How to Use a Boat Lift

A boat lift is to a boat as a garage is to a car. A lift protects a boat from the natural elements as well as other boats. An owners can protect his lift and keep it in good working condition with care while operating and regular maintenance.

Lower the boat. Power the lift's motor with a switch to begin lowering the boat down into the water. Discontinue the lift's power switch once the boat is afloat or if the lift is supported by cables and there's slack in the cables.

Drive the boat off of the lift. One person enters the boat as a driver and one person remains near the lift's power switch as an operator. Power the boat engine and steer the vehicle off of and away from the lift.

Protect the lift. Start the lift's motor and raise the lift until it's just above the surface of the water. This prevents additional corrosion or use by another boat.

Reposition the boat back onto the lift. Turn on the lift's motor and lower the lift back into the water so that it either hits the bottom or the cables slack. Turn the lift's motor off and drive the boat onto the lift using the lift's poles as a guide to properly size the boat. Kill the boat engine.

Raise the boat. Power the lift's motor to raise the lift as high as it can go with either still allowing the driver to safely exit or so that the top of the boat doesn't hit the dock roof.


  • Stay clear of all moving parts while the lift is in operation. Make sure the space underneath the lift is clear before the lift is lowered.


  • Maintain a boat lift by regularly lubricating the gears, steel cables and other moving parts with grease. Check for any cracks in the belts, defaults in the electrical cables and cuts in the wire insulation. Replace if necessary.
  • If the boat is going to be away from the dock for more than one day, raise the lift to the normal up level position and shut all power to the lift from the circuit breaker.

About the Author

This article was written by a professional writer, copy edited and fact checked through a multi-point auditing system, in efforts to ensure our readers only receive the best information. To submit your questions or ideas, or to simply learn more, see our about us page: link below.