Common Boat Lift Repairs

By Lynn Rademacher

Boat lifts are used to remove boats from the water while being stored at the marina. This allows boats to avoid the damage that can occur from constantly sitting in the water while being docked. Boat lifts also make the launching of a boat much easier than unloading it from a boat trailer. However, boat lifts require maintenance as well and all boat lifts are susceptible to a few common problems.

Rust Repair

Rust can be devastating for a boat lift that has been allowed to lose the protective coating of paint. Aluminum boat lifts will resist rust; however, steel is also a popular material for boat lifts, and it will rust over time. How to repair rust depends on the severity of the problem.

If rust is found early it can often be ground off the metal, and then the area is re-covered with protective sealant and paint to prevent it from reoccurring. In cases where the rust has compromised the structural integrity of the metal, it is better to cut out the section and weld a new piece of metal into place.

Hydraulic and Rope Repairs

According to Tiger Waterfront Products, some hydraulic problems are related to a connection becoming loose while others may be the cause of hydraulic fluid leaking. If you suspect hydraulic problems, inspect the hydraulic portion of the lift. Continual use of a failing hydraulic system could result in more damage to the lift. Depending on the design of the lift it may be possible for the owner of the lift to remove the hydraulic component with a few basic tools and install a new one.

Guide ropes are used to help position the boat in the lift prior to the boat being lifted out of the water. These ropes can become worn over time and break. These ropes can easily be removed and replaced by the boat owner.

Structural Repairs

Debris in the water might cause structural damage to the lift. If the lift is located in a marina that frequently experiences rough water, the lift could also be damaged from being shoved into the dock of the marina. Not all structural damage is worth repair work. Small dents or dings are going to happen; however, structural damage that interferes with the proper use of the lift should be repaired to prevent additional damage to the lift or the boat. Owners can often repair structural damage themself. Many boat lifts are made of many pieces that fit together. The owner can repair structural damage by removing the bolts or pins that are holding the damaged piece in place and replacing it with a new one.