Lifting a Boat
Lifting a boat is a task that comes round periodically, often from the Autumn onwards. However, for those who have not done it before it may be a bit of a mystery. Here is an explanation and some tips.
Lifting a boat may be required for a number of reasons e.g. for storage ashore, for cleaning, for movement onto road transport or trailers or for launching. Often lift-outs will occur at your home port or club and your choice will be limited to what’s available. Types of lift will vary between e.g. floating, freestanding, mobile, four or eight posts and overhead. Your boat’s dimensions length and beam, as well as her weight, will be the determining factors as to whether the lift is suitable – so make sure you know them accurately. Always play cautious and ensure that the lift capabilities will comfortably match your craft.
Get some local advice as to the suitability and quality of your lift out service and then book it. Rates will depend upon what you want. A seasonal lift out onto a harbour hard-standing is often calculated per metre per day/week and maybe discounted if you have paid marina fees. A temporary lift out to enable a quick hull clean or a keel or rudder check following a grounding may be charged by the hour. Either way, ensure you enquire with your service provider what preparation they want you to carry out e.g. they may wish you to secure or remove your anchor and/or rail items such as outboards and replace through-hull fittings like transducers with blanks.
Some lifts will utilize cradles with bunks lined with pulley like rollers on bearings. Some will utilize slings attached to cables that are connected to pulleys and crane-like winches. You should know your lift out points on the hull (check your yacht manufacturers manual) ideally they should be marked. However, the marina lift out staff may need to adjust depending upon your centre of gravity affected by what you have onboard and where. It’s important to discuss things between the onboard crew and the lift operators often shore-side. Having a plan of how the lift will take place, and agreeing on hand signals and actions as well as planning the ‘what-ifs’ are clearly important when using any lift-out machinery.
If it’s a club lift you will likely be required to give it a spray down to wash off slime, dirt and saltwater from the frame, cables and pulleys. Don’t forget a spritzer of lubricant to reduce friction and keep the weather or saltwater off the moving parts.
Good luck with your yacht lift!