Kayak Lift

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
  • Rope
  • Hooks

A hook is screwed into the rafter so the rope can be knotted on the garage side (right side in this photo). The clothesline pulleys with carabiners hang down between the ceiling pulley and the hooks.


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 front triangle (rope is knotted on the left of this photo).

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.




Rear triangle with rope hanging free on the far right.




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:


Pull carabiner down to the kayak.


Attach carabiner to the kayak (front and rear).









Begin pulling on free end of the rope and the kayak will rise.


Securing the boat once lifted – This is where you need to make a decision:


Once fully lifted, I secure my free end of the rope (pictured here) to the knotted end of the boat (picture on right side). I do this because I didn’t have space on my wall to tie off my rope – I actually suggest tying off to a hook on the wall somewhere if it is possible.


This is the knotted end of the boat. It may be hard to see with the garage opener in the background, but there is a hook attached to the rope (just above the word Craftsman) that keeps the kayak hanging in the air.









Photo of one kayak hung and other on it’s way to being hung.


Another view of how I tie off my boats – Basically a hook that attaches the rope to itself.


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.


Kayak’s lifted – And a BIG BONUS is that if you can lower one onto a car and drive out of the garage with it attached, this setup can allow you even less lifting and struggling.


Hope this works well for you.


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