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beer batter

dry docked boats

25 posts in this topic

How do people typically get their boat off a boat-lift when water levels go down to the point where the boat won't float off the lift any longer?

Planning for the worst as it looks like my son's football schedule won't allow me to get back to the lake for at least 3 weeks, and I had less than an inch to spare before my boat would no longer be able to float off the lift. I had to give it a few pushes to get it off last time, I'm concerned I won't be able to push it off next time unless we get some rain.

Probably should have trailered it then, but didn't realize I wouldn't be able to get back for 3 weeks until we got back and saw the football schedule.

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Pray for rain smile No, really, we had that issue last summer, but it tends to rain more in the fall, so I would think your lake might come up a bit in the next three weeks. Otherwise, I can't help. Sorry!

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I would take a day off from the football schedule and get it off the lift asap instead of gambling for more rain. Or if you have a local marina/dock place at your lake - pay them to move the lift for you or maybe they can put it on a trailer and store it for you until you can make it back up there.

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I had this issue when we first put in our lift two years ago during a dry spell. Didn't have the thing far out enough to be able to float the boat.

-The engine couldn't pull me off (made a nice deep spot though that's still there today!)

-Using 10 foot 2x12's provided a lot of leverage by pushing from the front plus reverse engine thrust, but still no dice. The boat was not coming off easily. (1650 Fishhawk)

-Since we put my father in law's 1650 on the lift to install the canopy, I had an idea to pull it off using my boat (90hp Evinrude). Engine to engine facing with a rope on both sides and it popped right off. Obviously not the best way, but an option if you've got some nice neighbors.

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Ya I would say if your that worried take a day off and go get it down now before the water gets lower. Or pray it rains and you can get it off later this fall.

Next year put it out another 100' if you can in your area.

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There are a couple ways to do this. Shovelling is okay but the dirt fills in as fast as you take it out, I have seen people use leaf blowers/backpack style and air compressors to blow out the ground under the lift without alot of success. What I would suggest, is get a couple of inner tubes and drop the lift so the boat is bouyant on the tubes and slide it back. Once you get it back a couple feet it should slide off. I have also heard of people using the tube under the front supports and inflating it to tip the front of the lift to slide the boat into the water but you need to have the availability of an air compressor to do this. Hope this helps.

Tunrevir~

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Thanks for all the quick replies.

As much as I'd love to take a day off at the lake, it just isn't in the cards to get up there any time soon.

Like I said, this is all a hypothetical worst case scenario so I hope I don't have to use any of the suggestions. I did come up with a couple ideas though.

1) Along the lines of Ralph Wiggums idea to shovel under the lift, I wonder if a power sprayer head shoved under water would be able to dig a deeper hole for the boat lift legs to sink down a bit.

2) Lay some 2x12's under the boat cross-wise floating on tractor tire tubes (the type you float down on a river). Lower the boat on to the 2x12's and hope the tubes would give some extra buoyancy higher up in the water column to help if float off.

Using both 1 and 2 along with Solbes idea of pulling the boat off the lift with another boat should get me off any worst case conditions that can happen over 3 weeks I'd think.

Anyone else have suggestions or thoughts? See what kind of creative thinkers are out there.

Edit: tunrevir, you entered your post as I was typing mine. We came up with very similar ideas. Thanks for the suggestion.

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I got some 55 gallon plastic drums and used cargo straps to get them under the lift. My lift has a set up that allows you to push the boat cradle down, causing the lift legs to break up out of the muck. You may be able to slide straps under the horizontal pieces of the lift and then use the racheting action to tighten the strap and sink the barrels. Maybe a comealong would also work. Since your problem involves both the lift and the boat I could see this requiring at least 4 barrels. If by chance you break the whole thing loose then you may be able to get it out into deeper water to get the boat off the lift. That would be a bit easier if you also were able to get some wheels back onto the lift, but that much clearance may be hard to obtain. If you try this be sure to have plenty of straps on the barrels - both ends - as they have a lot of pressure when you get them sunk. Also be sure to stand clear and make sure the crew understands what is going on with each step.

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Here's the best option.

Buy about 5 lbs and hamburger, chips, buns and 3 cases of Mountain Dew. Then invite the team up to the cabin for a cook out and some water skiing. The youth will think it's totally cool that they get to go in the water and prove how great they are and grunt a lot and accomplish something. If they're old enough to drive you won't even have to haul them up!!!!

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In 3 weeks let us know how things turned out ... should be interesting if it ends up being "dry docked".

