Posted on November 2, 2023
Your boat lift could last 25 years–or even longer–as long as you’re giving it the TLC that it deserves. You can’t control the elements, but you can control how you respond to them: stay ahead of the wear and tear with these easy boat lift maintenance tips!
Boat lifts are rated for precisely the amount they can carry and not a single pound more. Don’t overload your boat lift with any extra weight. Don’t just go by the dry weight listed in your boat’s spec sheet, either–remember that you’re carrying all sorts of other things onto your boat, like fuel, passengers, and equipment that this number doesn’t account for.
Anything that needs lubrication should get it whenever it’s needed. Penetrating oil or chain and cable fluid will keep your cables from fraying and rubbing against each other. However, grease is for boat lift motors and pulleys and should not be used on cables due to its ability to trap moisture.
Over time, water damage can affect your beams, bunks, cradles, gearboxes, and other components of your waterfront system. Keep your lift out of the water whenever you’re not using it and rinse it with fresh water after each use, especially if your lift is in saltwater. The top drain holes on your gearbox, motor, and cover should be closed to keep water out: leave the bottom ones open to ensure that any water that gets in can get out. Small amounts of rust can be ground off, but keep an eye out for any worsening rust and corrosion on your system.
Don’t let your cables wear unevenly. Check them for fraying and other signs of damage, and make sure that they’re riding all of the pulleys evenly. Sheave alignment should also become a part of your regular inspections if it isn’t already–the winder, drum, and spool should be in good working order. Keep an eye out for backlashing cables, slack, and other problems that require adjustment.
For those of us that deal with winter weather, how we store our boat lifts is a big part of maintaining their lifespan. Store your boat lift with the cradle or platform up. Power hoist batteries should be removed and stored inside on a piece of wood. If you’re storing your lift outside on your shore, mark it with flags to alert other people and vehicles. Keep your small parts together and perform thorough final checks before putting your system away for the season to ensure that you’re ready to start fresh next year.