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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Bartlett, IL
    Posts
    310

    Default Boat Lift and Boat left in the water over the winter months

    So I have been thinking about purchasing a lift for my 6000lbs Sea Ray, it is a 1989 2600 Overnighter. The area where I will be keeping her is in an area where the piers are steel filled with concrete and do not get pulled during the winter. The owner of the piers installs bubblers during the winter so the water does not freeze anywhere in and or around the area of the lake. Here are my thoughts that I am looking for input on.

    1). If the water does not freeze and there are no "iceberg’s" why can't I leave the lift in the water year round if the lift is aluminum with stainless steel hardware?
    2). Besides the items in #1 above what other things would I have to give thought to in regard to the type of lift I look at purchasing? (Electric lift, Hydraulic lift etc...)
    3). The boat, If I feel comfortable leaving the lift in the water during the winter why not the boat? (Winterizing, biodegradable antifreeze's etc...???)

    On #2 above, I would think if anything is below the waterline it will not freeze because the water is not cold enough to form ice due to the bubblers I mentioned above but if there are any freezeable parts above the waterline then I need to give serious though to either not purchasing a lift with such parts or find a way to keep them from freezing.

    At the end of the day here is what I am looking for. To cut operating costs when it comes to our boating. I figure if the lift is aluminum with stainless steel hardware it should not rust so why pay to have it installed and removed each year? same with the boat. I have been winterizing my own boats for well over 25yrs with no problems so why not just simply do it on the lift with products that will not harm the environment. Heck I could cut my operating cost by roughly $1,000 per year and with the rising cost of fuel that extra savings could go into my tank instead of the lift guy and storage place.

    If I am missing something please feel free to chime in.

    Thanks,
    Wags

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Phelps, WI
    Posts
    6,459

    Default

    Many OEMS make lifts so don't know what brand? Talk to OEM before you do it. I left lifts in water over the winter no problems for 14 years or so but moving ice jams made me nervous every Spring. Don't leave boat on lift in winter season that is an enormous gamble. How much added weight to lift with a 20" snow storm & stress on hull? Also if water gets in boat you will have a weight problem. In Canada they leave big boats during winter in slips supported above water by huge wooden beams so it can be done.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Door County WI
    Posts
    1,796

    Default

    I would never leave a boat in the water during the winter unless it is in an attended marina. Too much risk of power going out to the bubblers, snow weight, water, bilge pump failure, etc. Seems like a huge risk.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Bartlett, IL
    Posts
    310

    Default

    Thanks guy's, I do not plan on leaving it in the water but better yet on the lift above the water. The lift I am looking at is over sized for the boat plus I live right there so even if we were to get a big dumping of snow I could clear off the snow with no problem. The boat sits on its trailer all winter now and I pull the drain plug which is what I would do on the lift as well so I have no worries in regard to water getting inside or a bilge pump failure. I think the only issue I am worried about is the hydraulic lines above the water line freezing, bursting and causing the lift to collapse. Maybe there's a way I could support the boat and lift with some blocking, I'll start thinking about that a bit.

    Thanks,
    Wags

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Waterford/Sidnaw, Mi.
    Posts
    1,879

    Default

    Wags
    The real problem will come in the spring when the ice around the shore melts. As this ice shrinks, it will drift around the lake from the wind.

    I saw a lift get crushed by the the ice flow coming across the lake on a very windy day. This was on a small inland lake. Fortunately, there was no boat on it but it was destroyed as well as the rock seawall they had.

    We leave a lift in all year but it is in a canal with a current. We do not leave the boat on it but many neighbors do.

    Dave

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Phelps, WI
    Posts
    6,459

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by wags View Post
    Thanks guy's, I do not plan on leaving it in the water but better yet on the lift above the water. The lift I am looking at is over sized for the boat plus I live right there so even if we were to get a big dumping of snow I could clear off the snow with no problem. The boat sits on its trailer all winter now and I pull the drain plug which is what I would do on the lift as well so I have no worries in regard to water getting inside or a bilge pump failure. I think the only issue I am worried about is the hydraulic lines above the water line freezing, bursting and causing the lift to collapse. Maybe there's a way I could support the boat and lift with some blocking, I'll start thinking about that a bit.

