How Do Boat Lifts Work? Easy Guide (For Beginners)

There are several types of boat lifts on the market. If you are new to boat lifts, you should definitely check our article about the 4 boat lift systems boaters should know about!

Most of them work in the same way, and these tips should cover very general operations.

It is always a good idea to speak to the manufacturer or installer about the correct operations of the type of boat lift you have.

Here is an Idea of How Boat Lifts Work:

Boat lifts are used to launch the boat in and out of the water. Boat lifts generally work with either a hydraulic lifting system or a motorized system, which raises and lowers the boat into and out of the water for a safe and convenient system.

4 Types Of Boat Lifts:

Before we start, you should know that there are several types of boat lifts.

Here are some of the most-used designs:

We have written a separate article about the types of boat lifts you need to know about.

It’s a great place to start before we dive into how to operate the boat lift.

How to Use a Boat Lift | Step by Step Guide (for First Time Users)

If you don’t already own a boat lift or if you have never used one before, you might be a little concerned about how things will go.

Most users find that it is even easier than using a boat trailer.

The best thing that you can do is be prepared and have some background knowledge of what to do.

Do you want to have a bit of insight into how to use a boat lift before you are faced with the task?

Please familiarize yourself with our top tips (steps) below:

Step 1: Lowering the Boat into the Water with a Boat Lift:

You can use a boat lift to get your vessel onto the water safely and conveniently.

A boat lift eliminates the hassle of asking family and friends to help you with boat launching from a trailer. When you invest in a boat lift, they will thank you for it!

Lowering the boat into the water is fairly simple. The boat lift motor has a power switch on it, which you can use to lower the vessel.

Turn on the switch and keep a close eye on the progress of the boat. It is important to keep a close eye on the boat and to do this extremely slowly.

You can turn off the switch once the boat enters the water and begins to float independently.

If your lift happens to be supported by cables, you will notice that the cables become slack – when this happens, it is safe to turn the lift motor off.

Your boat is now “launched” – all you need to do is turn it on and drive away from the dock.

Step 2: Driving the Boat Safely off the Boat Lift:

Once the boat is floating on the water, you need to get it away from the dock to operate it safely.

Driving the boat off the lift must be done with safety in mind.

It is important to have a second set of hands and eyes available to help, so partner with someone to do this.

One person needs to be on the boat and act as the driver. The second person needs to stay near the lift to operate the motor function and ensure that the boat can move off safely.

First, make sure that the lift is completely lowered, and the boat is indeed floating on its own.

If the boat is still above the water and resting on the lift, you could have an unpleasant experience. If all looks clear, you can turn the boat on and drive it off the lift and away from the dock.

Make sure that there are no obstacles in the way or head in your direction.

Step 3: Repositioning the Boat on the Boat Lift When in the Water:

Position your boat properly to center it for the boat lift. If your boat is slightly off (i.e., one end is too far forward or back) you can damage your boat or have to start over.

It is best to have a friend help you position your boat properly to center it. That way you can get someone else’s eye on the positioning from the dock.

Furthermore, you can use the lift poles as additional guides to get you into the right position. Also, make sure you turn off the engine when you are ready to lift your boat.

Now you can raise the boat out of the water by following the step below!

Step 4: Raising the Boat Out of the Water:

When your boat lift is fully submerged in the water and lowered enough, it is ready to lift your boat!

If your lift is secured with cables, the cables will become slack, indicating that the lift base is lowered enough to lift your boat safely. If you don’t have tell-tale cables, you can lower the lift until the lift reaches the bottom.

Using the lift motor switch, power up the lift motor and begin to raise the lift upwards.

Ensure that you stop when it is safe for the boat driver and any passengers to get off the boat.

Your boat should stabilize with the lift because of your positioning. If you are between the poles and the lift is the right size for your boat, it should have a firm grasp on your vessel.

Be cautious about making sure that the boat doesn’t hit the roof of the dock.

Step 5: Protecting the Lift When Not in Use:

The boat lift is considered “in use” when there is a boat on it or serves a boat several times during the same day.

When the boat is in the water or storage, the lift is not in use and is susceptible to damage. As a result, it is important to ensure that preventative measures are taken against boat lift exposure damage.

When the boat lift is out of use, you should make sure that it is not submerged or even touching the water’s surface.

To do this, turn on the boat lift motor and use the switch to lift the unit above the water’s surface. By doing this, you can ensure that other boater owners don’t enter your lift dock and cause damage.

It and will also eliminate the risk of unnecessary corrosion and algae growth on the lift itself.

Why You Should Use a Boat Lift:

Water sports enthusiasts and boat owners are always looking for the most effective and convenient way to maintain and protect their boats.

Boats are certainly not cheap, and so protecting your investment should be paramount.

This is the number one reason why you need to use a boat lift.

While you won’t be able to magically get rid of all your boat maintenance requirements and chores, you can use a boat lift to your advantage to minimize them. When using a boat lift, you can protect your boat from damage that could otherwise occur in the water.

When it comes to cleaning the hull, the task is made a great deal easier when the boat isn’t partially submerged (thanks to a boat lift).

The expected maintenance tasks are also kept to a minimum as algae won’t grow on the boat, and the boat components won’t start to corrode prematurely due to long-term exposure to the water.

Final Thoughts:

Those who have a boat lift tend to save both time and money on boat maintenance and repairs – that’s an undeniable fact.

In addition to this, when you use a boat lift, it is quite easy to keep the boat in pristine condition.

This makes it possible to lengthen the boat’s life span (ensuring a great investment return). Those on board the boat can also get in and out with greater ease when there is a boat lift available to lift and lower the boat as required.

Boat lifts have undoubtedly made boating a more convenient and enjoyable experience for many people. If you’re new to the world of boating, a boat lift is a must!

Use the tips above to operate your boat lift safely!

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