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MadDogMike

Boat Lift questions

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MadDogMike

Finally got the 'bu up on a lift. No more trailering ... this is life! OK, got a few questions as a boat lift newbie.

1.) Is there any problem leaving the boat on the lift all winter? (This is on Lake Jackson, about an hour SE of Atlanta, GA.) Of course I would winterize the boat, the lift has a canopy and I would also use a mooring cover on the boat, too. Doesn't seem much different than leaving it in covered storage on a trailer, which is usually what I do.

2.) Washing the boat on the lift. - Is there any natural / bio-friendly soap I could use to wash the boat while it's on the lift and not pollute the lake?

3.) Do you guys remove your stereo face plates when parking overnight on the lift? I'm not too worried about theft, I was just wondering if bringing them inside the house is better, to get them out of the moisture/humidity. Then again, the stereo itself stays in the boat, so what's the big deal, I guess?

thanks!

Mike

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jeff savastano
Finally got the 'bu up on a lift. No more trailering ... this is life! OK, got a few questions as a boat lift newbie.

1.) Is there any problem leaving the boat on the lift all winter? (This is on Lake Jackson, about an hour SE of Atlanta, GA.) Of course I would winterize the boat, the lift has a canopy and I would also use a mooring cover on the boat, too. Doesn't seem much different than leaving it in covered storage on a trailer, which is usually what I do.

2.) Washing the boat on the lift. - Is there any natural / bio-friendly soap I could use to wash the boat while it's on the lift and not pollute the lake?

3.) Do you guys remove your stereo face plates when parking overnight on the lift? I'm not too worried about theft, I was just wondering if bringing them inside the house is better, to get them out of the moisture/humidity. Then again, the stereo itself stays in the boat, so what's the big deal, I guess?

thanks!

Mike

We have our boat on a lift. we actually didn't purchase a trailer for it. Besides winterizing it we just put ice-eater by the lift to make sure no ice forms around the lift. I am in new jersey so my winters are colder than yours. i would say you are going to have no problem.

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malibudreaming

Just a heads up- a new vlx at our lake was on a lift. During heavy rain storms the battery that powers the lift got wet, shorted out and the lift dropped, waves pushed the boat clear of the lift and beached it. Damage was minimal but one blade on the prop was bent for sure, and the fins were bent as well.

Stuff just seems to happen when boats are left unattended. Some sort of locking pin would have helped in this situation.

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saburkhart

We live on lake keowee, about 2 hours east of atlanta and have left ours on the lift one winter. We have no worries about Ice and since our lift is via air float the battery is not required to keep it up. I would have no worries leaving it out there winterized. We generally put it in the garage over the winter for 2 reasons. 1) just to keep it out of the sun when we are not using it reguarly. 2) I don't winterize. Leaving it in the garage lets me take for a ride on a nice day in Nov-Mar. It sits on the lift from april through Oct

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CSK

Been a Malibu owner for a few weeks and it's on a lift. Previously had a Cobalt and it was on the lift year round. The back of the Cobalt oxidized over time even with ongoing mx. I bought a trailer for my 23 LSV so I can get it off the lift through the winter. I only use my boat around 6 months a year max. I'll keep it in storage protected from late October through early May. Highly recommend keeping your boat off the lift through the winter.

CK

Edited by CSK

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MadDogMike

Thanks for the replies. How 'bout the other questions? In fact, I have more:

1.) The lift is a Hewitt freestanding vertical cable lift. The operation seems very loud & clunky ... is that normal?

2.) The dealer claimed that I should put baby oil on canopy to prolong it's life. Anybody ever heard of that?

3.) Has anyone modified their canopy for their tower? I got the idea from photo 7 on this page: http://www.hewitt-roll-a-dock.com/lifts07/canopy.html

I don't have that canopy, just the standard one. I was thinking about cutting the middle supports out of the end of the canopy and cutting the canvas to create a flap, through which I could drive the boat with the tower up. That would give me an extra foot or so of headroom when driving into the lift. For now, I just have the canopy jacked up high enough to drive in, but then the boat doesn't lift as snug into the canopy since it's so high. (I like to drop the tower once on the lift so I can lift the boat as snug as possible into the canopy for better coverage.)

