Owing a boat lift is one of the joys of being a boat owner. However, a few common mistakes when using a boat lift can cause it to wear prematurely or worse, cause it to fail. It’s key to avoid common mishaps and follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for your boat lift to keep it safe and functioning properly.
Below are some tips to help you avoid the most common mistakes made when operating a boat lift.
Do not Exceed Boat Lift Weight Capacity
Engineers carefully calculate and test a boat lift’s weight capacities during the manufacturing process. A boat that exceeds this limit may cause the lift to malfunction. Never exceed the manufacturer’s weight capacity. There are various lifts designed to accommodate different types of watercraft. A qualified boat lift dealer can help you determine the weight of your boat and the corresponding lift.
A common mistake of boat owners is to underestimate the weight of their boat and not add in weight for supplies and extra passengers. RGC Marine recommends a 20% margin for error when it comes to boat weight. In other words, the “dry” weight of the boat plus the weight of fuel, equipment, supplies and passengers and add 20% to that number for safety. This will ensure that you are not exceeding the intended use of the lift and it will operate at its optimum.
Proper Positioning of your Boat
It is essential that the boat be positioned properly before operating the boat lift. Your boat should be centered front to back and side to side to ensure equal weight distribution. Improper positioning, such as too far back, will cause the front of the boat to be lighter and potentially cause the bow to float off the lift. Ensure you understand how to position your watercraft to maintain balance and prevent damage to the boat or the lift. Utilize accessories to help take the guesswork out of proper positioning. Bow stops and motor stops ensure that your vessel is positioned properly front to back. Guide-ons ensure you are evenly over the boat lift side to side.
If your boat lift is a cable driven type, the cables must be inspected and maintained because they are susceptible to wear and tear over time. Stainless steel is typically the material of choice for boat lift cables. This material needs consistent lubrication with cable fluid or penetration oil to reduce friction. Remember that you should avoid lubricants that contain grease, which can trap moisture in your cables.
During your routine maintenance inspections, check for signs of damage like fraying so that you can replace weak cables. The positioning of your boat on the lift often causes one or more cables to weaken over time while other cables remain strong. It’s ideal to have the boat distributed evenly so that this wear takes place evenly.
Do Not Exceed Maximum Lift Height
Every boat lift has a maximum height. Many models have a drive that will automatically stop when you’ve reached the limit, while others will let you continue lifting. Over-raising the lift can cause critical damage to the components and your boat. Ensure that you do not continue to raise your boat after the lift has reached its maximum height. Or choose a model that has a limit-switch to prevent damage to the lift and your boat.
Explore the RGC Marine Selection of Premium Boat Lifts Online Today
Boat lifts can fail, so it’s critical to choose the right model for your watercraft and use it properly. Every step you take to protect the safety and integrity of your lift will extend its useful life and protect the value of your boat.
Have questions about boat lifts or boat lift failure? Here at RGC Marine, we have a team of specialists ready and able to assist you. You can contact us online to connect with our team about questions or request information to find your local dealer. You can also browse our online selection of watercraft lifts to find the model that will fit your dream boat.