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TOPIC: Carpet vs Vinyl boat lift bunks? New to a boat lift - Questions

Carpet vs Vinyl boat lift bunks? New to a boat lift - Questions 03 Aug 2017 23:50 #1

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I've never owned a lift before (about time) and the used one I purchased needs the bunks recovered. I purchased vinyl covers (caliber bunk wrap) that go the full length of the bottom bunks, yet now I'm having second thoughts about it rubbing the gelcoat. It's a tough bendable plastic basically. The guide rails on the side I think I'm doing carpet either way. (edit:: the water is about 5-6 feet deep, muddy bottom)

Also, some dumb questions.
- Do I lower the lift until the boat is free floating, then have everyone get onboard? Or do I leave some contact/friction between the bunks and boat. The boat is a VR5 so 4k pounds with gas/gear, and the lift is a 6k pound, with electric drive and remote cable that can be triggered from inside boat as well.

- How do I know how far in to pull the boat? When the lower unit taps the cradle, I've obviously gone too far...

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Carpet vs Vinyl boat lift bunks? New to a boat lift - Questions 04 Aug 2017 15:24 #2

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Does anyone use lifts?

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Carpet vs Vinyl boat lift bunks? New to a boat lift - Questions 05 Aug 2017 11:27 #3

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As for carpet versus vinyl, I don't think it matters. The boat will not be sliding on and off the bunks. The bunks will just come up and lift the boat after the boat is in position. I have carpeting on my bunks, but where they contact the boat the carpet is so flat that I don't think it provides any cushioning effect at this point. There is no damage nor marks on the hull.

In terms of loading people, lifts come with all sorts of warnings that you should not use it for lifting humans. The "safe" way, therefore, is to have everyone get into and out of the boat while it is floating, not while it is on the lift.

As long as the lift police are not watching, I will admit that I have plenty of room for extra weight regarding my lift capacity, and we will usually load and unload the boat when it is at a convenient height. Hopefully I won't go to jail for that statement.

As far as lining up the boat, you will want to identify a spot on the boat that lines up with your lift guide that tells you when it is in the proper position. My rear cleats line up perfectly with my lift guides when the bunks are even with the transom, which is how I like to load the boat. In terms of depth, you will want to put a piece of black tape or other mark on The dock side lift guides so that you know how low the lift must be in order for the boat to float on and off.

You will love having a lift, as long as you pay attention to maintenance, alignment, and use it properly.

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Carpet vs Vinyl boat lift bunks? New to a boat lift - Questions 05 Aug 2017 14:22 #4

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I keep my boat exclusively on a lift at home. I agree with everything Secret Agent wrote above ("Secret agent man. They've given you a number and taken away your name." Sorry, had a moment when I thought I was funny.)

Unlike a trailer, you won't be driving the boat on or off of the lift bunks; so you won't be rubbing the hull against either the vinyl or carpet. As 610 wrote, the boat lift rises up and lifts up the boat once you've maneuvered into the slip with the lift submerged enough to still allow the boat to float. Same thing when departing; lower the lift until the boat floats and maneuver out of the slip. No rubbing or sliding on the bunks. That said, once I'm in my slip over the submerged lift, I will get on the dock and move the boat by hand to the position I prefer on my lift. Manufacturer's recommendation I think is having the boat "centered on the lift." But for my boat (642 21' cuddy - actually quite like a cuddy cousin to the VR5), that doesn't seem optimum. I have the bunks adjusted specifically to my hull and I have found that if I don't have the bow farther forward into the lift, the boat will sit at a tilt. Not good. Also, the heaviest part of the boat is aft at the transom with the engine; so, I like that to be well supported rather than hanging farther back. So, I don't prefer dead center. Like 610, I have points on the boat that I use to gauge the position. I know that if my front center guide is right at the end of my registration number and the rear guide is just aft of the Bayliner, I am where I want the boat. That position for me, has the transom about 4-6 inches aft of the rear cross beam; meaning the engine is sitting on the beam. Since I do this by hand, I can be sure I am not driving the lower unit into the rear cross beam.