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Sixball

I would be very careful cutting support or structure of the canapé. When you get hi winds the top is loaded with very hi stress levels. I have seen more than one fold the top at one end from wind. I have my canapé offset more to the front and I have it anchored to the sea wall for that reason.

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Badger

I also have a Hewitt Vertical lift. When I used it the first couple of times, I was also very nervous because of the loud clunking sounds. I kept waiting for something really bad to happen. I've had it for almost 3 years now and haven't had any incidents. I didn't have much experience with lifts when I bought this one, so I don't know if other brands are "silent". But I've come to accept this as normal, with my lift. I bought the Shore Commander with my lift and I will never go back to a hand wheel.

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Michigan boarder
Thanks for the replies. How 'bout the other questions? In fact, I have more:

1.) The lift is a Hewitt freestanding vertical cable lift. The operation seems very loud & clunky ... is that normal?

2.) The dealer claimed that I should put baby oil on canopy to prolong it's life. Anybody ever heard of that?

3.) Has anyone modified their canopy for their tower? I got the idea from photo 7 on this page: http://www.hewitt-roll-a-dock.com/lifts07/canopy.html

I don't have that canopy, just the standard one. I was thinking about cutting the middle supports out of the end of the canopy and cutting the canvas to create a flap, through which I could drive the boat with the tower up. That would give me an extra foot or so of headroom when driving into the lift. For now, I just have the canopy jacked up high enough to drive in, but then the boat doesn't lift as snug into the canopy since it's so high. (I like to drop the tower once on the lift so I can lift the boat as snug as possible into the canopy for better coverage.)

1. The clunking is probably the cable rolling. That is, as it winds up on the winch, it goes too high on one spot and then falls over. Picture reeling up your garden hose and it all staying on one side of the reel, then falling over. Same concept, but likely only 2 revolutions. And with a LOT more stress. If your lifts are doing that, the cable is fraying and will eventually fail. Try spraying the cable with some lithium grease, that helps it slide into position a bit better.

2. I've never put anything on my canopy. Scrub it with a long brush with water at the end of every season before packing it up. First one was used when I bought the lift and lasted me another 12 years. The second was installed a month ago. I would definitely not leave it on year 'round.

3. As CSK said, leaving the boat in the sun 365 days will oxidize the paint. I live in Michigan and our lake gets 12-15" of ice on it which would destroy the aluminum lift and the temps get to negative digits so we simply could never leave everything in the water. But if I lived in a southern climate I still think I'd pull everything out, that's just a lot of exposure to the exterior.

4. I agree with Sixball too, don't modify that canopy. There was a massive storm here about 6 years ago that took down trees everywhere. I watched it come thru our lake and it actually lifted the front of my lift (boat on it, canopy, the whole thing) over a foot off the ground. That's when we went in the basement. I thought I'd emerge to it all gone, but it stayed intact. Moved the whole thing (boat still on it, '89 Four Winns 170) sideways a foot. Check with your dealer on canopy extensions and an extended cover, they will come up with something that they will stand by.

5. No soap needed, just use water. If it's on the lift it'll stay clean. Be carefull getting anywhere under the lift cradle with or without the boat on it, you will not have time to move if the cable fails. Have some kind of lock-out device. Or, just pull the boat out and clean it once a month.

That's all I got, good luck!

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MadDogMike

I figured that noise was the cable rolling, just wasn't sure if it was normal. Seems like they could have built a mechanism to feed it more uniformly on the roll. I'll try the grease.

I'm not too worried about the oxidization. I have a boat cover that goes well below the rub rail and covers the entire transom, including the swim platform.

You mentioned some sort of lock-out device. I understand the concept, but where would I get such a device? Does Hewitt make one? It seems like a simple pin would work, but don't see any place where one could be installed.

As for modifying the canopy, I would only be modifying the end piece, not the primary structure or ribs. I would re-weld what was cut so it would still have a complete frame and keep it's strength. Check out the attached photo. I would cut where the red lines indicate. Then I would take the bottom bar and re-weld it up higher, where the cuts are. I would then cut and hem the vinyl to create a flap where the tower could enter. This would give me another foot or so of headroom, and still provide good coverage for the boat. Again, this end piece is an add-on to the rest of the structure of the canopy top. You could take the whole end piece off without compromising the strength of the rest of the structure as a whole, so I don't think modifying it as I'm planning would hurt anything.

