We were asked to design and create a platform lift on a speedboat for one of their clients. Their client is a wheelchair user and needed a way they could easily board and disembark the tender to reach both the marina or their motor-yacht. The tender was originally converted from an amphibious vehicle and the only available space for the lift was to the rear of the boat.
The main challenges facing us on this project were that all the materials would have to be resistant to the marine environment, getting a suitable power supply to operate the lift, how could the lift be used safely on the water and making the boat “invisible” so guests wouldn’t be able to see it before and after use.
To combat the salt water and its life at sea, the lift was made out of 316 marine grade stainless steel, unlike conventional stainless steel which can rust when it comes into contact with salt water, 316 stainless steel doesn’t corrode so can handle the sea environment. All stainless steel parts are then treated with different chemicals and highly polished to remove any free iron particles that could be present on the surface. If left untreated these small specs of ferrous materials would eventually rust and bleed over the stainless steel.
In order to operate the lift we were able to match the boat’s current power supply of 24V DC so that no external batteries would have to be used and charged. This saves on overall weight of the lift and of course makes the system less bulky and easier to disguise within the boat itself.
As you can imagine, to use a lift whilst at sea can be difficult with the constant swell changing the position of the boat and the lift compared with the marina or quayside. We installed retractable 316 marine grade stainless steel handrails that are clicked into place when the lift is to be operated. This allows crew, users and guests to safely embark and disembark the boat, without these there is a risk of falling into the marina. In addition all the lift controls were operated by handheld radio controls, this allowed the crew and client to use the lift remotely, as well as being able to float so they would be able to be retrieved if they were dropped in the sea.
To tackle the issue of blending the lift into the boat, we decided the lift should be designed to sit under the decking when not in use. The system completely collapses into the surrounding decking and is finished with the same teak used on the rest of the boat and so it is completely disguised.
Working in partnership with the boat builders we completed the installation in the South of France in 10 days. The lift has made it easier for the crew, client and guests to moor straight onto the marina and quayside rather than tackling the difficult task of pontoons.
Year Completed: 2017