How the Boatlift Mat Was Born

I’d gotten calls and emails for years, asking, “Can a MuckMat hold up my boat lift in muck?” My answer was a wimpy, “Well, sort of.”

There were issues. A MuckMat is only slightly wider than the bases on a boat lift. Most of the weight would set near the outside edge of the MuckMat. It could work — but it wasn’t ideal.

Another issue — 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 on it — it’s another story.

Installing boat lifts in muck is a big problem.

I got calls from installers. They said if I came up with something that could hold boats and lifts, they wanted it. Installing and removing boat lifts in lakes with mucky lake bottoms is a big problem.

Around this same time, a guy called because his MuckMat didn’t work, (the only one ever) so I went to see his lake bottom — it was more like a bowl of weak chili than muck. I’d never seen anything worse.

I looked for something that would work for him and came up with ideas that ranged from just okay to really stupid. But in 2011, I found a material from a company that makes fabric for space satellites — amazing stuff and crazy expensive.

So I got some of this space fabric, dragged it into a lake with horrible muck and walked on it. It worked as well as a MuckMat and it was three feet wider, so it would work for lifts. But would it hold up a boat and lift?

“Try this,” I said. “It should work.”

That same week I got a call from a guy who had just bought a boat lift, but the dealer wouldn’t install it — his lake bottom was too mucky. His timing was perfect. “Try this,” I said. “It should work.”

I’d already consulted 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 needed a frame. Wallowing in four feet of muck, trying to get it square and staked in was a challenge. A frame would make it easy to slide the Boatlift Mat into the water.

Boatlift Mat holds your lift and boat above the muck

I worked on a frame — had several versions I didn’t like. Then a metal fabricator (who had a MuckMat himself) came up with a clever frame system. This was excellent, except the fancy space fabric couldn’t be sewn. So I used zip ties to attach the fabric. It worked great, but looked awful — really awful.

Fortunately, I found another new material that could be sewn and wasn’t quite as expensive as the space stuff. We sewed some, slid the frames in and put them in the water… SUCCESS! The Boatlift Mat was born!

(And it turns out —A frame was also the answer to the “bowl of weak chili” lake bottom muck problem that the first guy had called about — we now use this frame on all our products).

The Boatlift Mat will hold up your lift and boat. Yes, you leave it in over the winter. And yes, we guarantee it really works!


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