Why Is My Boat Lift Crooked? 5 Reasons

Multiple reasons cause a boat lift to be uneven. This list will address the different reasons for the different types of boat lifts.

1. The legs supporting the lift are uneven.

This is true for bottom-supporting lifts. These types of lifts have legs that rest on the ground under the water. If one of the legs is uneven, then the rest of the lift will be crooked. To fix this, remove your boat from the lift and then raise it back up. Check each leg and see which one is uneven with the rest of them and adjust as necessary. All legs should be adjustable in this type of lift.

2. Cabling is not winding at the same rate as the other motors.

When you have an electric cabling lift for your vessel, it is essential for all the motors to work at the same rate. Depending on your setup, a motor may be running faster than the others causing your boat lift to be crooked. A lot of these types of setups will have the option to run one motor at a time for leveling purposes. See if your control panel has a feature like this. You may be able to turn one of the motors off to level out the rest as well.

3. Floating lift is not filling with air correctly.

If you have a floating lift, things might be a bit more difficult to figure out. A floating lift has different chambers that fill with air to lift your boat out of the water. When you need to lower your boat, those chambers are emptied and filled with water, to lower the lift and your boat into the water. The reason your boat may look crooked can vary. The cause could be just a heavier section of the boat such as the engine. This may give the appearance of a crooked lift, but it is just the heavier part.

4. The boat is too heavy for the lift.

This is going to be most common in floating lifts or pile lifts. Pile lifts connect to the dock and lift the boat high out of the water. If it looks like your boat is tipping away from the dock, make sure your pile lift is rated for the weight of your boat. If it is rated correctly, consider checking out where it is mounted to the dock and make sure your dock is not rotting. Docks do wear out over time.

5. Bunks or Beams are not level.

Bunks are what guide your boat onto the lift and secure it in its parking spot. If you drive your boat onto the lift and the beams are not sized for your boat it could lean to one side heavily. This is why you need to make sure your lift is sized for your boat. The beams are the supports that run horizontally to the bunks. They help hold the bunks in place. That could become uneven over time and should be checked for levelness as well.

There may be other reasons your boat lift is uneven, but these are typically the main causes. The real question now it how do you get it fixed?

How Do I Fix My Crooked Boat Lift – DIY Or Professional

To fix your crooked boat life, the safest thing to do is hire a professional. You can find a local dock or boat lift company in your area that will come out and fix your issues. They will also do yearly service inspections of your lift if needed.

You can fix your boat lift yourself if you know how. First thing you need to do is figure out the cause of the issue and then research that specific fix. Another good thing to do is talk to people at your local marina or public docks. They will have a bunch of information and some names of people in the are that can help you out.

I recommend a professional if you can afford it. It is the safest option for you. Trying to fix this large heavy lift can cause injury. If you try to DIY it, just be careful and have your friends help you.

3 Main Types Of Boat Lifts – Descriptions Included

1. Standing Boat Lift

The standing boat lift is held in place by legs that rest on the bottom ground. Usually it is 4 legs that rest on the ocean or lake floor. They can be adjusted one by one to level out the lift. Make sure the ground is solid where you put this.

2. Floating Lift

The floating lift floats on the water. It is a very basic lift and can be used with and without power depending on the type of floating lift you purchase. Some floating lifts have an electronic component. You flip the switch to fill the lift with air, which raises the boat out of the water. When you want to use the boat, the switch will then release the air causing the lift to sink and return your boat to the waters edge.

3. Piling Lift

Piling lifts are connected to the dock or pilings. This requires the dock to be very secure. If the dock has to hold the entire weight of a boat, it needs to be strong. These types of lifts will have a motor that raises and lowers the boat. They are a little bit pricey but very nice to have.

4. Shore Mounted Lifts

These are the most basic type of lifts. They rest on the shore and you just drive the boat up onto it. There is usually a winch as well that will pull your boat up on to the lift. When you need to launch the boat it is usually fairly simple to slide the boat back into the water. These are designed for much smaller boats or jet skis.

Another question you might ask yourself is should my boat lift be level?

Should My Boat Lift Be Level? – Absolutely

The boat lift should always be level to keep the weight of the boat evenly distributed. An uneven boat lift will cause too much weight in one or multiple sections of the lift causing the lift to wear out more quickly overtime.

Some people may tell you to lower the back end of the lift some to help with drainage, but this is not the case. Most boats are designed to drain any excess water when level on the trailer. The concept is the same for the boat lift.

If you have a small lightweight boat and know it wont hurt the lift, you could lower the back end of the boat lift to help drain the excess water more quickly. Just be careful when doing this.

Final Thoughts On Boat Lifts

When it comes to crooked boat lifts the first thing to do is find the issue. If you are comfortable with doing this yourself, it will save you a bunch of money. The only thing to remember is be careful. It is not worth injuring yourself to save a few bucks. Most companines will come out and assess the situation for a small fee or possibly for free. They will just charge you for the fix in the end. There are a lot of different types of lifts out there and knowing which one you have will help speed up the process. The more electronics and motors on your lift, the more it will cost to maintain. Just keep that in mind. Cheers!


Boatlifehq owner and author/editor of this article.

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