How the BoatLift Mat was Born
I’d gotten a lot of calls and emails over the past couple years, asking: “Can a MuckMat hold up my boat lift in muck?” My answer was a wimpy, “Well, sort of.”
There were issues. First, a MuckMat is only slightly wider than the bases (or footplates) on a boat lift. So most of the weight would set near the very outside edge of the MuckMat. It could work, kinda, but it wasn’t ideal.
Another issue was there was nothing rigid around the outside edge of the MuckMat. This doesn’t matter if you’re only holding up people, but when you’ve got 6,000 pounds of lift and boat putting constant pressure on it…well, it’s just not good.
I got calls from boat lift installers. They said if I ever came up with something that could hold boats and lifts up, they wanted it. Apparently, installing and removing boat lifts in lakes with mucky bottoms has been a big problem.
Then a guy called because his MuckMat didn’t work, (the only one ever) so I went to see his lake bottom, which was more like a bowl of watery chili than muck. I’ve never seen anything worse… quite dangerous really.
I began looking for something that would work and came up with ideas that ranged from just okay to really stupid. But in 2011, I found a new material that came from a company that makes fabric for space satellites; very amazing stuff and just crazy expensive…
So I got some of this material and dragged it into a lake over some horrible muck and then I walked on it. It worked! It worked just as well as a MuckMat and it was three feet wider, so it would work for lifts. Question was, would it hold up a boat and lift?
That same week I got a call from a guy who had bought a boat lift, but the dealer wouldn’t install it because his lake bottom was too mucky. His timing was perfect. “Here, try this,” I said. “It should work.”
I’d already talked with soil engineers, we’d done the math, it worked on paper, but no one had ever used it in a lake for boats and lifts. So this guy put in the first prototype Boatlift-Mat. And…IT WORKED, just like we thought it would!
He was ecstatic. “This thing is the sh*t!” he said. His only suggestion was, it might help if it had a frame. Wallowing around in four feet of muck, trying to get the thing squared up and staked in was a bit of a challenge. A frame would make it easy to slide the Boatlift Mat into the water. It was also the answer to the “bowl of chili” lake bottom.
I worked on a frame, and had several versions I didn’t like. Then we found a clever metal fabricator (he had a MuckMat himself and loved it) who came up with a clever, frame system. This was excellent, except the super space fabric couldn’t be sewn very well, so I used zip ties to attach the fabric to the frame. It worked great, but looked awful…really awful.
Fortunately, I found another new material that could be sewn and wasn’t quite as stupid expensive as the space stuff. We sewed some up, slid the frames in and put them in the water… SUCCESS! The Boatlift-Mat was born!
The Boatlift-Mat will hold your boat lift and boat up. Yes, you can leave it in over the winter. And yes, we guarantee it will work or your money back!