Having access to a boat lift is an integral part of keeping your boat in good shape, from giving a boat a deep clean, conducting repairs, preventing corrosion or just regular maintenance. But just like a boat, a boat lift must be maintained in order to protect the investment and ensure that it will serve you and your boat well for years to come. Here is a run down of how to keep your boat lift running well far into the future.
Related Blog: 6 Common Questions Answered About Your New Boat Lift
Schedule Maintenance Service
Like any other piece of mechanical equipment, you should plan to schedule routine maintenance for your boat lift. How often to plan for routine service is dependent on how often you use your boat lift and what its current condition is, but as a general rule of thumb, an annual service tune-up is the minimum recommended time between tune-ups.
Minimize the Boat Lift's Contact with Water
Your boat lift is made to operate in water, but water, especially salt water, is what is most likely to cause damage to the lift over time. Here's how to minimize this damage:
- Keep the boat lift out of the water as much as you are able.
- After using the boat lift in salt water always be certain to rinse it with fresh water, particularly the bottom beams and cables. Leaving salt water on the cables allows salt crystals to form, causing abrasions which can lead to the cables breaking.
Use Protective Oil and Keep Relevant Parts Greased
Regularly applying a penetrating oil to the boat lift's cable can help prevent abrasions and subsequent damage and breakage. The oil both protects the cable's coating and prevents strands from rubbing together, minimizing the damage that friction creates. While it's important to use a grease-free oil on the cables, there are other parts of the boat lift that require being regularly greased, especially the sheaves (pulleys). In general, if you hear squeaking when operating your boat lift, it's a sign that your boat lift needs to be greased.
How to Care for the Individual Parts of a Boat Lift
Each part of the boat lift has its own function, and in checking the overall health of your lift, you should evaluate each part to make sure it is in good health.
- Cables: The cables are the part of the boat lift that are most subject to wear and tear, and as an unexpected failure of a cable can lead to disastrous results, it's important to regularly check them. Always keep your eye out for any signs of wear on the cables, and make sure that the cables are winding properly. If you observe kinks, rust spots, fraying or broken strands it's time to check if the cable needs to be replaced. Even when there are no signs of wear, it's recommended to replace stainless steel cables every two years.
- Lift Beams: Rinsing with fresh water after use and keeping the beams raised above the water when not in use are the best ways to prevent barnacle build up, prevent salt water damage and stop electrolysis (deterioration of aluminum from electrical current running through water). Any signs of corrosion in the lift beams must be addressed immediately.
- Pulleys: The sheaves (pulleys) of a boat lift should be greased every 4-6 months depending on use. If you hear squeaking that's a sign that it's time to grease the sheaves. This prevents the friction from the sheaves and sheave mounts from building up and causing the pulley to seize. Also make sure that bolts are fully tightened and well greased.
- Gear Box: Check that all gears are properly greased monthly. Make sure that the belts are not frayed.
- Motor: Visually inspect the motor for any signs of rust, especially the capacitor cover. If the motor has no cover, check to make sure there is no water retention in the motor.
- Bunks: Keep an eye out for any wear in the carpeted parts as well as for signs of rot, breakage or cracks in the wood. Adjust the position of the bunks and tighten if that helps reduce wear, but because of the exposure to water, the bunks will need to be replaced from time to time.
Check the power source.
You may be using battery power or an AC connection to raise and lower the lift. Always check your power source before using the hoist and be sure it is disconnected when inspecting cables, pulleys and other parts.
Why Are Duncan Seawall's Boat Lifts the Right Choice?
Duncan Seawall proudly offers Golden Boat Lifts. Built by the largest manufacturer in the world. All of the lifts are manufactured with 6061 - T6 marine grade aluminum and stainless steel and come with a 15-year structural warranty and up to a 25-year limited warranty on the drive system. Because Duncan Seawall has been named Golden Boat Lift's number one dealer every year for the last ten years running, you can be assured that from choosing the right lift, to installation, to follow up service and maintenance, you'll always be receiving the very best. To learn more about the Golden Boat Lifts that Duncan Seawall offers, check our website, or download our guide to boat lifts.