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Commonsense Tips for Safe Boat Lift Use

Boat lifts are perhaps the ultimate accessory. Out of the water, the hull stays cleaner, which in turn boosts speed and mileage—not to mention saving the owner from back-breaking scrubbing. Capable of holding a massive amount of weight, they’re serious pieces of equipment that require care when using. But with a few commonsense tips from Golden Boat Lifts, operating one is as safe as parking a car in a garage.

The first step is to choose a lift that’s best suited to both the boat and location. PWC, keelboat or motoryacht? How many hulls? How heavy is the vessel fully loaded? Will additional piles be needed? Is it on a seawall? A qualified installer will take into consideration all the variables and advise as to the optimal solution.

Stray current running through the water can be deadly if someone falls or jumps in. An electric boat lift should have a GFCI outlet and be wired by a licensed electrician.

Once the lift is installed, read the owner’s manual. Even if the installer runs through its operation, chances are it’ll contain something valuable that may eliminate a headache later on.

Boat lifts are rated for a specific weight and built for a unique hull design. Putting another boat on it that it wasn’t designed for could damage the vessel and/or lift.

When using the lift, only the adult operator and perhaps a helper should be near the boat. It should never be unattended while in use, and everyone should remain off the vessel until it’s in the water. And certainly never go under it while it’s raised.

As the boat is lowered into the water, ensure that it remains level. Don’t let the cables run slack, but if they do, simply realign and tighten prior to lifting. The cradles should be below the draft of the boat before driving off the lift.

When the boat is off the lift, keep the cradles out of the water. This will keep them clean and avoid premature corrosion.

When returning, ensure that the center of gravity of the boat is aligned with the center of the lift. Guide posts will help judge this, as will stickers that can be placed on the hull for guidance. Keeping the boat level, raise the lift so that the cradle is away from the highest point water will reach.

Maintenance is simple. Inspect the lift, paying special attention to the cables, before each use. After, rinse the cradle and cables with fresh water to get rid of algae, and salt and barnacles if in saltwater. Periodically grease the fittings, and check the zincs for wear and bunks for worn carpeting.

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