Summer is boating season, and going out boating with a bunch of friends or family members on a typical summer day is always a good time. So, whether this is your first summer on the water or you have been boating for decades, we have one gentle reminder about summer rain and keeping your boat on a lift. You need to make sure that the rainwater doesn’t overload your lift.
Many people believe that installing a bilge pump system, especially one with a high flow rate (> 1,000 gallons per hour), is enough to safeguard their boat on a lift. In fact, some people will turn off the system when the boat is on the lift, thinking it is completely safe because it is “out of the water”. You should NEVER do this. Water weighs 8.345 pounds per gallon and excess water can quickly overload a boat lift. Rainwater may accumulate in a hull location that is off-center to the lift, causing excess stress on one corner of the lift that may cause a failure. Always leave your bilge pump system active when your boat is on the lift.
Even with a good bilge pump system, heavy rainfalls from summer storms can easily overwhelm the bilge system. And the torrential rains from tropical storms and hurricanes can overwhelm the bilge pump in a matter of minutes, overloading the lift to the point of catastrophic failure. That is why it is also a good idea to open your boats drain plugs when it is stored on a lift (just don’t forget to put them back in before you go boating again). Furthermore, if you know a hurricane is coming, it is always best to remove your boat to dry land during the storm.
It is better to be safe than sorry, and if you take this advice, your boat and lift will safely weather the summer storms. We hope you enjoy your time on the water, and please, don’t wind up like this guy!