How to Lift a Boat off a Trailer

If you are planning to do repairs on your trailer, it would be best to find a body of water where you can float and anchor your boat until repairs are complete. However, if you need to repair or paint the bottom of the boat itself, you will need to lift it off the trailer and put it on blocks so you have room to work. By following the method outlined in this article, you can do this quickly and without the worry of damaging the boat – or worse, injuring someone.

Step By Step Procedure for Lifting a Boat off a Trailer

There is a commonly accepted method for safely lifting a boat from its trailer. Please read carefully to avoid damaging the boat or causing injury:

  • Unhitch the trailer and push the tongue of the trailer down until it touches the ground. Be certain that the trailer will not lift up while you are working. You may need to get a friend or two to help hold it down.
  • Stack blocks (wooden or cinder) on either side of the boat's stern until it meets the hull.
  • Insert a wooden plank between the top blocks and the hull to ensure you don't damage the boat.
  • If you have an angled keel, stack additional lumber to compensate for the angles so that the boat will remain even and upright.
  • Place a bottle jack (be certain it meets your boat's weight requirements) under the tongue of the trailer and jack the front of the trailer up until the boat is level. If you need extra height, lower the jack and use blocks of wood to raise the jack.
  • Stack a single column of blocks to the same height as your back two at the forward bulkhead location of your boat. Again, if you have an angled hull, it may be necessary to wedge out a wooden block to stack on top to hold it securely.
  • Once you are certain that the boat is even, secure and stable on each column of blocks, you may lower the tongue of the trailer and extend the trailer jack to support the trailer.

Always remember to ensure that you are working on a steady surface before you begin. Also, ensure that your blocks are in good condition and replace them if they are cracked, broken or worn.

Your boat should now be six to eight inches off the trailer, giving you a nice clearance to polish, clean, paint or patch the bottom.

Other Things to Keep In Mind

Be certain that after the boat is lifted up you follow these safety guidelines:

  • Be certain to put blocks under your trailer tires, front and rear, to avoid the trailer rolling while maneuvering it up and down.
  • Do NOT remove the trailer from under the boat. If the boat does happen to slip and fall off the blocks, the trailer will catch it and minimalize any damage or injuries that might result.
  • Do whatever work needs to be done as quickly as possible. Do NOT leave the boat elevated any longer than is absolutely necessary.
  • Do NOT attempt to lift your boat off a trailer in rainy or windy conditions – it only adds an avoidable element of danger.
  • To lower the boat back onto the trailer, simply reverse the above process.

Always remember that your trailer is the safest place for your boat, and must be kept in the best condition possible. Never settle for a sub-par trailer, ensure that it has a sturdy, high quality construction and materials. For more information about custom boat trailers, learn more here.

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