Most Common Boat Lift Problems You Might Face
It can be difficult to find and use the right boat lifting equipment. An appropriate boatlift will protect your investment over time and minimize maintenance and replacement expenses. Learn about the benefits of using the boat lift and the necessary information to purchase one. Also, learn about the most common boat lift problems you might face and how to overcome them.
As autumn approaches, many owners will begin looking at how well their boat lifts work. Keeping a clean eye on boat lift repairs before winter hits will keep the equipment safe from damage.
What Is a Boat Lift?
A boat lift is a system that helps lift a boat. When boats are lowered the vessel remains suspended over the seafloor. While traditional boats are powered by a hydraulic motor that is used for raising the boat, many of these boats are motorized to reduce the workforce. Modern boatlifts can lift boats as simply as releasing a button.
You may have seen or used a boat lift before. When boat lifting was introduced, it took several persons to operate these devices. Initially lifts used davits to lift boats from the water. The process is hard and expensive.
How to Use a Boat Lift?
The lifting of the boat lift is regarded as a machine and therefore safety measures should be taken. How should you set your boat up for the lift? Although different lift systems operate differently, these steps are essential.
How Long Will a Boat Lift Last?
Your boats are a huge investment and you probably want to have the same ones in the future considering how expensive they can be. Your lift system should be as reliable as your vessel. Depending upon the quality of your boat’s lift, it can last at least 25 years. A boat lift can last a lifetime if the boat is properly installed.
Here are a few areas that need extra attention:
Warnings About Weight
A good quality lifter will hold your boat and all the items it can hold. Professional docking and repairing companies can provide you with a selection of the best sizes of lift boats depending on hull conditions and prevailing shorelines and sea conditions. A 20 ft vessel can weigh 4-8,500 pounds. It includes water, fuel, and electricity.
Do not let any person enter the boat or exit it while the lifting mechanism is in motion. Take the drain plug off the back of your vessel. Rainwater isn’t able to collect and adds extra weight (about 8 lbs/gal). Keep this one handy when we return to work.
Lift Cables and Pulleys
Replace cables containing rust, cracked cords, or cracks. Grease the levers if needed. Always ensure bolt nuts are tight. Boat lift cable backlash so make sure your winch drum is turning to prevent any slip, misadjustment, or uneven wear.
Don’t let a lift cable get too tight. Slacklines damage the system. It feels like a retaliatory attack on the fisherman’s pole, just backed up by rigid steel. This may prove difficult to solve. Avoid using a screwdriver to open the cable with a hammer. Your injuries will most likely cause serious damage.
Motors, Gearboxes, and Drive Units
Make sure all the holes in the driveline are closed. The bottom holes have to have been opened for adequate drainage. Check the drive system periodically. Check for the correct position and damaged cable. The motors and gearboxes of a boat can wear off if they are not being used. If you have your boat out of the water then it is advised to go and start your boat for a few minutes and turn it off. This keeps the engine of the boat in working condition and also keeps all the parts inside it lubricated.
Make sure all the floors underneath the carpet are free of scratches or rust and check for damage. Lifts must stay away from the water while not being used. Better yet have an aluminum/vinyl set, so they won’t need to be replaced again. Keep your screws tight, and make sure your bunk matches your hull properly.
Signs of Lift Damage
When flooding or storms have melted down, remove everything from your dock and lift. Find bent beams, broken wheels, and bent bunks on your lift. See if the bolt is bent or cracked or if it has smashed. Check the cables and their connections if you find any cracks. You must stop using the elevator until it is repaired or changed.
If you have shifted boat heights during the storm, adjust them so that you can fit them into docks. In high wave conditions, make sure the yacht stays in the correct place. Consult your installer manual for details about adjustment. Even if everything seems perfect, take your lift and test it out.
Uneven wear may reduce cable life, so pay close attention to cable alignment. Ensure sheave alignment as part of an inspection. Keep an eye on the Winders drum & spool. If there is a backlash on cables or the tiniest of cables in your boat, this is the problem. Install it instantly from the wire. Make sure your hand is protected while you are using the cable.
Boat docks can sustain flooding damage. During docking, make sure that the time is kept fast. Lift your boat from the water levels as much as you can. Rust is easily broken down and washed away. Never put a plastic bag over a winch or any motor during cold months. Condensate is created inside and causes severe damage.
Cables are generally manufactured from stainless steel and require maintenance. Use regular application of penetrant oils and fluid for cables. Avoid putting grease in cables. Grease holds moisture within cables.
What to Consider When Replacing a Boat Lift?
Several types of boat lifts may suit a particular boat type and water environment. The optimal boat lift will be determined by several different things. Although boat lift repair is an option many people avail for the entire boat lift but if you want a boat lifting system that can be used with ease, consider these considerations when selecting one.
The floating tanks help to maintain stability in deep water. A boat lift can be placed underneath tanks to support them. If your boat lifting configuration needs a floatation tank, consider what material is being constructed with. The metal tank must not be used because deterioration can be inevitable and the replacement must be performed quickly.
Location and Structural Strength
The rough water location in your shoreside home may eventually lead to wear and tear in lifting equipment and requires a heavier lifting system. In situations where water moves rapidly, waves crash, or the water is usually harder look at boat lifts that are stronger and more rigid. Stronger arms, mechanism bolts, and bushings provide greater stability and protection in rough waters.
Boat slips are like parking spaces cut in a dock to accommodate boats. These are commonly used at marinas and on boats with multiple sides because their docks run around them, providing additional protection and helping to avoid bumps. If your boat is in slips you must make sure the boat lift you buy fits the current slip width. Selecting lifts of the appropriate slip depth saves you time and effort. It helps keep the lift in optimum condition for first use.
Many boat owners without lifts keep their vessels locked up on their docks. With no support for a boat lift in storage, rocky waters, and fluctuation in tides could force the boat back into the ship’s dock. Your boat or dock will not survive serious damage if the boat knocks around. Flood and storm debris can also cause scratches and scuffs. With a lifting system, boats can be secured above the water and prevented from falling over. During prolonged water storage your boats are susceptible to corrosion and algae buildup. Depending on the depth of water the boat has, you may face barnacles, mussels, or other unsanitary marine animals stuck in the hull. Although the algae and barnacle may require inconvenient cleaning and rubbing, corrosion can be much more severe and may need further maintenance.
FootHills Dock & Lift Repair offers a variety of boat and boat lift maintenance services. With the winter season approaching, you can rely on our services as we can effectively help you winterize your boat. We guarantee that your boat will retain its original condition after the season ends. We also provide lift removal, dock resurfacing, boat and dock maintenance, dock cleaning, and others. Contact us today and book an appointment!