Lift-In and Lift-Out Procedures

To download a printable copy click here:   2019 Lift In and Lift Out Procedures_FINAL.docx   

1. Purpose

This procedure covers the lifting in and out of boats in the Cobourg harbour.  The Town of Cobourg runs and operates the marina.  However, the Town of Cobourg and CYC provide separate and district services for the lift in and lift out of boats, as follows:

  • 1.      Town of Cobourg is responsible to plan, organize and coordinate the transportation of all boats on cradles and empty cradles as part of the spring and fall boat hoisting operations.  This transport will relocate equipment between the lifting areas and the storage compound at the foot of Hibernia Street.  The transport of boats on trailers is the responsibility of that boat owner. 
  • 2.      CYC is responsible to plan, organize and coordinate the lifting of boats into or out of the water as part of the spring and fall hoisting operations. These operations shall include but are not limited to contracting a crane service, sling handling, tag line handling, traffic control, as well as on site supervision of hoisting operations

The lifting in and out of boats, whether owned by Club Members or Non-Members, carries a degree of risk to the people involved and to their boats. The purpose of this procedure is to reduce the risks to all involved to as low as is reasonably practicable by identifying the key activities and people.  It is important that all those involved in the lifting operation are aware of this procedure and that they follow it. The procedure simply formalizes much of what the CYC has always done while adding some additional steps to the operations. This procedure also identifies and defines the key roles.

2. The Boat Hoisting Process

The boat hoisting process is managed by the CYC. The Club’s Captain of Lift-In/Lift Out (or his/her designate) is in-charge of this operation and reports to the Club’s Board of Directors through one of the Rear Commodores. 

The essence of the boat lift-in and out process is as follows: Boats, whether owned by Club Members or Non-Members, are lifted in or out normally on one day using a hired crane.  Prior to lift-in the Town of Cobourg will transport boats on cradles from the storage compound to the staging area on the east pier.  Once hoisted off of the cradle, the Town will transfer the empty cradle to the storage compound.  After being set in their cradle or boat trailer on the pier, they are either transported to the Marina’s storage compound using a hired hydraulic boat trailer or removed by the owner to offsite storage.  The Town of Cobourg manages the transportation operation.

The order of the boat lift operation is managed by the Club’s “Marshalling Coordinator” but set by the position of the cradles on the pier.  Mobile trailers, used by some of the smaller boats, are parked adjacent to the initial lifting area at the north end of the pier and sequenced by the “Marshalling Coordinator”.   The lift-in operation in the spring is the reverse of the above.

The intent and understanding of the boat hoisting operation is that it is a self-help activity where an owner or member is lifting his or her boat, assisted by Club Members, using facilities provided by the Club.  This implies that any damage to a boat, whether owned by a Club Member or Non-Member, resulting from this operation is the boat owner’s responsibility. The Club is not liable for any such damage which should be covered by that owner’s insurance.  The Town and CYC area not operating a commercial undertaking for the benefit of Members or users; overall charges are made to cover the costs of hiring the crane, hydraulic trailer, flatbed truck, labour as well as insurance and any other equipment as appropriate.

The Club, through its members, will supply an “Operations Coordinator”, “Safety Coordinator”,  “Marshalling Coordinator”,  “two rope men” to orient and control the boat in the air as well as four sling men to position the slings prior to lifting. The crane will be controlled by a “Signal-Man”, supplied by the crane operator.

Prior to the boat lift operations, the Marina circulates an information package, including a waiver, to gather information (weight, length etc.) including, which boats require the mobile lifting crane.

3. The Mast Stepping Process

Mast stepping is coordinated by CYC. CYC will contract a crane service, complete with signalman, and provide insurance coverage the contracted crane service and CYC.  Participants will be responsible for sling handling, mast handling, traffic controls. Designated CYC volunteers will be on site to coordinate the hoisting operations.  The group shall also be collectively responsible for transportation of mast from and to the mast storage compound if required.  The Town will make available a short term mast storage and crane set up area from which mast stepping operations will be conducted.  This area will be cordoned off by Town staff in advance of mast stepping operations.

Prior to the boat lift-in and lift-out operation, masts are stepped or removed from boats designated for mast-down storage. Masts of smaller vessels can be stepped or removed from the boat by the owner using the fixed “mast crane" which is situated on the east side of the inner harbour.  Larger vessels, typically 30 feet and up, require the use of a mobile mast crane.

