Boat lifts extend your boat’s lifespan, make it easier to resell, and protect it from corrosion, stains, and algae. But to ensure your boat lift can protect your investment, you need to take good care of the boat lift itself.
Keep reading for some crucial installation, care, and maintenance tips that will help you properly care for your boat lift.
1. Install the Right Boat Lift
If you really want your boat lift to do its job as well as it can and for as long as possible, start with the right lift. If your property came with a boat lift, talk to your contractor to make sure it’s the right one for your needs. Otherwise, you could face extensive boat and dock damage — if your boat weighs more than the previous owner’s boat, using the old lift could cause it to collapse, taking your boat with it.
Similarly, when you install or rebuild a boat lift, work with trustworthy, experienced maritime contractors who understand the ins and outs of boat lifts, soil conditions, and shorefront property development. Boat lifts are heavy-duty pieces of machinery that deal with heavy-duty vessels; installing the right one in the right way is a crucial first step.
2. Check Your Lift Cables Frequently and Replace As Needed
The cables are among your boat lift’s most crucial components. Since they do most of the heavy lifting, they’re very susceptible to rust, fraying, and general wear and tear. Check your lift cables’ condition every time you take your boat in and out of the water — the cables need to be replaced immediately if you notice tears, fraying, or corrosion.
Saltwater is the biggest threat to your steel cables, so give your cables a boost by rinsing them (and the rest of the lift apparatus) with freshwater after you take your boat out for a spin. You can also talk to your contractor about other maintenance methods, such as oiling the cables.
Finally, don’t forget to consult your boat lift’s manufacturer on how often they recommend replacing the cables. Even if the cables seem fine from the outside, your manufacturer might suggest upgrading them every two or three years to stay on the safe side.
3. Keep Your Boat Lift Out of the Water
Boat lifts are made to protect boats from corrosion — but that doesn’t mean they aren’t susceptible to corrosion themselves. Just as you don’t leave your boat submerged in the water, don’t leave your boat lift submerged either.
Of course, you can’t keep the boat lift out of the water entirely or indefinitely, but you can counteract saltwater’s corrosive effects by rinsing off the lift with freshwater whenever you use it. Make sure to keep an eye out for barnacles, too; over time, they’ll weaken the lift, so rinse them free with freshwater as soon as you spot them.
4. Check and Grease Every Moving Part
Your boat lift requires a lot of moving parts to lift your boat in and out of the water smoothly. Parts like motors, gears, drive units, and pulleys need to be checked for wear and greased periodically. If you’re not sure which lubricating product to use on your boat lift’s pulleys and gears, check in with the manufacturer, installer, or your local boat shop for recommendations.
If you notice a fraying or corroding belt or pulley, make sure to replace it immediately — you don’t want it to snap unexpectedly while you’re moving your boat. You should also check your motor to make sure it drains water effectively.
5. Run Your Boat Lift Even When You’re Not Using Your Boat
Chances are you don’t use your boat all year long — but if you want to keep your boat lift from rusting, you should raise and lower your boat lift during the off season regardless. At least once a month during the off season (though preferably every few weeks), rinse off your boat lift with freshwater; raise and lower the lift; move the lift from side to side; and check that the cables, gears, motor, and pulleys are free of rust.
If you see signs of fraying or corrosion, replace or repair parts as needed. Keep an eye out for barnacles and flush them off your lift beams immediately.
6. Make Repairs Sooner Rather Than Later
Your boat lift keeps you safe as it hauls vessels weighing thousands of pounds in and out of the water. Since the boat lift has such a big job, you should address concerns as soon as possible — otherwise, cables could snap, beams could corrode and crumble, or the motor could run down at the least opportune time. Avoid dangerous situations by staying on top of boat lift repairs.
Looking to install a boat lift? Interested in other forms of maritime construction and shoreside property development? Abbotts’ Construction Services, Inc., has served Florida families for decades. Get in touch with our team to discuss building options and schedule a consultation.