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I just looked at the long range forecast and it's calling for rain 6 of the next 10 days. You should be okay if it pans out that way.

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Beer-Batter,

How hard is it to get the boat off the lift the last time you were at your place?

A few years ago we had to push our boat off the lift due to the low water. Unless the boat is completely out of the water when the lift is all the way down you should be able to get it off with a little elbow grease. However, be careful because this is a good way to damage your lift. It all depends on how low the water is and how big of a boat you have. We pushed an 18 ft. Alumacraft w/ 115hp motor.

An old neighbor of my parents told a story that one year they had to get a team of horses out to get the boats off the lifts.

One more suggestion is if you can time the weather with taking your boat out. On a windy day the waves will help lift your boat off the lift. Just don't get pushed too far forward.

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The boat came off the lift pretty easily just prior to Labor Day. Just had to get everyone (4 people) to the back of the boat while I pushed the nose off the front lift pads, then it was easy to slide the rest off. I have a Crestliner 1850 Phantom SST Sportfish with a 140hp, so it's got some weight that would be tough to move if completely dry docked.

I'm sure I'll be fine with some of the ideas posted here and some additional elbow grease. Hope for rain too.

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I am making an unscheduled trip up to Otter Tail this weekend for this very reason. Brother was up there 2 weeks ago and had to push it off the lift. Next trip isn't until October so I don't want to chance it. Plus... bonus fishing time!

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I would imagine there's a lot of people with shallow lakeshore properties that could be in the same "boat" in the near future. Let us know your situation when you get back.

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I have had this problem the last two years. I have an Alumacraft Tournament Pro 185 with a 115 Yammi. I have full length bunks on the lift and it gets to the point that the front of the bunks don't even get completely into the water, so she is dry docked pretty good. The best way I have found to get it off the lift is to get yourself a nylon rope, I believe mine is an inch. Get it long enough that you can tie it to the back vertical post on your lift, run it up to the bow of your boat and through the eye that the strap for your trailer hooks to, and then back down the other side of your boat far enough to hook it to a come-along that is secured either to your dock somewhere, or to the other vertical post at the back of your lift. Then I just crank away on the come-along until it slides off far enough to float. You may have to tie the rope to make it shorter as you go as the boat moves back. Hope this helps.

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Retired - Aren't you putting an awful strain on those posts? If they're aluminum you could end up with a pretty good crink in them if you're not careful.

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Tom7227- I thought that over before I attempted it the first time. My lift is heavy duty because of the size of the boat. It's a Shoremaster 30108. Your right, I wouldn't try this with some of the lighter lifts you see around. The vertical posts are 3"x 3" X 1/4" Aluminum. Since the water is low, where I tie the rope on is only about a foot above where the rectangular corner plate that the vertical, horizontal bottom, and angle brace from the front post are all welded. It is pretty strong at this point. I may be concerned if I was a few feet higher up because that would be a lot of leverage on the post. It's not like I am trying to lift the boat either. I am just pulling it back on the bunks. Once I get the carpet on the bunks wet on the part that isn't in the water the boat slides back fairly easy. Four guys could probable push it off but my wife and I don't have enough umph.

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It happened to me on Otter Tail last year so we bought 32 ft more of dock last month. It did finally rain last year but I will never let that happen again. We have a vertical lift so digging it down is easier than the caviler type lift. I can get it down by about 6 inches or so by digging. It really only delayed the problem because the water just went lower. I've heard that this happens every year and your local boat dealers could give you names of people that could get it off.

One idea is to put 4 or 6 inches of foam between 2 pieces of 3/4" particle board and put it under the front and back, then lower the lift. I've used ths method to put out steel dock and lifts in the past. Or you could sand bag around your boat and then fill it with water.

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Had to use a rope to pull the boat off with the lift cranked all the way down. Crossing my fingers for some rain for the final trip in early October.

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Forgot to mention, got up to the lake last weekend and trailered the boat. The boat came off the lift without much hassle, but it does feel better knowing it's off the lift being that I won't make it back for quite a while now.

Man, between the football and basketball going on simultaneously(not to mention the kids homework) it pretty much shuts down the fall activities on the water. Looking forward to MEA now.

Additional info to note for those that may be in this situation. A lake neighbor of mine used the power sprayer last year on his lift and it worked great. Turn that nozzle up on high and stick it down under the boat lift pads and you can dig a hole as deep as you want, even bury the lift if you need to. His boat 4 inches above the water level last year when his lift was fully lowered, and he was able to power spray around his lift enough to drop it so that the boat floated off easily.

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