook, so give it a foot or so between the two – But it’s not specific.
The rope is tied off on one end of the lift (what I call the front end) – See photo on the left.
The carabiner hangs down between the knot and the ceiling pulley and will attach to one end of your kayak.
On the opposite end (the rear end), the rope will exit the ceiling pulley and hang free. This side will also have a triangle shape with the carabiner dangling down to clip onto the opposite end of the kayak.
The only keys to making sure this works properly are you need to install the ceiling pulleys and hooks into a rafter – So make sure you screw into wood and not just the wallboard or paneling. All of the hardware is more than strong enough to hold a 50-60 pound kayak.
After installing the hardware, lifting the boat is actually pretty easy:
Securing the boat once lifted – This is where you need to make a decision:
I basically attach my rope to the whole lift system itself to keep the kayaks in the air. This works, but I usually have to get on a step ladder to do this (for both lifting and lowering). I’d really suggest trying to tie off on a wall mounted hook if you can do it – I just lacked a good location to do it and stay out of the way of our bikes, ladders, etc that are all over our garage.
If you must tie off to the lift itself, like me, I did it by tying an S hook into the rope at a location that keeps the whole rig in the air. It was trial and error to get the distance correct, but I eventually got there. One negative of this approach is that the carabiners no longer reach the entire way to the floor so I do have to lift half my kayak up off the floor when attaching/removing it. Not a big deal, but a deal.
Hope this works well for you.