Many new (and some old) boat owners often wonder what the purpose of a boat lift is. Is it truly necessary to have a boat lift? There is definitely no argument that constant contact with water can lead to a number of issues, but an outstanding boat lift can help to counteract each of these. Let us explain a few of the reasons why it is so important to buy a boat lift to keep it as a dry-dock.
1) Watercraft left in the water quickly become fouled.
As anyone who has ever pulled a boat from the water after several days can attest, aquatic life takes little to no time to attach itself to a boat or other watercraft. Whether it is fouled by sea growth, muck, barnacles, algae, zebra mussels, crustaceans or any number of other forms of marine life, each of these can quickly damage a boat, decreasing the performance of the watercraft. In ALL cases, chronic water storage significantly decreases the life and value of the watercraft. This is the primary reason for the application of anti-foul paint to a ship’s hull.
Unfortunately, before this paint can be applied, the hull will typically need to be pressure washed, scraped and then sanded. As you can imagine, this requires removing the boat from the water. By keeping your boat on a lift, you will help to decrease the likelihood that aquatic life will be able to affect your hull. This means a whole lot less washing, scraping, sanding and painting!
2) Your boat will absorb water, causing staining and blistering.
Storing a boat in the water may not seem like a bad idea, but it is truly damaging to the boat. Some of the effects are merely cosmetic (hull staining), while others pose a threat to the boat in more significant ways. Most boats have areas that are porous, like the fiberglass and resin structure. As fiberglass hulled boats remain immersed, osmotic pressure causes water to seep underneath the gel coating. This can lead to blistering and eventual delamination of your fiberglass hull. As you can imagine, this sort of damage can be more than just expensive to repair. Many times it can mean the end of your vessel!
So, what can be done to prevent blistering and hull delamination? First, before purchasing your boat, check to see which type of resin has been used. A builder’s specific choice of resin may help to deter blisters. Second, apply a barrier coat. Usually an epoxy, or similar material that seals out the moisture, is better than a polyester gel coat. As you may have realized, one of the keys in keeping the barrier coat intact involves reducing the need to sand the hull for the application of anti-foul paint (discussed above). Each time you take steps to reapply anti-foul, you actually end up hurting the barrier coat itself. Finally, you should reduce the amount of time that your boat stays in the water.
Depending on the boat you have and the investment you made, you may or may not be concerned with cosmetic blemishes. However, most boat owners take great pride in their watercraft and want it to remain as pristine as possible. Furthermore, blistering and hull delamination seriously decrease the safety of the vessel. In the end, your best defense against blistering is to be a good boat owner and invest in all of the proper precautions. Storing your boat off of the water on a high quality lift will help to reduce time consuming maintenance and will reduce the likelihood of damaging your barrier coat. In addition to being a time saver, using a boat lift also will help to maintain the appearance of the boat and improve its resale value down the road.
3) Vessels left in the water have increased damage from corrosion and electrolysis.
Your hull isn’t the only part of the watercraft that will have to deal with the ramifications of constant contact with the water. A great deal of the metal parts on your vessel may also be at risk for damage. Corrosion is the gradual destruction of metals through electrochemical oxidation, commonly known as rusting for iron. Electrolysis is the chemical decomposition produced by passing an electric current through a liquid or solution containing ions. Electrolysis, which occurs to most metals, can lead to extensive damage when a boat is left in the water for extended periods of time.
Imagine pulling your boat from the water only to find metal fittings, props, and more all but eaten away. Even worse, the same sort of damage can take place inside your engine block, manifold and pumps as well. This sort of damage can be extremely bad as you can’t typically see it until your boat simply breaks down. The use of special anodes can help offset this to a degree; however, the best means of preventing it is through the use of a boat lift. This will give your boat the time out of the water it needs to keep the damage to a minimum.
4) Save time to get in and out of the water.
In addition to preventing corrosion and damage to your boat, the use of a boat lift will also save you time and make your time on the water more enjoyable by making it easier to get your boat in and out of the water. Proper dry-docking on a boat lift also greatly enhances access to the watercraft for boarding, fueling and maintenance. Depending on where you are located, you may experience fluctuations in water levels. These can be major or minor instabilities, but they will most certainly have an impact on your boat and your ability to get your boat in or out of the water. When using a boat lift, however, you can feel secure in the fact that your watercraft is resting securely, no matter the level of the water. When it is time to be underway, simply lower the lift into the water and drive away. You can not underestimate the convenience a boat lift will bring and how much of your valuable time you will save by not having to constantly drag your boat out of the water the old-fashioned way.
5) Prevent damage to your watercraft due to inclement weather.
Protect your investment! Watercraft dry-docked on a boat lift do not need lines or bumpers. Boat lifts prevent the watercraft from hitting the dock during heavy wake or inclement weather, avoiding scrapes and bruises from bouncing around in a tied-off wet slip mooring. When properly configured, a boat lift can dry dock your vessel well above storm surge. Also, the Boat Owner’s Association of the United States recently took a look at insurance claims and found that 69% of boats sink at the dock or mooring. With a boat lift you do not need to constantly worry about your bilge pump. If your bilge pump fails while you are away, your boat is still safely dry-docked with a boat lift.
No matter how large or small your boat is, it is a true investment that needs to be protected. When you buy a boat lift from Imm Quality boat lifts, you are taking the necessary measures to protect your investment. In addition to building the finest, most reliable lifts, our full-service engineering department is unique to the industry. We have made numerous innovations and have generated more patents than all other boat lift manufacturers combined. Our lifts are the most advanced designs on the market. From personal watercraft to full custom designs for the largest yachts, our customers can depend on our products being exceptionally engineered and thoroughly tested.
Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions about our products or boat lifts in general. We look forward to helping you find the right solution for your docking needs!