Boat Lift Canopy Maintenance

Boat Lift Canopy Maintenance

Boat lift canopy Care will provide you with years of service, if properly used and maintained.

Proper maintenance is important in the Fall

Boat Lift Canopy care is an important step to extending the life of your canopy.  As the air gets cooler and the days shorter, the leaves begin to turn colors. You know what’s ahead.  You can hope for more sunny, warm days but we know that nature is in total control.

image of Fall folage

Fall Foliage

We also know there are some things we need to do to maintain our docks, boat lifts and accessories.  It’s more than simply moving the equipment up on the shore.  Protecting the equipment from the ice is just the beginning of what should be done.

Note – It should be pointed out that while PWS does remove and store your boat canopy in your designated spot as part of our removal service, canopy cleaning is not part of the service due to the length of time it takes to clean and thoroughly dry the cover as explained below.  The process can take a full day to be done properly.  After cleaning the canopy it must be thoroughly dried before storage.

What steps do I need to follow with a Boat Lift Canopy?

Follow these simple rules to get the maximum life from your canopy.

1.  Always avoid allowing water to puddle on the canopy for extended periods of time during the season. Water, excessive bird droppings and dirt cause discoloration.

2.  It’s important to keep the canopy free of battery acid and tree sap.  These may corrode and eat holes in the canopy.

3.  Always fold and store the canopy ONLY when completely dry. Wet or damp vinyl will discolor and form mold/mildew if stored in that condition. Storage in a warm, dry location will extend the life of your canopy.

4.  If stored in a bag make sure it is breathable.  Do not use a plastic bag.  Moisture will be trapped inside and mold or rotting will occur.

5.  DO NOT use chemicals or abrasives to clean a boat lift canopy.  This could damage the vinyl. Use a soft cloth, mild dish soap (like Ivory) and water for best results.

6. Of course, Do Not get too aggressive when cleaning bird droppings from the vinyl cover.  You may wear the protective finish off in that area or tear the vinyl.

7.  If weather is threatening, keep the boat on the lift.  Without the weight of the boat to hold it down the lift could be flipped over by the canopy.

8. The boat lift canopy must be removed when taking the boat lift out of the water for any reason.  Failure to do so could result in wind damage to the canopy, boat lift and surrounding equipment.

9. Additionally make sure the boat lift canopy is completely dry before storing it.  This will prevent mold and mildew from ruining the canopy. Those autumn leaves are beautiful but if left wrapped in your canopy they will permanently discolor your canopy cover.

CAUTION: A Vinyl canopy is removed by detaching hooks. Stretching and removing bungee cords requires strength and proper balance. DO NOT let release the bungee cord when under tension.  An eye injury or other bodily injury could occur. ALWAYS wear safety glasses and the proper protective clothing.

Boat Canopy Care

image of canopy cleaning

Boat Lift Canopy cleaning

The cleaning and proper storage of your boat canopy requires some basic supplies and steps to ensure the longevity of your cover.

The first step is to ensure that any product that you use is safe for your canopy material.  If you must use a chemical to clean your canopy, be sure it does not contain any ingredients that will stain, corrode, or otherwise damage the material.

The next step is to remove the canopy from the lift.  Once removed, spread the canopy out on a flat clean surface – grass is fine.  You need to avoid damp or freshly mowed areas as this may increase the work you end up doing. (Remember to remove any cut grass, etc from the bottom of the canopy before folding for storage

PREFERRED METHOD; Use a gentle dish detergent and warm, soapy water and a soft bristled brush to gently clean the surface.  Rinse well and allow the boat canopy to dry thoroughly.

Boat Lift Canopy Storage

After thoughtfully drying it, store the boat canopy by carefully folding the canopy in on itself several times until it resembles a strip 18”-24” wide and then roll the canopy into a roll that is manageable.  Many canopies will come with their own storage bag but if yours did not, take care not to store the canopy in a plastic or otherwise un-breathable material.  Remember – It MUST breathe through the winter.

DO NOT roll the canopy cover so tight that it can not breathe and DO NOT put a sharp crease in the material. The canopy should be allowed to “rest” in a protective bag or box that allows for proper air movement.  If the bag does not allow the canopy to breathe, moisture could accumulate and promote molds and mildew in the off season, ultimately making your canopy’s life-span shorter.

Do not store on the floor where moisture can accumulate under the bag or box.

You should avoid binding the boat canopy for storage and never use duct tape to keep the canopy bundle together as the glues used are difficult to remove. Binding the canopy for long periods could promote intense creasing that may eventually lead to splitting of the canvas.

The stitching and seams that hold your canopy together should be kept as clean and dry as possible to avoid the failure of these areas from exposure to moisture, mold and dry-rot as the years roll by.

Prevent small animals (squirrels and mice) from getting into the rolled material.  They can cause stains and premature product failure if allowed to set up housekeeping in your cover.

What about the Canopy Hardware?

Bungees, springs, cords, straps, etc., should be stored in a SEPARATE bag and kept with the canopy to avoid misplacement of the hardware and unintended damage to the canopy by these items.  If rolled into the fabric layers for storage, moving the bundle can wear through the fabric and accidentally punch holes in it.


Pier & Waterfront Solutions (PWS) specializes in all ShoreMaster docks, lifts and accessories.

Located in the center of Door County at 7325 St Hwy 57, just south of Sturgeon Bay at the intersection of Idlewild Road.  Our staff looks forward to serving all of your waterfront needs year round.

Equally important, if you found this article helpful –  Go to “NEWS” on any page of our website for a complete list of articles.  These articles are meant to keep you informed on the latest product information and maintenance issues. Check out our “older entries” also.

The wide variety of articles on dock and boat lifts issues will answer many of your questions.   PWS believes that an informed consumer makes better decisions.

Call Jerry at 920-493-4404 or Email for more information.