Boat Lift Motor care for Vertical or Cantilever Boat Lifts

Boat Lift Motor Care for a Wheel Driven Boat Lift 

ShoreMaster Lift Mate

ShoreMaster Lift Mate

Boat Lift motor care for a rubber, wheel-driven motor, consists of a few simple steps for storage.

In general, it’s important to understand how the drive works.

How does a Boat Lift Motor work?

The Shore Master “Lift Mate”  motor shown here, applies pressure to the outside of the large hand wheel.  The tension is applied by the use of a bungee cord.  A flip of the motor switch is all it takes to raise or lower the boat without any effort.  These are generally powered by a solar arrangement.  AC driven units are also available.  You never have to turn the wheel by hand again.

However, this simple boat lift motor setup requires some common sense care for the winter..

For winter storage you have a choice:

First, you can release the bungee cord and remove the motor assembly arm completely by removing the large pivot arm bolt on the mounting assembly.  Then, store the motor in a building for the winter.


For a Second choice – relieve the tension on the bungee cord.  Then, leave the motor in place.  This will prevent a a flat spot from forming on the rubber wheel over the winter.   If you use this step – Do not rotate the motor down.

NOTE: The bungee cord has a lot of tension on it.  For this reason – handle it with caution. Eye protection is recommended. The cord can slip out of your hand, causing the hook on the end to hit your hand, arm or eye. Grip it firmly.  The same is true when re-attaching the bungee cord and hook in the Spring.

Remember, if you choose option 2, release the tension on the bungee cord BUT DO NOT rotate the motor arm down.  Leave it in the operating position for the winter.  Rotating the motor down will allow moisture to seep into the motor casing.  This will cause a build up of water inside the motor which will prematurely damage or short out the motor when power is re-applied.

Similarly, DO NOT wrap the lift motor in a plastic bag for the winter.  Moisture from condensation or rain and melting snow has been known to fill the bag with water with disastrous results.

An alternative to the Wheel-Driven Boat Lift Motor 

Lift Boss

Lift Boss

An better alternative to a wheel driven motor drive is the Lift Boss motor.   With this type of motor the large wheel is removed completely. This boat lift motor is generally driven by solar energy with an A.C. model available. The motor can be left exposed to the elements year round.  There is no bungee cord to remove and no slipping when the wheel is wet from rain or the morning dew.

The housing allows moisture to escape without fear of damage to the motor.

For more information about boat lift motors see also




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.