Picture2.png

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Michigan boarder
I figured that noise was the cable rolling, just wasn't sure if it was normal. Seems like they could have built a mechanism to feed it more uniformly on the roll. I'll try the grease.

Yeah, they all do that. My cable snapped this year after being replaced for 5 years. Another neighbor's did the same. Inspecting other cables, we can see where they are starting to fray, and the fray spot is right where we hear it wrapping around the roller. There's a business opportunity!

You mentioned some sort of lock-out device. I understand the concept, but where would I get such a device? Does Hewitt make one? It seems like a simple pin would work, but don't see any place where one could be installed.

I have a cantilever lift, and I just chain the cradle to the front legs to prevent it from pivoting, using a very large chain. Yours is probably a vertical lift. You may have to drill holes in the uprights to provide a spot for a pin or something. No matter what, don't get under it without a safety device. I'm a pretty quick and athletic person and think I can withstand/avoid just about anything, but that is one thing I won't mess around with. I've seen my cable break twice and there is no warning and that heavy boat comes down hard and fast.

As for modifying the canopy, I would only be modifying the end piece, not the primary structure or ribs. I would re-weld what was cut so it would still have a complete frame and keep it's strength. Check out the attached photo. I would cut where the red lines indicate. Then I would take the bottom bar and re-weld it up higher, where the cuts are. I would then cut and hem the vinyl to create a flap where the tower could enter. This would give me another foot or so of headroom, and still provide good coverage for the boat. Again, this end piece is an add-on to the rest of the structure of the canopy top. You could take the whole end piece off without compromising the strength of the rest of the structure as a whole, so I don't think modifying it as I'm planning would hurt anything.

I think you are right, that is a very deep canopy. The stuff on the end is no different than the gable end on a house, it's just there to support the wall. Remove the wall and the roof still stands. I'd say go for it. On the vinyl, you may want to put grommets in or some sort of tying design so that you can tie the flaps together if you know a big storm is coming or if it will left unattended, just in case something whips up and those flaps start slapping all over the place.

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tj_in_kc

I have a floating lift, under a covered well dock.

It could stay on all winter, but I never have, and never will. Just rather it be nice and dry and warm during the winter months....i store it in the same underground cave complex that the us government uses to archive federal documents. stays in the 60s year around, no wind, no sun, no worries about loss of power to keep the heat on.

Edited by tj_in_kc

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MadDogMike

I'm trying to make using my boat lift as simple as possible. I'd like my wife to be able to pull in and out by herself. So, I'm installing vertical guide poles at the front & back of the lift. Now I need something to prevent her from accidentally pulling in too far. Right now I use landmarks on the boat and the ol' hanging tennis ball on the windshield trick, but those don't physically stop the boat if it went too far. I checked into bow stops, and the manufacturer of my lift wants $900 for one. F that! So, I'm thinking about jerry-rigging something. Here are a couple of my half-baked ideas:

1.) I could take a dock line, strap or something similar, tie the ends to the base of the front guide poles (where they attach to the cradle) making the strap/rope/whatever long enough to reach around the bow of the boat just above the winch hook eyelet. I could suspend the front of the rope/strap/whatever with twine or fishing line hung from the canopy so it stays at the proper height to catch the bow. Could fit some padding around the rope/strap/whatever so it doesn't chafe the gel coat on the bow.

2.) Same concept but attached to the back guide poles. The rope/strap whatever wouldn't be suspended on this plan, rather would float on the surface and would be measured such that it catches the gator fins to stop me at the proper spot. My wife worries that the pressure would be bad on the fins, but I think I'd be going so slow that the pressure would be minimal.

Thoughts / ideas / suggestions?

thanks,

Mike

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Michigan boarder
I'm trying to make using my boat lift as simple as possible. I'd like my wife to be able to pull in and out by herself. So, I'm installing vertical guide poles at the front & back of the lift. Now I need something to prevent her from accidentally pulling in too far. Right now I use landmarks on the boat and the ol' hanging tennis ball on the windshield trick, but those don't physically stop the boat if it went too far. I checked into bow stops, and the manufacturer of my lift wants $900 for one. F that! So, I'm thinking about jerry-rigging something. Here are a couple of my half-baked ideas:

1.) I could take a dock line, strap or something similar, tie the ends to the base of the front guide poles (where they attach to the cradle) making the strap/rope/whatever long enough to reach around the bow of the boat just above the winch hook eyelet. I could suspend the front of the rope/strap/whatever with twine or fishing line hung from the canopy so it stays at the proper height to catch the bow. Could fit some padding around the rope/strap/whatever so it doesn't chafe the gel coat on the bow.

