Posted on September 15, 2022
It’s uncomfortable for us to stand or move on uneven ground or at a very steep angle, and it’s just as uncomfortable for your boat lift to hold your boat up at an angle. The short answer to “Does a boat lift need to be level?” is yes, it does.
Your vertical lift should be level within an inch or so. If your level is off by more than that—say, six, seven, or eight inches off—this will cause premature wear on your pulleys, which, at best, is a repair or replacement that will cost time and money, and at worst, could cause damage to your boat lift, dock, or boat. A cantilever boat lift doesn’t need to be perfectly level, but that doesn’t mean you can ignore leveling out your lift completely.
The front and rear of your lift should be level with each other. Assuming you don’t have a floating boat lift that automatically adjusts to the water level, this likely means that your back legs will be longer than your front legs, especially if you have a downward slope from your shoreline. This could even change between seasons.
The purpose of keeping your boat lift level is to distribute the weight of your boat more evenly and effectively across the lift. Even distribution of the pressure your boat puts on a lift will help wear your cables evenly and prevent excess strain on your boat lift. This will save you in repairs and replacements for your boat lift and potentially for your dock and boat as well.
The best way to make sure your boat is level on your lift is to ensure that you’ve set it up to be as level as possible in the first place before it even goes in the water. Springtime installation is a great time to ensure that your lift is level before boating season starts.
The way you load your boat onto the lift will also help maintain consistent pressure. Be careful whenever you drive your boat onto the lift so that it’s positioned properly before lifting. ShoreMaster has boat lift accessories and parts that can make this process easier, including guide-ons, bow guides, and PVC guides. These are simple but very effective tools to help you spot, center, and guide your boat gently into place.
If your water level fluctuates throughout the boating season or between seasons, adjustable boat lift leveling legs might be an investment worth considering. This isn’t the best option if you live where the water level gradually drops between 12 and 18 inches throughout the boating season. However, you can accommodate the drop by changing where the rack beam is positioned, but adjustable boat lift leveling legs might be worth it if you need to rethink where to position the lift legs constantly. Your local waterfront dealer will be able to help you decide.
If you’re in the market for a boat lift, ShoreMaster is a great place to look. Since we pioneered the aluminum boat lift decades ago, we’ve been a market leader and constant innovator in waterfront equipment. We have cantilever and boat lift options, including hydraulic boat lifts and pontoon boat lifts, with the highest quality construction and best marine-grade materials on the market for just about any size boat and any type of water. For more information on what kind of boat lift would fit your watercraft and shoreline, get in touch with a local ShoreMaster dealer.