What is the correct way to position the boat on the lift?
With a power-boat, a large portion of the weight is at the back end of the boat. In order to get the boat to sit the most securely, you want to make sure that as much of the weight as possible is on the bunks. Try to get the transom to line up with the back edge of the lateral bunks. Adjust the motor stop to touch the lower unit. When driving onto the lift, ease the boat forward until the lower unit hits the motor stop.
How far should I lower the lift when launching my boat?
The bed should be lowered until the boat just floats. Then ease the boat off the lift.
How high should I raise the lift when storing my boat?
You should raise it up far enough that waves won’t hit the bottom of the boat. If you’re on a lake where water levels change (like Lake Wisconsin or the Madison Lakes), make sure the boat is high enough that large waves and/or high water levels won’t allow it to float away. Pull the drain plug and put it somewhere safe (don’t forget to put it back in before you go boating again!) and put on the cover to protect the boat.
Never try to raise the bed past the upper limit stops. This can cause severe damage to the lift.
My lift is in shallow water. What can I do?
The simplest solution is moving the lift farther out into deeper water (this may require adding more dock sections if you can). If you’re unable to do that, you can try to adjust the legs or bunks to lower them down farther. If that fails, you may need a different style of lift–either a V-bed or a cantilever.
If the bed is almost low enough, but the boat isn’t fully floating, you can use the motor to pull the boat off the bunks. Never go more than half-throttle, and be aware of the prop. Using the motor in shallow water can damage the prop and/or suck dirt and sand into the motor causing damage.
What should I check to make sure my lift is in good condition?
Cables: Check the cables for crimps (bends) or signs of wear. If a cable has a crimp in it, that instantly reduces its strength by at least 50%. A crimped cable should be replaced right away. Signs of wear may include flat areas, shiny spots, or broken strands. A cable with broken strands should be replaced right away. A cable with other signs of wear should be watched and replaced soon. When checking the cables, be sure to check the entire length. This means you’ll have to check them with the bed in both the full up position, and the full down position. If you do find wear on a cable, try to find out where it’s coming from; this will save you from experiencing the same problems again later.
Pulleys: Pulleys need to spin freely and smoothly. Check all the pulleys for wear, both to the groove where the cable runs and the hole through the center.
Grease: Check grease zircs to see if they need to be refilled.
Bunks: Check the surface of the bunks for excessive wear on the carpeting or splintering of the wood. (ShoreStation UltraBunks are a good replacement where possible.) Worn or splintering bunks can scratch the hull of your boat. Check the bolts to make sure none are loose.
Is there anything I should be doing to keep my lift in good condition?
Check the lift (as described above) at least once a year. We recommend doing it in the fall when it’s removed so you have time over the winter to get repairs done. Keep all appropriate zircs greased. Clean off algae, seaweed, and other gunk that becomes attached to the structure.
If your lift has a motor: For AC motors, check the cords and connectors. Make sure that the power cords feeding your motor are rated for the proper amperage. Cords that are too small can cause problems and burn out the motor. For DC motors, check the battery connections and clean off any corrosion or build-up you see.
Don’t wait to fix problems! Letting a problem go unrepaired can result in more damage to other parts of the lift.
Is there anything I should be doing to keep my dock in good condition?
If you have a cedar deck, keep it properly stained or water-sealed. This should only need to be done every few years, but it will help to preserve the look and extend the life of your decking.
If you have a vinyl or aluminum deck, keep it clean from dirt and debris. A power washing at the end of the season is a good idea. Otherwise just wash it down with a stiff broom and water. You can use Marine-approved cleaner to do a better job.
After removal in the fall, clean the algae, seaweed, and other gunk off the legs. Some WD-40 or other lubricant on the adjustment screws will help keep them from seizing up.
If the finish on your dock is wearing off, repaint or regalvanize the frame.
Should I use load guides?
Load guides, whether full-side or posts, are not required, but they’re a good idea. They help to center the boat on the lift so the weight is evenly distributed.
Can I do my own repairs?
For most issues, yes. However, we recommend you call us for anything more than minor repairs. Trying to replace cables, winches, pulleys, and other important parts can be much more complicated than it looks. We have the training and experience to do the job properly and safely. And we guarantee our work–if it’s not fixed right the first time, we’ll make it right.
How should I store my canopy?
After the canopy is removed, clean it thoroughly with a mild detergent. Rinse it well, and make sure that it’s completely dry. It’s very important that the vinyl be clean and dry; tree sap, bird droppings, and mildew can all damage the vinyl and rot the stitching. We offer professional cleaning services along with canopy storage if you’d rather not take the time to do it yourself.
The best way to store the canopy is to lay it out flat, fold the long sides into the middle, and then roll it up. This will minimize creasing, and make it easier to install in the spring time. Make sure that the canopy is stored inside. Rodents and raccoons love vinyl.