What’s new in boat lift winches? Updated

The Whisper winch from ShoreMaster was a significant improvement over other boat lift brand winches in 2018. ShoreMaster continues to be the leader in the Marine industry. 

Most boaters were annoyed by the clanking noise generated when they turned the large wheel on their boat lift. That noise disappeared after the introduction of the Whisper winch in 2018.

Then, in 2019, they introduced another refinement – the Whisper Winch II.

This new winch gave you extended cable life by introducing a more substantial diameter drum. Why is this important? Having a 50% increase in winch diameter means there is less internal stress on the cable strands as they wrap around the drum.  

The larger drum diameter, in turn, reduced internal chafing in the cable significantly. An added advantage is the galvanizing on the winch cable strands lasts longer.

image of Typical Cable Stacking

            Typical Cable Stacking

What is cable stacking?

Today, there has been another improvement. The winch drum now has grooves cut into it to guide the cable smoothly around the drum. Cable “stacking” is virtually eliminated.

Without cable “stacking,” the life expectancy of the cable increases. It also means fewer cable “shocks” and abrasion. By “shocks,” we are not referring to an electrical shock. 

When a cable begins to stack up along the edges of the drum, it will climb two or more levels. At that point, the cable will slip off the stack, and the boat falls about 1/4 to ½” in an instant. The “falling” results in a thunderous noise which “shocks” the person operating the winch. That doesn’t seem like much movement, but that 1/4″ – ½” can mean a broken cable if it is weak.

The “shock” is dangerous for the cable if the cable is in a weakened state. The cable is free to move, and then all the weight of the falling boat is suddenly applied. 

Picture a moving car hitting an immovable object. The “shock” is similar to hitting an unmovable object with a moving one-ton object.

Image of sinking boat

My boat lift cable broke…and I can’t get ….

One moment the boat is free to fall (albeit a short distance), and in the next moment, it snaps to a complete halt. All the pressure is on the cable at that point. Any weaknesses in the cable (rust, broken strands, frayed wires) could mean your boat will end up in the water and not necessarily floating.

With further testing, they realized that the main lifting cable could be changed back to stainless steel on the larger boat lifts. Now, ALL of the cables are stainless steel again.


There is still one more advantage to the Whisper winch II. In the past, two bolts mounted the winch to the leg post. The bolts meant that if you added a canopy later, the winch must be entirely removed. 

Today, the winch clamps in a sleeve that fits snugly around the leg. There is a significant reduction of install time as a result. The clamp also ensures the winch is correctly installed. It can not be misaligned. Misalignment of the winch was easy to do with the winch bolted to the leg. These same bolts contributed to cable stacking also.

In Conclusion

The continued introduction fo these refinements keeps Shoremaster at the top of the best-in-class list.

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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.” 

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