The essence of the mast stepping and lift-out process is as follows:  Boats requiring their mast to be removed, whether owned by Club Members or Non-Members, have the mast:

  • 1.      Stepped the afternoon of lift-in and the morning of the following day.
  • 2.      Lifted out normally on the day before the boat lift-out operation. 

Masts are removed in the area between the parking lots on the north wall of the harbour. 

Once the mast is secured by the crane, but before it is removed from the boat, the shrouds, backstay and any loose lines should be gathered up and tied.  This ensures that loose rigging does not catch on the stanchions, grab rails etc. of the boat, and minimizes risk of personnel being injured.   A line of sufficient strength and length to secure the crane sling in the correct position on the mast is to be supplied by the boat owner.

Prior to starting the mast lift-out operation, saw horses or other supports (supplied by the owner) are set up on the grass area immediately to the east of the parking lot on the harbour north wall adjacent to the fuel dock.  After the mast is removed, it is set on the sawhorses in order to allow for the removal of the spreaders and preparation of the mast for moving.  The masts are either transported to the Club’s mast storage rack using a rented 4-wheel trailer or removed by the owner to offsite storage.  The order of the operation is managed by the participants themselves.  The mast lift-in operation in the spring is the reverse of the above.

4. Club Responsibilities

To facilitate the boat hoisting operations, the Club shall:

Hire a suitable crane and signal-man for the lift-in or lift-out.  Where possible a crane driver who is familiar with the Club’s lift-in and lift-out activities should be requested.  The crane operator will supply all necessary lifting equipment including slings for both boat and mast lifting operations.  However, the crane operator has no responsibility for the slinging of a boat; this is entirely the responsibility of the owner.  The Town of Cobourg will manage the transport of cradles with/with out boats to or from the pier. 

The Club shall also appoint suitable, competent, volunteer members as “key people” into the functions identified in Section 6. The Club shall ensure that the “key people" are trained where appropriate and understand what is required of them prior to their being appointed.  Members fulfilling these key functions shall be appointed before lift day. Certain “key people” must wear appropriate identification, preferably in the form of a high visibility (yellow) coloured vest or jacket.  Those members undertaking crane liaison duties (Operations Coordinator) must also wear the appropriate coloured hi-visibility vest and shall make themselves known to the crane operator and the signal-man. The Marshalling Coordinator shall also wear a coloured jacket to identify him/her.  The completed list of key personnel listed in Section 6 should be displayed on the Clubhouse notice Board to assist in communication throughout the day. The formal check of the slings and lifting equipment used for both the boat and mast lifts is the responsibility of the crane operator and his signal man.

5. Boat Owners and Members Responsibilities

In order for the boat hoisting operation to work successfully, the owners of boats have certain responsibilities that must be followed. They are:

5.1 The boat owner shall ensure that his/her boat is ready for hoisting. See section “Preparing your boat for Lift-in and Lift-out”.  Each owner must sign and date the waiver form.

5.2 For long-keel boats and other awkward hull shapes it is mandatory that the slings be tied both fore and aft at deck level to reduce the risk of the boat slipping from the slings. This is normally achieved by securing a line at the bow and then leading it aft, taking a turn around each sling before tying off at the stern. It is the owner’s responsibility to supply the ropes required to secure the slings and to ensure that these ropes are secured appropriately.

5.3 The boat owner shall supply the Club the weight of his boat including all equipment, fuel and water on the forms provided. This information is needed for the crane operator to ensure that the weight-radius limits of the crane are not exceeded.  The owner shall also confirm on the forms provided that his/her craft is fully insured, including third party risks; these forms will be provided by the Marina prior to the launch date.

5.4 The boat owner is responsible for ensuring that his/her boat has marks indicating where the slings are to be placed to enable the crane slings to be properly positioned prior to the crane lift.  In particular, the owner should ensure that his/her boat is placed centrally in the sling and not tilted.  During lift-out the four Sling Men on the boat should be equally distributed to ensure the boat comes out level when the crane tightens the slings.  No person is permitted to be onboard the boat during the lifting operation. During lift-out, once the boat is clear of the water, the owner shall indicate his/her satisfaction or otherwise that the boat is level and ready to lift.  At that point the Sling Men on the boat, holding the straps in place, must get off the boat before it is lifted any higher.

5.5 The boat owner is responsible for ensuring that his/her cradle or trailer has suitable marks to indicate where the keel is to be positioned on the cradle. See section “Preparing your boat for Lift in and out”. It is also the boat owner’s responsibility for ensuring that the boat is placed correctly in his/her cradle or trailer.

5.6 As a result of the above, the boat owner must be present when his/her boat is being lifted. No boat shall be lifted without the owner being present.

