Customizable Specs Are Key To Purchasing A Boat Forklift

February 1st, 2019 -

Trends and perception of boat storage in marinas are shifting. Not long ago, the go-to storage method in marinas and boat yards was slip storage, where occupants were paying for on water storage year round even when their boats weren’t in use. For marina owners and operators, this was a practical and economical option as dry storage racking for boats and the facilities to house that racking became associated with heavy costs.

But in its annual survey of marina dock owners and operators in 2017, Marina Dock Age found that 45.8% of operations reported an increase in revenue from dry boat storage and another 46.7% had similar revenue compared to 2016. That revenue trend is seeing an increasing demand for dry storage, a trend that’s indicative of a changing perception about acceptable ways to store boats when not in use. Dry storage gets boats out of harsh weather environments like the cold and the sun (that can cause fading) when not in use. And new facility upgrades are being reported as better at withstanding hurricane-like conditions.

The trend toward dry boat storage comes with material handling complications unique to the industry. With the increased handling of boats to move them in and out of water, the need for expanded storage space to respond to increasing demand, and the challenge of staying technologically advanced, dry storage material handling requires the right facilities and tools to provide the best overall value to your customers. Using a marina forklift for your needs is a valuable option for handling boats in your dry storage facility. These are just some of the considerations to take into account when selecting equipment to assist you in dry boat storage applications.

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Moving boats around in a marina can be tricky business. You have to lift boats in and out of water, move the boats across land, and lift the boats up into storage areas. Enter the marina forklift, sometimes called a boat forklift. These specialized forklifts aren’t like any other forklift out there. Not only can they lift loads up, they can also lower loads below the mast. Because marinas are such a special application, there are three features to keep in mind when you consider purchasing a boat forklift: positive and negative lift, the ability to customize the forklift, and the available technology options you can utilize during forklift operation. Each of these requires that you keep in mind your specific lifting environment.

1. Ability to Customize a Boat Forklift

Boats come in all different shapes and size and so do marina forklifts. When considering which forklift is best suited for your marina, keep in mind the ability to customize the forklift to meet your needs. Be sure that the forklift is capable of being configured to handle the largest boat in the marina. That means lifting it in and out of the water as well as lifting it in and out of storage. The lift capacity, lift height, negative lift, and load center all influence what will meet your needs in the marina. Explore the options you have for masts and fork lengths as well, as your marina forklift can be built to your specifications. In fact, with every Toyota High-Capacity Marina Forklift purchase, your dealer will conduct a site survey to make sure the forklift fits your boat lifting needs precisely.

2. Customizing a Boat Forklift: Keep Negative AND Positive Lift in Mind

When you think of forklifts, you probably imagine seeing the machine lifting loads in and out of racking. This type of lift is called positive lift, when the forklift is lifting a load above ground level. When it comes to marina forklifts, these machines have the unique ability to lift below ground level, called negative lift. Negative lift allows the marina forklift to lift a boat out of the water. However, marina forklifts also have positive lift, allowing the machine to lift the boat from ground level and up into a storage unit. If you need to lift the boat a certain height up or need a certain negative lift, keep this in mind when you being to shop for your marina forklift.

3. Customizing a Boat Forklift: Available Technology Options

Technology is rapidly evolving. Why not use it to your advantage in your marina? Touch screen displays, cameras, and wireless remote controlling are just some of the technologies you can and should take advantage of when you are considering a new marina forklift. Boat forklifts are massive. You should utilize a backup camera when operating. Or when lifting boats in and out of water, you should have a wireless remote controlling feature that allows you to step out of the forklift to get a better vantage point. Both of these are available on the Toyota High-Capacity Marina Forklift. And if additional cameras for increased visibility are needed, Toyota’s engineers can work to make sure you have them. These are all features you should keep in mind when purchasing a marina forklift.

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We thought outside the box so that you could work outside of your forklift. With our optional wireless remote control feature, situations requiring precise control can be handled safely and efficiently. Forklift functions such as drive, lift/lower, tilt, and fork manipulation can be controlled directly through the remote, allowing for expert control from the appropriate vantage point.

Designed with ergonomics in mind, these controls include a waist strap to reduce operator fatigue, allowing for optimal focus on the task at hand. Rechargeable batteries for the remote can also be charged directly on the forklift, helping to ensure longer run-time and less downtime for charging.

Boats are heavy and present unique challenges when moving them on land. But, Toyota Forklifts has marinas and boat manufacturers covered with the High-Capacity Marina Forklift. The Marina Forklift is built to your unique needs, so you’ll get the right piece of equipment for your application, whether you need a forklift for a boat storage facility, at the dock, or boat manufacturing and assembly plants. Each comes standard with negative-lift functionality that lifts and lowers your boats into and out of the water.


The Toyota High-Capacity line is synonymous with strength and durability, and the High-Capacity Marina Forklift is no exception. A 100% welded steel chassis with steel cross supports is built to take on the toughest challenges at your boatyard or marina. And our AxleTech planetary drive axle with force-cooled wet disc brakes is designed for maximum durability in high-capacity applications. Even the paint is tough. A three-step paint process provides maximum corrosion protection perfectly suited for wet marina applications.


Advanced ergonomics and intuitive design keep you comfortable and productive throughout your entire shift. Your maiden voyage in the High-Capacity Marina Forklift begins with a premium air-ride seat, a two-stage wife-view mast, and a low-profile counterweight for superior visibility. You’ll also be equipped with electronic joystick controls engineered with optimal placement and ease of use for smooth operation. These are just a few of the creature comforts that come standard when you embark with the High-Capacity-Marina Forklift.


We know you’re handling precious cargo. That’s why Toyota’s High-Capacity Marina Forklifts come standard with what you’ll need to ensure superior performance and reliability. A high-performance 6.7L Cummins diesel engine delivers exceptional power and efficiency while also meeting today’s stringent emissions regulations. The standard Dana 32000 powershift transmission with declutch pedal and built-in Intelli-shift function provides smooth control while limiting premature wear on the drivetrain. This powerful combination ensures you’re set for maximum heavy-duty productivity with minimal downtime.


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Making a forklift that can work for you is what Toyota does every day. Building a forklift that works with you is another story – your story. Toyota’s MD4 touch-screen, multi-function display puts the latest technological advancements right at your fingertips to help you get your job done.

With the MD4 display’s built-in estimated rack height calculator, you’ll have quick access to your forklift’s lifting capabilities, based on both boat size and drive style. Need a customized pre-operational checklist? Upon request, the MD4 display can come pre-programmed to fit your specific needs. User-access control is also available through a pin code entry system which limits use of the forklift to designated operators, reducing the likelihood of use by unauthorized personnel.

Hydraulic schematics, wiring diagrams, and fuse/relay diagnostics are available directly through the MD4 display, making diagnosing technical issues easier than ever before. That’s important because every minute of downtime experienced by your marina forklift translates to lost productivity and revenue.


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