2.) Same concept but attached to the back guide poles. The rope/strap whatever wouldn't be suspended on this plan, rather would float on the surface and would be measured such that it catches the gator fins to stop me at the proper spot. My wife worries that the pressure would be bad on the fins, but I think I'd be going so slow that the pressure would be minimal.

Thoughts / ideas / suggestions?

thanks,

Mike

I have a section of pier in front of my lift, which would stop it. Right now I'm the only one docking the boat, but eventually the wife/kids will and I'll probably put a section of dock padding on it. The pier is there to make loading on the boat easy from the bow, it's unobstructed instead of going over the sides of the lift and gunwhales.

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MadDogMike

How 'bout this for an idea for a stop: Fasten a small gauge PVC pipe to the cradle with U-bolts such that the gator fins hit the PVC pipe when the boat is at the proper spot. I figure being a small gauge pipe, the PVC would flex and not cause too much pressure on the gator fins to pose a problem. Now that we have the vertical side guide-in posts installed, most of the time we just coast into the lift with the engine off the last few feet. So, the stop is just backup safety device, just in case. Thoughts?

Edited by MadDogMike

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Surfin247

If the area in front of the boat is not to deep just sink two 2" diameter metal poles and cover with PVC, so the bow goes between the two poles and then stops your forward movement. I did this because my lift is in a high traffic area that is not a no-wake zone. I was worried about wakes pushing the boat forward and damaging the underwater gear. Works great. I got 15 ft. poles and 8 ft. PVC. sank them until about 8 ft was above the lake bed and they have lasted 5 yrs. now.

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Michigan boarder
If the area in front of the boat is not to deep just sink two 2" diameter metal poles and cover with PVC, so the bow goes between the two poles and then stops your forward movement. I did this because my lift is in a high traffic area that is not a no-wake zone. I was worried about wakes pushing the boat forward and damaging the underwater gear. Works great. I got 15 ft. poles and 8 ft. PVC. sank them until about 8 ft was above the lake bed and they have lasted 5 yrs. now.

That's a good idea. Depending on diameter, you could even cover the posts with the material used on the upright trailer guides.

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MadDogMike
If the area in front of the boat is not to deep just sink two 2" diameter metal poles and cover with PVC, so the bow goes between the two poles and then stops your forward movement. I got 15 ft. poles and 8 ft. PVC. sank them until about 8 ft was above the lake bed and they have lasted 5 yrs. now.

How did you drive them into the dirt? Did you have to get a tall ladder on the lake bed so you could hammer them in?

Does anyone see a problem with my idea? I could even wrap the pipe with foam if necessary.

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kiley
If the area in front of the boat is not to deep just sink two 2" diameter metal poles and cover with PVC, so the bow goes between the two poles and then stops your forward movement. I got 15 ft. poles and 8 ft. PVC. sank them until about 8 ft was above the lake bed and they have lasted 5 yrs. now.

How did you drive them into the dirt? Did you have to get a tall ladder on the lake bed so you could hammer them in?

Does anyone see a problem with my idea? I could even wrap the pipe with foam if necessary.

If the PVC is soft enough to not damage the boat, is it going to be hard enough to stop it. Plus there is no visual sign that you are loaded properly.

For the post idea, couldn't you use dock posts with the auger screw in tips on them? They could be screwed in with a pipe wrench.

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Michigan boarder
How did you drive them into the dirt? Did you have to get a tall ladder on the lake bed so you could hammer them in?

If they need to be removable, auger them in. If they are permanent, buy a 6' length of 3/8" pipe, threaded on one end. Put fittings on it that will allow you to connect a garden hose. Connect it to the hose, and drop that pipe and garden hose inside the pipe you are putting in the ground, and turn the water on. The water will displace the sand so fast you will see that pipe drop almost instantly. We have done this lots of times on our lake, I put in two 7" pipes to reinforce my pier that way (with 2 garden hoses). Works like a charm. Also works the same if you are trying to remove an old post, just jet around the edges and work it loose.

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