5.7 Boat owners not actively involved in lifting their own boat shall make themselves available to the coordinator in order to assist other boaters.

5.8 Safety First.  No one is allowed in the vicinity of the lifting equipment unless they are involved in the immediate operation.  This includes spouses and children as well as boaters who are not involved in the immediate operation.  All persons should ensure that they do not place themselves in a position underneath a boat while it is being lifted by the crane.

Care must be taken that hands are not trapped by the crane slings or between a boat and the pads of a cradle.

All persons involved in lifting operations must wear a safety helmet (provided by the Marina).

5.9 During the boat lift-in operation, if a boater wants to apply anti-fouling paint to the area covered by the cradle pads he/she shall tell the “Operations Coordinator” prior to the placement of the slings.  It shall be the “Operations Coordinator’s” responsibility to tell the signalman of this requirement.  Care should be taken to keep the paint off the slings to prevent marking up the next boat.

5.10 After the completion of the boat lift, it is the owner’s responsibility to remove all hazards and rubbish that he/she may have brought onto the pier.

5.11 All boat owning members should endeavour to undertake key roles by gaining experience by assisting in them. Only in this way will our boat hoisting process continue.

5.12 All boat owners, whether members or not, must thoroughly familiarize themselves with this procedure and with the section “Preparing your boat for Lift In and Out”.

5.13 The boat owner must have appropriate insurance for his/her craft and for third party risks.

5.14 All persons, whether boat owners or not, must follow the safety instructions given to them by the “Safety Coordinator, Operations Coordinator and Marshalling Coordinator”.

6. Key People and Responsibilities

There are several key roles undertaken by members. These are outlined below. Only three of these roles at each lift operation should be clearly identifiable by wearing high-visibility vests. These are the “Operations Coordinator”, the “Marshalling Coordinator” and the “Safety Coordinator”. To have others wearing such identification is confusing and must be discouraged.

Because, the day is long and the need for members to arrange and accompany their own lift-in/out, two members must be identified for each of the key roles and a list of the names made known to the members.  To increase the skills base, it is very desirable that members are trained by experience in these key roles. It is therefore required that, whenever possible, those members identified below assist in the training of other willing members.

Operations Coordinator- The person responsible for the overall supervision and control of all lifting operations coordinating with the crane signalman. Has overall control of the order of lift and location of boats (in conjunction with the crane operator and Marshalling Coordinator).  Verifies that the boat or mast and other personnel are ready for the lifting operation to begin.  The Controller should ensure that all members involved in functions identified here are familiar with the tasks requirements below. Visual identification worn.

Boat Lift-in Marshalling Coordinator- Ensures that the next boats in line are ready for lifting, and that the owner is present and ready for the lift.  Bow and stern lines are in place.  Sling positions marked and visible.  Visual identification worn.

Boat Lift-out Marshalling Coordinator- Ensures that the cradle is marked and keel position indicated and is placed correctly.  Ensures that the next boats in line are ready for lifting and that the owner is present and ready for the lift. Boats are lined-up next to the pier in order of lift and adjacent to their cradle.  Bow and stern lines are in place.  Sling positions marked and visible on the boat from above. Visual identification worn.

Mast Lift-in Coordinator (volunteer) - Establishes the order of boats which require masts.  Boats are lined-up next to the north wall in sequence.  Ensures that the next boat in line is ready for stepping the mast and that the owner is present and ready.  Ensures that the mast is ready and next in line. Visual identification worn.

Mast Lift-out Coordinator (volunteer) - Establishes the order of boats which require their masts to be removed. Ensures that the next boat in line is ready for mast removal, the owner is present and saw horses are ready.  On completion of the mast lift-out operation, establishes the sequence of the masts being transported to the Mast Storage Rack using the 4 wheeled dolly.  Visual identification worn.

Safety Coordinator (volunteer) - Ensures non-boaters, children and boaters not working on the immediate lift are excluded from hazardous area.  Identifies unsafe behaviour e.g. walking under suspended boats and masts.  Is fully familiar with risk assessment. Visual identification worn.

Boat Owners- Should make themselves available to assist and help with the lifting process both before and after their boats have been lifted and either stored ashore or returned to their mooring as appropriate.


This information is the private property of Cobourg Yacht Club and its members. No use is granted except for the personal use of the members.
"Cobourg Yacht Club" is a non-profit organization.
100 Hibernia St, Cobourg, ON K9A 3J8, Canada mailing address: P.O. Box 561 Cobourg, Ontario K9A 4L3

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