Boat Lift Concerns, Issues and Dangers. Boat Houses and Awnings
If you have chosen Charlotte County Florida to live your waterfront dream you have made a great choice. Punta Gorda, Port Charlotte and Englewood offer a ton of options for waterfront living. The majority of us are boaters or wanna-be boaters and this means having a boat lift for most of us. Nothing is better than pushing a button on a moments notice and having your boat drop into the water and away you go! Sure beats the days of launching at a boat ramp which is where most of us come from.
I have lived in Punta Gorda for over 19 years and have learned a lot about boat lifts and water front issues that are very important for everyone to know about. Power boats or sail boaters can all utilize a boat lift with some lifts carrying vessels up to 50 feet!
With that said, let me hit the biggest issue and danger with keeping your boat on a boat lift. The biggest danger is related to lifts that have a remote control which is very common. The remote module is integrated into the wiring of the lift and with a push of a button with your hand controller (FOB) you raise the lift out of the water when departing and then on your ride back to dock you can press a button dropping the lift into the water. Sounds like a great idea unless the remote system malfunctions or some device in your neighborhood triggers the activation of the lift.
The outcome of this almost always ends up in the boat lift going up, not down without you even knowing it is happening! In a location like Punta Gorda Isles where there are no boat houses or canopies your boat will rise until the bunks/cross-members holding your boat (and possibly your boat) make physical contact with the metal cross members that hold the lift system up. It is quite possible for your boat to fall off the lift at this point doing extensive damage to your boat, dock, lift and anything else around it.
If you are in a location that allows a boat house what will happen is the boat will rise into the wood or metal structure above it crushing and breaking the boat house canopy and applying forces to your boat that will likely end up with significant damage to your hull and of course, your T-top, upper helm, etc. Yes, that is pretty close to a nightmare for a boater and an expensive one at that.
This happens more often than you might think. I contacted a local metal canopy builder about the frequency of occurrence and was told he gets a call relating to this many times a month. The canopy or boat house is damaged plus your boat!
The remedy is to deactivate the automatic remote feature or identify a fix. I have not heard of one yet but it seems to me the remote control companies should have some accountability for this situation. I have presented this as I have first hand experience with this scenario with neighbors on my canal and its not pretty.