Stress – Even Boat Lifts experience it

Stress – Even boat lifts are under stress – this year more than ever before due to the high waters.  

Why? High water increases the stress on your cables.

We’ve previously informed you of the danger to boat lift cables during a storm.  If the waves hit the bottom of your boat it will momentarily lift the boat and then allow it to fall back on the rack.  What if the cables are weakened by rust and frays?  The “bouncing” effect can completely sever a cable into two pieces. 

The boat only lifts a fraction of an inch – right?!! 

How can that movement harm the cables?

Even though the boat only rises a fraction of an inch, the energy of the “falling” boat must be absorbed by the boat rack. The cables in each corner of the lift must, in turn, absorb the stress of a moving 3-5,000 pound boat.

Having said that, a weakened cable is in imminent danger of breaking. Think of an 80-100 lb jackhammer used to break up concrete. Even reinforced concrete can not withstand the movement of the bit hitting the concrete.

With a boat, you are talking about a potential 5,000 lb weight dropping on a rack compared to an 80-100 lb. weight.

Protect your cables!  It only takes a  minute or two to protect your cables from rust. It’s simple and easy to do.  A convenient link* is provided below so you can learn more about this. 

What are the defect warning signs?

There are warning signs of defects in your cables?  If your cables look like any of these, it’s time to replace them. Need more information?  Here’s an article that addresses this issue.

Always remember – it is possible to have broken strands inside your cable without any exterior signs of damage. This situation is especially true on stainless steel cables which do not rust.

What’s a quick way to reduce the stress on the cables?

At the beginning of the year, we place your boat lift in the requested location.  We adjust the height of the legs based on what the current water level is.

Unfortunately, the water has continued to rise this year and that may no longer be suitable for the conditions you have today.  Add to this the Seiche waves (pronounced “say-sh”) which are standing waves that form in a confined body of water.  The friction of the wind against the surface of the water causes wave action. 

As waves move towards the shoreline the water gets shallower and the moving waves rise higher. Standing waves, in general, can form in any type of semi-enclosed or enclosed body of water. When these rising waves hit the bottom of your boat the boat does what it is designed to do – it floats on the water.  

Your Lift rack may be too close

The lift rack could be too close to the water to protect your boat with the rising water.  As a result, you are not able to raise the boat high enough to keep it above the waves.  On the other hand, If the rack is set too high in the water, you may not be able to get your boat on the lift. It’s a delicate balance.  The variable is the changing depth of the water.

What can I do?

One way to raise the boat higher is to purchase longer legs and replace the standard lengths with new ones.

A less costly alternative is to simply move your lift closer to shore. It will be in shallower water and save you having to buy longer legs and the labor to install them.

If you keep the standard legs and don’t allow us to place the lift closer to the shore, you are inviting costly repairs or even replacements. 

In Conclusion

Get out there and take care of those cables. Check out the link below.  Then, consider moving the lift closer to shore.

* Wire Rope Lubrication link.

Tell Your Friends & Family

Have friends or neighbors you believe should see this article? Email them a link to this article – and Thank you!

You can visit Pier & Waterfront Solutions on Facebook also.

Don’t Forget –  PWS is the expert when you have a waterfront problem!

Where is Pier & Waterfront Solutions?

Located at 7325 St. Hwy 57, we are about 3 miles south of Sturgeon Bay, and 1 mile past the intersection of Cty MM (heading north). Look for the intersection of Idlewild Road and Hwy 57.


Pier & Waterfront Solutions has remained “open.” We have implemented measures to ensure the safety of our employees and visitors. As of Aug 1st, Wisconsin mandates the use of face masks. We also endorse this to slow the spread of Covid-19.  It’s the only known method to control the spread at this time.

While all this is going on, we are working to maintain the trusted service you expect.  That’s important to us.

We are conducting as much business as possible by email, text, or phone. Site visits will continue as usual. When in-person contacts are necessary, we follow “social distancing” guidelines as closely as possible.

When can I see the display yard?

Our display yard is always open for you to examine at your leisure. All displays have a numbered, red tag on them. If you want more information or pricing, please reference that number.

How will I get my estimate?

We provide estimates and invoices by email to make the process paperless and faster. With these measures, we hope everyone will stay safe, and we will be back to normal operations soon. 

What can YOU do to help our crews? 

Please conduct as much business as possible via emails, messaging, and emails. When you see our crews working in your area, please practice “social distancing.”

Call, message, or use this simple request form to get answers and quotes.

Thank you for allowing us to work with you – safely.

Let’s all stay safe!