Boat Lift Repair

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Boat Lift Repair Overview

What are Boat Lifts?

Your boat lift is invaluable in keeping your boat safe. Keeping your boat out of the water can save you vast amounts of money from damage that occurs by keeping it in full time.

You might need to repair your boat lift because of neglect, overuse, or simply time. Like any piece of equipment, it can start to have trouble as it ages.

What Problems It Solves:

Any part of your boat lift is subject to deterioration. You can have mechanical problems with the controls, need some boat lift winch repair, or simply need a facelift.

If you live on the water, coastal boat lift repairs are usually easy to find, but they all offer some advantages and disadvantages.

Images of Boat Lift Repair

Advantages & Disadvantages of Boat Lift Repair


Finding a professional boat lift repair service can make your life and water work much easier.

  • You’ll save money in the long run on future boat lift repairs.
  • You will have fewer problems with your machine in the future.
  • You can prevent damage to your boat: leaving your boat in the water increases algae growth and corrosion.
  • Hiring a professional can ensure the job is done well.


Of course, seeking out a boat lift repair near you can come with some disadvantages.

  • If you don’t find the right provider, they may cost you more in unnecessary repairs.
  • You may need more work done if you only treat one problem; for example, if you only fix a faulty motor, you may be increasing strain on other parts of your boat lift.
  • Fixing your boat lift can be costly. This is especially true if you’re using older equipment.
  • Sometimes it’s cheaper to buy new than repair an entire boat lift.

Boat Lift Repair Process


When you hire a contractor, they will:

  • Survey the boat lift looking for potential damage
  • Diagnose the problem based on your observations and theirs
  • Provide a quote by estimating time and the materials cost
  • Begin repairs after your agreement


The materials necessary will vary depending on the problem diagnosed.
Some of these materials may include:

  • Spare and new replacement parts
  • Aluminum where possible to replace steel which may rust

Permitting Process

Regulations and restrictions regarding permits vary depending on the city, county, and state. Always check with local regulations before requesting boat lift repairs or boat lift tank repairs.

Common Problems

Here are some of the most common boat lift problems. Some can be easily diagnosed and treated, while others require a contractor to ascertain what’s wrong. They generally occur when there’s damage to the lift itself, it’s wiring, or the piles.

Noisy Lift

Trapped air in the lift mechanism or the motor can cause an unpleasant noise that can be alarming.

Damaged and Worn Cabling

Examine your lift often and look for worn or fraying cabling. You should replace damaged cables as soon as possible.

Malfunctioning Controls and Wiring Problems

Is the lift running very slowly? Is the lift going higher than it should?

Corrosion in the wiring, whether due to rust, electrical shorts, or malfunctioning controls, are common culprits for wiring problems.

Questions To Ask Contractors

Before choosing a contractor, you will want to ask them some questions:

  • How much experience do they have?
  • What materials and products do they plan on using?
  • Do they specialize in freshwater or saltwater boat lifts?
  • Are they licensed to work on marine structures?

Different Types of Boat Lift Repair

We’re going to go over some common boat lift problems so you can diagnose the issue.

Boat Lift Platform Problems

Depending on the installation of your boat lift, you can encounter some platform problems. Sinking piles (if the boat lift was installed on piles) is a common problem that should be addressed by a qualified marine service professional.

If you have a hydraulic lift, it may be time to check the oil in the reservoir. You can also try to run it a few times to remove air from the system.

A floating boat lift is simpler; simply check the airbags for leaks.


Steel is susceptible to rust and is also a widespread material for constructing boat lifts.

You can prevent rust with protective paint or install aluminum, a non-rusting metal, to avoid the problem altogether.

Electrical Wiring in the Boat Lift

A slow-moving lift may be due to low voltage or faulty electrical wiring. To test the former, you can increase voltage and see if your lift works as usual.

The problem may be the wiring and not the voltage. Wiring in a marine structure is especially susceptible to rust. If it’s damaged, you may need to contact a professional marine electrician.

Boat Lift Cables

If you notice rust or fraying on your cables, it’s time to change them. You should change them every few years, even if you don’t see a problem.

The Motor

The motor runs your boat lift. It can stop because of the same reasons you have other electrical problems: bad wiring, corroded parts, or low voltage and should be repaired or replaced.

Alternative Solutions to Boat Lift Repair

The alternative to professional repairs is to do it yourself (DIY) using the internet, books, and perhaps a friend’s knowledge to diagnose and treat the repair yourself.

Service vs ServiceAdvantagesDisadvantages
Boat Lift Repairs vs DIY

Boat lift repairs, compared to DIY;

  • is done by a more experienced individual, generally
  • provides a warranty for future repairs
  • can cost less due to professionals having access to low-cost parts

Boat lift repairs, compared to DIY;

  • can be expensive
  • takes more time to research and vet contractors

Costs of Boat Lift Repair

The cost of boat lift repair will vary significantly by the type of lift you have, your location, and the service provider. Here’s what to expect after searching “boat lift repair companies near me.”

Usually, when you call someone to repair your boat lift, they will:

  • Perform a diagnostic, usually a flat rate (15 minutes is typically $120-$150).
  • These costs will go up or down depending on the boat lift you own. For example, a more expensive boat lift will need more expensive replacement parts.
  • Boat lift repair can be a few hundred dollars for labor and simple fixes, to a few thousand dollars for structural damage, like collapsing supports.

Bid & Buying Solicitation

Whatever problems your boat lift has, you can find a boat lift contractor near you. Marine Matcher can get you the best service.

DIY Solutions for Boat Lift Repair

If you are feeling brave, you can DIY some repairs to your boat lift. Depending on the issue, Youtube or Google will be your best resource.

Frequently Asked Questions

How often should I service my boat lift?

You should repair any problems you notice immediately to avoid further damage. Some parts, like cables, should be changed every 2-3 years even if you don’t notice a problem.

Is a faulty boat lift dangerous?

Some problems with your boat lift are costly but harmless. Inadequate controls won’t impede you, but they will slow down your lift’s operation.

Other problems pose a threat to you and the environment. If your boat lift is leaking oil or starting to sink, you could be in danger.

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Tell us about your project and we'll follow up with an email to help you find up to three of the best marine construction contractors for your project.

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