Also like 610, I am not too concerned about manufacturer warnings to not board the boat while on the lift. 90% of any manual for any machinery is legal CYA verbage. Yes, it's all logical and in many cases necessary warnings. But I adjust their warnings to my own safe operations and common sense. I lower the lift to a position that makes boarding easy, but still supported by the lift (like 610, I have plenty of lift capacity to spare - I'm talking 1000's of pounds to spare). I do make sure the cross rails are under water with the hull actually an inch or two in the water, as I find this minimizes any possible swaying of the lift (which I think is the bigger concern than actual weight). At this position, I frequently clean the cockpit, load the boat for trips, or even do minor service of engine. To take the boat out, I have it fully loaded and then board all passengers in this position. I then stand on the dock to lower the lift until the boat floats (I don't have a remote); I also use 610's suggestion of a tape mark on the dock side guides to show where the boat will likely float (based on tides the tape may or may not be under water when the boat floats). Then I board, start the engine, and back out of the lift. I leave the lift down while I am out (mainly because I don't have a remote control); I usually am arriving and departing on the same tides, so the lift is submerged enough to easily enter the slip

Two other points, I also keep the front cross rail (closest to shore) about 1-2 inches higher than the rear cross rail. First, I know that my depth is less when I get closer to shore (and I know I don't have much to spare when lowering the lift before touching bottom - which you don't want to do because it will foul the cables). This also helps ensure I have the boat not too far forward and helps any bilge water flow to the rear where the pump is located. And when I am not using the lift, I turn off the power at a sub-panel at the end of the dock (actually a manufacturer recommendation I follow). One of the biggest issues to corrosion of dock hardware (bolts holding it together) is electrolysis; keeping power to the lift constantly, will eventually corrode the lift and dock hardware. It can even affect your neighbor's dock as well.

Certainly a long winded reply, but hopefully gives you a good idea that using a lift is fairly straight-forward. I've only had my boat and lift for 2 seasons now and it doesn't take long to figure out what works best for you within the specs of your boat and lift.

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Last Edit: by rbrauerei.

Carpet vs Vinyl boat lift bunks? New to a boat lift - Questions 06 Aug 2017 15:05 #5

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Really appreciate all the detailed info! Helps a ton, what a great community. I'm going to run carpet for all the bunks (the previous lifts owner said carpet will scratch, yet I think it seems the best choice)

My last question is on the bottom bunks, the other lifts I see have a slight dip in the cradle, mine is straight across. I have to adjust and was just going to match the trailer, yet even so I'd imagine the bottom of the VR5 would get really close to touching the beam going across.. I could move the bunks in, yet it would seem unstable. They are as high as they go. Confused on that... or maybe it's an illusion.

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Carpet vs Vinyl boat lift bunks? New to a boat lift - Questions 06 Aug 2017 20:54 #6

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In view of the fact that it is a nice new boat and misadjustment can be disastrous, it might be worth your while to pay a lift guy to come over and adjust it for you. I have seen bunks pretty close together....but you don't want to get it wrong. You might need taller bunks or taller supports under the wood. My lifts have a longitudinal I beam on top of the crossbeams, and then the wooden bunks are mounted on top of the I beams That kind of height is needed to accommodate the deep V hulls, at least the way my lifts are set up.

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Carpet vs Vinyl boat lift bunks? New to a boat lift - Questions 07 Aug 2017 00:14 #7

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I concur with 610 about having a "lift guy" adjust the bunks. I bought my lift new (actually from the manufacturer who happens to be very close by); they installed the lift before the boat came home. They did a good job based on the specs I gave them, but they had to come back and make some adjustments with the boat present. IMHO, it's the difference between buying a suit off the rack and having one tailor made. A lift guy will be able to make the adjustments that will make your boat very happy. Especially as 610 notes with the V-hull. As I mentioned before, my 642 cuddy is quite similar to the VR5; I would definitely get an expert to make the adjustments.

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Rick
"Our Dream" -- 2015 21' Bayliner 642, 4.3 MPI Mercruiser

"Now and then we had a hope that if we lived and were good, God would permit us to be pirates." Mark Twain

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Carpet vs Vinyl boat lift bunks? New to a boat lift - Questions 07 Aug 2017 03:56 #8

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Solid advice. This thing is about 10 years old and certainly can use an inspection. I need their help as it needs a bigger cable spacer or something, the cable rubs against the inner wheel metal at certain heights. That and from the pics online, the hull on the VR5 looks very deep... almost to the point where I'll need new bunk brackets or something, as I can't imagine moving them in close enough to not have the keel touching..

I'm starting to regret not just buying a nice new lift... saved some good money, but may not be worth it in the long run..