    Thanks,
    Wags
    If boat is on trailer in off season what is the attraction to leave on lift?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Bartlett, IL
    Posts
    310

    Default

    Storage fee's......

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    close to the edge.
    Posts
    6,105

    Default

    in my parts depending on what part of the lake you are on some keep dock in all yr it is called the 13yr Gamble.
    all good untill winds shift ice moves and twists steel like a krazy straw but only 13yrs or so it happens.
    I shook the dice this yr and came out fine
    the lift you are talking about is going to take better part of 10 yrs to pay for it self got to ask your self really worth it? will I have the boat that long? is the boat worth that much?
    I dont see a issue with any thing keeping it on the lift except making sure lower unit is coverd so no rain/ waves fill it and crack it. shrink wrapping could be hard in a row boat unless you just use your cover but most of those dont hold up to a wet heavy 12 in snow fall.will marina let you keep it in?
    if you have a trailer how could this save you money?
    I have a crap trailer that I hardly trust for the 3mi it goes a yr but cheep trailer 90 bucks of shrink wrap 6 bucks for gal muratic acid and 12 in antifreze and 120 for storage on the edge of a corn field is far from a grand a yr and real far from a 10g lift.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Phelps, WI
    Posts
    6,459

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by wags View Post
    Storage fee's......
    If worth the gamble savings on storage & lift removal go for it since you feel nothing bad will happen. Sell the trailer too don't need that & saves storage fees as well. Now days trend is to not buy trailer let Marina handle everything just gas & go let Marina know in & out dates. Not my style but way of the future for most that have large boats also have big bucks too so not concerned with costs.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Bartlett, IL
    Posts
    310

    Default

    The location (slip) is way back in from the main body of the inland lake the boat is on. The location is associated with the subdivision I live in (my house is about a 1/4 block from the slip) and the ice on the lake is way on the other side and has never come close to getting near my slip. It would need to go through at least 20other piers that are made of solid steel filled with concrete.(the pylons are steel tube sunk then filled with cement and the walking surface is a steel pan filled with concrete).

    The lift I am looking at is a Shore Master and is 2yrs old; they are asking around 4k so I figure I can pick it up for around $3.5k. The lift will keep the boat and lower unit out of the water or I can keep it lower and have the outdrive sit in the water a bit. It should not matter if it sits out of the water after it is winterized as the internals of the outdrive will be protected with the biodegradable antifreeze. I will drain the outdrive oil and flush it then refill with new oil so any water that may have been in there is out and cannot freeze and crack the housing just like as if it was sitting on its trailer.
    My trailer is newer and in great shape so I should be able to sell it since I will not need it anymore and use that money towards gas for the boat...
    The cost in this area to store a boat ranges and my boat (27ft) is on average between $350.00 and $400.00 then there is the trailer storage of $150.00.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    60004 & 54554
    Posts
    39

    Default

    Depending on the value of your boat, the story I always relate too, back in the early 80's my dad waitied a life time to purchase a house boat, he finally got his wish, had it one season, my Mom thought it was foolish to have someone winterize it and store it, well Pop's passed away weeks after his first winter storage, mom sold the boat in the spring for $8K, when the marina put the boat in for the new seller, they discovered both blocks had frozen over the winter and cracked, the marina charged her $7k to replace both blocks. She only received one thousand dollars after the ordeal.
    Morral of the story, if you own a boat, it is a money pit, pay to have it done professionally, and you will have no problems. just my two cents.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Homer Glen, Illinois
    Posts
    71

    Default

    If you remove the plug to allow the water out & something happens to the lift you are going to have a boat full of water. There is no way I'd keep it on the lift during the winter. Too many potential problems.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Stevens Point, WI
    Posts
    212

    Default

    I think this is one of those ideas that are best left alone. There is a reason no one leaves there boats in the water over winter. Listen to the wise and save yourself the trouble that could happen if you leave it in and "Try to make it work." Just take it out every winter and pay the storage fees if you have too. Like Dave_B stated, I too have seen ice destroy things on a lake. To much risk for such little work and fees.

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