Is Your Lift Ready for a Hurricane? How to Make Your Boat Lift Safe

Is Your Lift Ready for a Hurricane? How to Make Your Boat Lift Sale

 

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 they can do to prepare their lifts and boathouses for a hurricane?


Actually, there is. What you do will depend upon the kind of lift you own and varies whether you have a boat or a jet ski. While there is no way to guarantee your boat lift and boat won't sustain damage, this article will give you some methods you can use to keep your lift as safe as possible.

If you have a free-standing boat lift:

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 and put it on your trailer, tying 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.

If you have a free-standing boat lift with a canopy:

How you prepare your lift will depend upon the kind of canopy you have.

The initial lift preparation is the same. First, remove the boat from the lift and tie it down on a trailer to protect it from the elements. Second, lower the empty boat lift as low as possible into the water. If you don’t have a trailer, raise the boat lift as high as it can go.

If you have a canopy, you must remove the vinyl. Leaving the vinyl on an empty lift allows it acts as a sail and can cause the boat lift to move and even be turned upside down by the powerful winds. Not removing the vinyl from a boat lift with a boat can lead to the same outcome or even tear the canopy. Either way, it is best to remove the vinyl canopy entirely.

Legacy canopy on a ShoreStation free-standing boat lift

The Legacy-style canopy is distinguishable by the scalloped edging on all four sides. The vinyl removes entirely for easy storage.


Revolution canopy on a ShoreStation free-standing boat lift

The Revolution-style canopy is the newest canopy available from ShoreStation. It features a tighter drawn vinyl that wraps slightly over the two longer sides. For this model, the vinyl detaches on the long sides and rolls up into the center, where it ties down for safe storage.

The Revolution canopy is combinable with a Power Curtain: a mesh screen that lowers around all four sides of the lift. If you have one of these, lift it as far as possible. Lifting the mesh allows the wind to pass through the boat 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 and put it on your trailer, tying 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 as well, 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.

If you have a boathouse lift:

Boathouse lift with PowerScreen

As with the free-standing boat lifts, the safest thing you can do for your

boathouse lift is trailer your boat. Leaving it on the cradle creates an additional hazard as the wind can cause the boat and cradle to swing like a battering ram and cause damage to your boathouse and your boat. We recommend that you take the boat off the lift and put it on a trailer, safely storing it until the storm passes. 

Raise the empty cradle as high as it can go, so it is near the roof of the boathouse but not touching it. Then tie off each corner to prevent the empty cradle from swinging and doing additional damage to your boathouse.

If you don’t have a trailer, leave the boat on the lift and raise it as high as possible without it touching the roof of your boathouse. Tie off each corner. Doing so prevents the cradle and boat from swinging and causing damage to either your boathouse or boat.

Boathouses can also have Power Curtain: a mesh curtain that hangs down on all four sides of the boat. If you have one of these, raise it as high as it goes. Raising it prevents the mesh from getting damaged by debris or wind and allows it to be rolled up safely near the roof of your boathouse.

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 boat lift to prevent it from swinging.

If you have a jet ski lift:

It is best to remove your jet ski from the lift and put it on a trailer. This method will prevent your jet ski from getting damaged by wind or debris. If you do not have a trailer, you will need to take proper precautions to help your jet ski remain as undamaged 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 mount jet ski lifts, as the name suggests, 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 dock mount lift as high as it can go. Doing so may not prevent your jet ski from damages by debris, but it will stop it from being pounded by the waves and any debris they 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 mount jet ski lift:

  1. Remove the jet ski from the lift and put it on your trailer, tying 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 don't 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 boat and put it on a trailer. Storing your boat is the best way to keep your boat and lift from as much damage as possible.

If that is not an option for you, the methods we have listed are your best option for keeping your boat as safe as it can be while on the lift.

As unpredictable as hurricanes are, there is no way to guarantee the elements still won't 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 by email at office@rjsboatlifts.com.


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