Preparing for Hurricane Season: How to Secure Your Boat Lift for a Storm

Is your boat lift ready for a hurricane? Get expert tips on how to protect your lift

 

Hurricane season comes faithfully every year. Here in Florida, people take all kinds of precautions to keep their houses well stocked and protected from the elements. They board windows, place sandbags, buy propane and restock their pantries with canned goods and gallons of water. But what about people who own boats and jet skis? Is there anything you can do to prepare your lift for a hurricane?

Actually, there is. While there is no sure guarantee against storms, there are things you can do to prepare your lift. This article will show you how to prepare the following types of lifts:

  1. Free-Standing Boat Lifts
  2. Free-Standing Boat Lifts with a Canopy
  3. Boathouse Lifts
  4. Jet Ski Lifts

Simply navigate to the type of lift you have and follow the listed steps to keep your lift as safe as possible.

Let's get started.

Free-Standing Boat Lifts

Free-standing ShoreStation boat lift


The safest option for a free-standing boat lift is to remove your boat from the lift and trailer it. We recommend tying it down and storing it safely until the storm passes. Doing so will help protect your boat and your boat lift as much as possible from wind, debris and any other elements. Once the boat is safely stored, we recommend that you lower your boat lift down as far as it can go into the water.

If you do not have a trailer, leave your boat on the lift and raise it as high as it can go. Doing so will help to keep your boat out of the water as much as possible. 

To summarize,

For a Free-Standing Boat Lift:

  1. Remove the boat from the lift, put it on your trailer and tie it down safely.
  2. Lower the boat lift as far as it can go into the water.

*If you do not have a trailer, leave the boat on the lift and raise it as high as it can go.

Free-Standing Boat Lifts with a Canopy

First, remove the boat from the lift and tie it down on a trailer to protect it from the elements. Lower the empty cradle as low as possible into the water. If you don’t have a trailer, raise the lift as high as it can go.

If you have a canopy, you must remove the vinyl. Leaving the vinyl on a lift allows it to act as a sail. The powerful winds can catch the canopy and cause the boat lift to move and even be turned upside down, so its best to remove the vinyl canopy entirely.

Legacy canopy on a ShoreStation free-standing boat lift

The Legacy Canopy is distinguishable by the scalloped edging on all four sides. Remove the vinyl and safely store it. 


Revolution canopy on a ShoreStation free-standing boat lift

The Revolution Canopy features a tighter drawn vinyl that wraps over the two longer sides. For this model, detach the vinyl from the sides and roll it up into the center, then tie it down.

If you have a Power Curtain, the mesh screen pictured above, raise it as far as possible. Lifting the screen allows the wind to pass through the lift freely and prevents the mesh from being damaged.

In summary,

For a Free-Standing Boat Lift with a Canopy:

  1. Remove the boat from the lift, put it on your trailer and tie it down safely.
  2. Lower the boat lift as far as it can go into the water.
  3. Remove your canopy. If you have a Legacy Canopy, remove the vinyl and store it safely. If you have a Revolution Canopy, roll the vinyl up into the center and tie it down. If you have a Power Curtain, lift that as far as it will go.

*If you do not have a trailer, leave the boat on the lift and raise it as high as it can go.

Boathouse Lifts

Boathouse lift with PowerScreen

As with the free-standing boat lifts, the safest thing you can do for your boathouse lift is to trailer your boat. Leaving your boat on the cradle can cause it to swing like a battering ram and do damage to your boathouse and your boat.

Once your boat is safely stored, raise the empty cradle as high as it can go so it is close to the roof of the boathouse but not touching it. Then tie off each corner to prevent the empty cradle from swinging.

If you don’t have a trailer, leave the boat on the lift. Raise it as high as possible without it touching the roof of your boathouse and tie off each corner. 

Boathouses can also have a Power Curtain, or a mesh curtain that hangs down from all four sides of the lift. Raise the mesh as high as it can go to prevent it from being damaged. 

In summary,

For a Boathouse Lift:

  1. Remove the boat from the lift and tie it down on a trailer. 
  2. Raise the boat lift as high as possible. Tie off each corner to prevent it from swinging. If you have a Power Curtainlift that as far as possible. 

*If you don’t have a trailer, leave the boat on the lift and raise it as high as it can go. Tie off each of the four corners of the cradle to prevent it from swinging.

Jet Ski Lifts

It is best to remove your jet ski from the lift and put it on a trailer to prevent it from getting damaged by wind or debris. If you do not have a trailer, you will need to take precautions to keep your jet ski as safe as possible. How you prepare your jet ski lift will depend on what kind of lift you have.

ShoreStation dock mount PWC jet ski lift

Dock-mounted jet ski lifts are mounted directly to the dock. It is best to remove your jet ski and put it on a trailer. Then, lower the lift down as far as it can go into the water.

If you have to leave your jet ski on the lift, raise the lift as high as it can go. Doing so may not prevent your jet ski from being damaged, but it will stop it from being pounded by the waves and any debris they may carry.

EZ Dock PWC jet ski lift floating dock

An EZ Port is a type of floating dock that stores jet skis. If you have one like the one pictured above, your best option is to remove your jet ski entirely and put it on a trailer. If that is not an option, all you can do is leave the jet ski on the lift.

Overall,

For a dock-mounted jet ski lift:

  1. Remove the jet ski from the lift, put it on your trailer and tie it down safely.
  2. Lower the lift as far as it can go into the water.

*If you do not have a trailer, leave the jet ski on the lift and raise it as high as it can go.

For an EZ Port:

  1. Remove the jet ski and put it on a trailer.

*If you dont have a trailer, leave the jet ski on the lift.

Conclusion

No matter what kind of lift you have, your best option is to remove your watercraft and put it on a trailer. Storing your boat or jet ski is the best way to keep it as safe as possible.

As unpredictable as hurricanes are, there is no way to guarantee the elements still wont damage your boat or lift. However, the methods we have listed will make sure your boat and lift are as prepared as they can be.

Feel free to contact us if you have any additional questions at 352-394-5666 or office@rjsboatlifts.com.


    Leave a comment

    Please note, comments must be approved before they are published