Storing your boat should be easy, secure and safe. When you’re using a boat lift after taking your vessel out on the water, best practices can help you ensure you get the best performance and safety from your equipment. When you’re managing day-to-day boating operations, using a boat lift can help you protect your asset from mold, rust, microorganisms and other things that might build up on a boat left in the water.
Knowing how to dock a boat on a lift is critical to help you safely navigate the heavy vessel and equipment. When you follow proper boat lift safety, you can protect yourself and other passengers from injury and avoid damage to the boat from a mishandled lift. Over 3,000 boat-related injuries occur each year, so it’s vital to take all necessary safety measures while on the water and at the dock.
Once you understand the precautions necessary for safe operation, you can use your boat lift to place your boat in the water and pull it out with ease. What’s more, it’s a convenient tool that can help extend your boat’s performance and reliability.
If you’re wondering how to use a boat lift effectively, you can follow our tips and best practices below. Keep these in mind for safer use whenever you need your boat lift and avoid common mistakes.
How Does a Boat Lift Work?
Using a boat lift can significantly help reduce maintenance requirements and keep your boat in good condition. Since it keeps your boat hoisted above the water, it can help you avoid corrosion and other water-related complications long-term. The equipment system uses bunk boards attached to a cradle to hold up the watercraft. When you press the lift button, the motorized system can raise or lower the cradle to move your boat.
When you return to the dock, you’ll need to steer the boat over the water boards. Then, you can press the button and raise the cradle to lift your boat above the waterline. Just remember, boat lifts come in a range of configurations so that you can select the right option for your requirements.
Steps for Properly Operating a Boat Lift
When you operate a boat lift, you’ll want to follow specific protocols for safe and efficient use. You can refer to our step-by-step guide for operating your lift properly from start to finish.
1. Lowering the Boat Into Water
When you’re about to take your boat out on the water, your first step is to lower it off the boat lift. Use the power switch to begin lowering the lift, operating very slowly so you can pay attention to the boat’s progress. Additionally, ensure all passengers have lifejackets and are ready to go. Once the boat is low enough to float independently in the water, your boat is launched and ready for use.
2. Driving Off the Lift
After the boat is in the water, you’ll need to steer away from the lift and dock carefully. Start by ensuring the boat is completely lowered and not resting on the lift. It’s also important to check for any obstacles below or around your watercraft. As you begin to pull away from the dock, continue to monitor your surroundings. Once you’re clear, you can start to speed up and head to deeper water.
3. Parking the Boat When Returning
Upon returning to the dock, maneuver toward the lift. Lower the boat lift fully back down into the water ensuring that it is fully submerged so you do not cause damage to your boat or lift. Slowly drive the boat directly over the top of the submerged lift using Vertical Guide Posts or Full-length Guide-ons or both to safely guide your boat into position above the lift.
4. Raising the Boat
Once you’re sure the boat is securely positioned on top of the boat lift, you can slowly raise the equipment. When the boat is level with the dock, stop the lift to unload the boat. If necessary, once the boat is unpacked and covered for storage, you can raise the lift as high as needed to get it out of the water.
Boat Lift Safety Precautions
When operating a boat lift, you’ll want to keep a few different safety precautions in mind. These will help you get the most from your lift and protect your vessel.
It is essential that the boat be positioned properly before raising it out of the water. The boat should be centered front to back and side to side to ensure equal weight distribution. 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.
Don’t Lift the Boat Too High
The boat lift only needs to be high enough so that your boat is out of the water. Once the lift is fully raised, do not try to raise it any higher. Raise the lift slowly paying attention to any resistance or issues that may indicate the vessel is causing a strain to lift higher. Look for a boat lift motor that is equipped with a limit switch to prevent over-raising of the boat and causing damage, such as RGC’s VLDD Electric Power Drive.
Follow Max Capacity
Regardless of the model, boat lift manufacturers have set specific standards for your system’s max weight capacity. Be careful to comply with guidelines for max capacity and the United States Bureau of Reclamation (USBR) safety practices as you choose and set up your boat lift. Ensure your cables and pulleys can handle the weight of your boat. You want to prevent potential equipment breakage or operational issues with the watercraft that could injure you or others.
Shop RGC Marine for Your Supplies and Equipment
By implementing boat lift safety tips, you can help keep your passengers and your watercraft safe whenever you use it. If you’re looking for boat lifts or other marine equipment solutions, RGC Marine is here to help. Browse RGC Marine boat lifts and contact us with any questions or to find a dealer today.