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Boat owners might have a false sense of security when they place their boats on hoists along the shoreline. Every year, boats are lost to storms that are forecast well in advance because the forecasts go unheard.

Boat hoists are a great invention and work well when used as intended. Severe storms frequently exceed the intended ability of these lift devices. These storms can pound the shore for days, tossing boats of all sizes on the beach or rocks, resulting in thousands of dollars in losses.

Some of these losses could have been avoided had a back-up plan been in place; a plan to remove the boat from the hoist before the storm. Taking this action will assure the boat, and likely the hoist, will not be damaged.

If you must leave your boat in a hoist, there are actions you can take to help avoid a loss.

    Verify the hoist is firmly seated with weight evenly distributed on all supports.

    Be sure the hoist is rated to carry at least the weight of your boat and gear.

    Lift the boat well above the water’s surface allowing for high water.

When placing your boat in a lift, it is far better to do so in a manner that leaves the bow toward the open sea. High water with waves breaking against the flat stern surface of a boat can drive it out of the best hoist.

Once in the hoist, all drain plugs should be removed to allow rain and spray to drain from the boat. Many hoists succumb to excessive water weight during heavy rains. Be sure to adjust the lift to allow the drain area of your boat to be slightly lower than other parts of the hull. Loose equipment should be removed. Secure any objects that could block drain areas.

Once lifted, the boat should be secured in the lift position to avoid slipping back in the straps or on the supports. Also, be certain the lift mechanism is locked in position.

Take every precaution to protect your boat each time you place it in a lift, especially on large bodies of water where storms often approach undetected. If you must keep your boat in a lift, check with your boat insurance company to be sure you have adequate coverage for your boat and the lift. Inquire about coverage for wreck removal should you ever need it. Remember the safest course of action to avoid a total loss is to remove your boat from the lift before the storms hit, especially if you leave it unattended.

United Marine Underwriters is more than just boat insurance. Browse our Boats For Sale at BoatBrowser or our Lake Resource Guide at LakeBrowser or share your fishing stories and photos at True Fish Tales – the ones that did not get away.

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One Response to Boats On Hoists

  1. Capt Fred says:

    it is not a good idea to leave the boat covered with canvas which can sag with rain water and even plug drains

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