Storage on lifts can be the best of both worlds, with most of the advantages of hardstand storage while still allowing you to use your boat when the weather is balmy. But the Boat Marine Insurance claim files show that lifts do not fare well in hurricanes and strong nor’easters. Wind, waves, and surge can shift the boat, and torrential rains or heavy snow can increase the boat weight to the point of breaking the lift.
If you live in an area with strong winter storms, or if your lift is exposed to fetch from the direction of the prevailing storm winds, it’s better to store your boat on its trailer. Otherwise, make sure the hull is properly supported and will drain efficiently, and inspect your lift wires, chains, and fittings carefully before tucking your boat in for the winter. A cover is even more important for a boat stored on a lift. As with boats stored on the hard, the hull is exposed to the air, so make sure to winterize well before the freezing temperatures arrive.