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Manistee Municipal Marina Lift

on the Manistee River in Downtown Manistee

Project Status: Completed

Most of the Explore the Shores sites focus on access to beaches and riverfronts, but the Manistee Marina lift takes access far beyond — out to the middle of Lake Michigan where the only thing to see is the blue of sky and water. Deep-water angling draws thousands of tourists to the waters of Lake Michigan each year and this chair lift allows wheelchair-bound anglers to get out on the big lake and enjoy some of the world’s best sport fishing. 

 Through grant funding from W. K. Kellogg Foundation’s Access to Recreation Program, a chair lift was installed at the marina that provides people wheelchair users with access to fishing and other boats in a way that maintains their dignity. It consists of two pieces of equipment, one that lifts people and the other that lifts heavy equipment such as motorized wheelchairs. For people who have been unable to get in and out of boats because of their physical disabilities, access to the open waters of Lake Michigan has been an emotional experience. 

Some of the first people to try the lift were members of the Manistee chapter of the National Association of Physically Handicapped who have spent years living in close proximity to the lake without being able to access it. In recent years, Manistee has also played host to veterans from across the state who gather for the annual Tight Lines for Troops fishing tournament. A number of these men and women have disabilities and use wheelchairs so the lift has given them the opportunity to participate along with their peers.

Site Amenities/Features:

  • Hours of operation are 6am to 10pm, however arrangement can be made to use the lift earlier in the morning
  • The lift is  available to any and all boaters, free of charge
  • Arrangements can be made with charter boat captains, who are often willing to pick disabled passengers up at the lift
  • The lift can accommodate a chair that weight up to 1,000 pounds and an individual that weights up to 400 pounds.
  • More information is available by calling the Manistee Municipal Marina at (231) 723-1522
Universal Access:
  • Universally accessible person lift - loads people with disabilities into water craft
  • Heavy Equipment lift - loads wheelchairs into water craft

Map/Location to the Marina Lift
Location: On U.S. 31, turn west on River Street, continue approx. 1 mile to the Manistee Municipal Marina on your right.