Repairing Vs. Replacing a Boat Lift

Maintaining your boat’s home

It’s important to realize that your boat lift and your boat go hand in hand (quite literally). If your lift isn’t maintained properly, there’s a great chance your boat is going to feel some sort of impact from the damage done. This is why it’s important to “check-in” on your boat lift to ensure everything is functioning properly and no issue is overlooked. Read on to determine common issues and if they call for replacing or repairing your boat lift.


As we all know, nothing lasts forever. Cables will have to be replaced periodically depending on how often they are used and the water they reside in. Fresh water cables will typically have a longer lifespan as they are not affected by the salt. Regardless, your cables should be rinsed off every time you launch the boat and they should not be overboard. This will prevent rust and deterioration over time. All things cared for; experts say that well maintained cable should be replaced every 2 years (just to be safe).

Strong indicators that the cable needs to be replaced immediately include broken strands, kinks, deformities, and areas of heavy abrasion. Concentrations of heavy rust indicate that the steel cable itself has lost considerable strength and is NOT safe – what so ever. If you’re ever in doubt, contact a professional marine contractor and have an expert inspect them to see if you need a cable replacement. Afterall, these are essential to the safety of the overall boat lift.


Again, make sure you are rinsing your beams every time you’re in and out of the water. This will get rid of salt and prevent barnacle growth. Keeping your lift beams out of the water as much as possible when not in use is the best way to reduce wear from electrolysis, salt water, and barnacle growth.


Carpeted wood bunks will need periodic replacing depending on their use and exposure to water (especially saltwater). It is important to examine the wood for rot and cracks as well as the bunk brackets for any sign of wear. Again, when in doubt, contact a marine contractor. They will provide you with a thorough explanation on whether these bunks need a repair or replacement.


This bad boy is essentially the “life line” of your lift. You’ll want to check your motor frequently by lifting the cover to ensure the belts are not loose, broken, or frayed. If any of these signs are apparent, you’ll want to call your marine technician to have it repaired right away. With that being said, make sure to grease all of your grease points every 8-12 months so your motors are able to operate at their optimal performance. Lastly, rust is the enemy. If you notice any rust, have a professional come out to determine what the next steps will be.


Pulley’s need to be greased every 4-6 months depending on how often the boat lift is used. If you’re hearing a squeak sound, this is pretty great notice that they need to be greased.

If they are not cared for properly, friction between the sheaves and the sheave mounts will increase causing the sheaves to eventually seize up. Be sure to check the hardware (nuts and bolts) often to ensure they are on tight. One loose bolt can wreak havoc.

So, it’s apparent – boat lift repair/replacement will vary depending on the use as well as the type of water the lift resides in. Therefore, it is essential to “know” your lift and check in frequently to ensure everything is functioning properly. Afterall, a little TLC here and there never hurt anyone.
As always, feel free to call to call us with any questions (843) 557-1234.