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Carpet vs Vinyl boat lift bunks? New to a boat lift - Questions 07 Aug 2017 10:42 #9

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My used lift I previously used for my pontoon. When I bought the 185 I had to buy bunk support brackets that were longer to accommodate the "deep v" of the bow rider otherwise I would have touched the lower cross member of the lift itself. I too go the "used" route and as mentioned I have a "lift guy" who I call when I get a new to me lift to come and give it a "tune up". For a few bucks, these guys not only know what they are doing, but jump right in that muddy water and start working...when you place your lift into the location you choose, with a muddy bottom, it will after a few days, shift a bit and the crew that placed it should come back out and re-level it without charge. Most of the those guys also do the lift maintenance....biggest thing is to lube those cables,

I assume you will have a canopy? That makes all the difference in opinion....just put the boat up in the lift and all done.

Regardless, in no time you will be an experienced boat lift kinda guy. We all learn as we go and just like boating, everyone has started in the same spot as far as ownership,and knowledge.

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Hell, Michigan (yes we really live in a city named "Hell" in Michigan)
2012 BR 185 - 3.0 TKS
1999 Chaparral 233 Sunesta Ltd., 5.0 Volvo
1985 Harris Flotebote Classic 240
1993 Yamaha Waverunner III VXR
1993 Yamaha Waverunner III
1995 Yamaha Waverunner III GP
1995 Yamaha Waverunner III VXR PRO

Carpet vs Vinyl boat lift bunks? New to a boat lift - Questions 07 Aug 2017 13:49 #10

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I wouldn't regret getting a used lift. You'll still be saving money even with the tune-up from a pro. Always a good thing. My neighbors have the same brand lift as mine; they are probably 10+ years old. Other than the shape of the motor housings, you would be hard pressed to tell the difference.

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Rick
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"Now and then we had a hope that if we lived and were good, God would permit us to be pirates." Mark Twain

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Carpet vs Vinyl boat lift bunks? New to a boat lift - Questions 07 Aug 2017 16:23 #11

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I agree I saved good money, it will likely all work out. I've replaced all the bunk carpet which took a bit. I suppose I'm just most bummed as the previous owner sold his boat, and left the lift in the down position for a long time... bunks and cradle all underwater. It got seriously caked with hard algae, so the bottom half just looks old and crappy with a nice new boat atop. I scraped it forever, I'm told toilet bowl cleaner (shouldn't when it's in water I know) and a pressure washer, which I suppose I'll try next

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Carpet vs Vinyl boat lift bunks? New to a boat lift - Questions 07 Aug 2017 17:38 #12

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It is after all , a used boat lake lift that will again look old and dingy.....save your energy and time and take your boat out instead...don't skimp on the canopy....here you will get what you pay for I have found...might want to consider adding some length to the canopy sides as well and really protect the boat...

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Hell, Michigan (yes we really live in a city named "Hell" in Michigan)
2012 BR 185 - 3.0 TKS
1999 Chaparral 233 Sunesta Ltd., 5.0 Volvo
1985 Harris Flotebote Classic 240
1993 Yamaha Waverunner III VXR
1993 Yamaha Waverunner III
1995 Yamaha Waverunner III GP
1995 Yamaha Waverunner III VXR PRO

Carpet vs Vinyl boat lift bunks? New to a boat lift - Questions 07 Aug 2017 18:25 #13

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RobMick wrote: It is after all , a used boat lake lift that will again look old and dingy.....save your energy and time and take your boat out instead....


What he said ^

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Rick
"Our Dream" -- 2015 21' Bayliner 642, 4.3 MPI Mercruiser

"Now and then we had a hope that if we lived and were good, God would permit us to be pirates." Mark Twain

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Carpet vs Vinyl boat lift bunks? New to a boat lift - Questions 07 Aug 2017 22:03 #14

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Oh absolutely, but I do know if you're going to store it you shouldn't leave the cradle and bunks underwater for months on end, ha. The picture doesn't look that bad
I probably won't notice it in a week

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Carpet vs Vinyl boat lift bunks? New to a boat lift - Questions 08 Aug 2017 01:56 #15

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You won't notice....I promise you...enjoy looks like a solid platform..

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Hell, Michigan (yes we really live in a city named "Hell" in Michigan)
2012 BR 185 - 3.0 TKS
1999 Chaparral 233 Sunesta Ltd., 5.0 Volvo
1985 Harris Flotebote Classic 240
1993 Yamaha Waverunner III VXR
1993 Yamaha Waverunner III
1995 Yamaha Waverunner III GP
1995 Yamaha Waverunner III VXR PRO
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