Preparing your sailboat for Lift-in and Lift-out


  • Mark on your toe rail (bow and stern / port and starboard) where you want the slings placed to lift your boat.
  • If you are happy with the position of the boat in your cradle, anchor your base keel board to the cradle and screw a block of wood across the front and or back of your keel to show where you want the boat placed back in the cradle @ lift out.
  • Hang your fenders out and have a bow and stern line attached and hanging down before the boat is about to be launched. Each line should be the length of your boat.
  • Start your engine in the compound (let it run for no longer than 15 seconds) to ensure that you can motor away from the launch area.
  • Make sure that your boat name and the owners name are on the cradle. Mark the cradle for bow and stern. Erase all other markings.
  • On the morning of lift in, be sure your boat is unlocked when it is lifted in so you can quickly inspect the bilge for any water leaks.
  • If you are antifouling under your pads, during the lift, be very careful not to get any paint on the slings as it could get on the top sides of the next boat to be lifted.
  • Be there early, before your launch or your boat will not be lifted without your presence.


Lift Out

  • Make sure your cradle is in good repair and is capable of supporting your boat during transport. If you have any concerns, speak to the marina staff and they will advise you who to contact @ the CYC to the discuss the situation. The CYC reserves the right to refuse to lift a boat if the boat and or its cradle is deemed to be unsafe or unseaworthy.

  • Mark your toe rail as to where you want the lift points, port & starboard, forward and aft. Advise the lift crew if you have a full keel. The boat owner is responsible for the sling placement.
  • Check on Friday PM as to the location of your cradle. Mast up boats and trailer boats are lifted first, starting @ 7:00 AM sharp. Be early. No boat is lifted without the skipper present.
  • Sling a weighted line under the aft portion of your stern, clear of the prop, and tie off to the primary winches, so that we can tie on the end of the sling and pull it under your boat. Have this completed well before your boat is ready to be lifted.
  • Attach a bow and stern line. Each line should be the length of your boat.
  • When you first arrive @ the harbour, check in with the lift co-ordinator. He will advise you when your boat will be lifted. When your boat is the next one to be lifted, identify yourself to the lift crew as the skipper of the vessel. If you have any special requests, now is the time to be talking about them.

Mast-up boats

Most of the boats lifted in or lifted out of the Cobourg Harbour have had their masts removed in advance of the boat lift operation. However, there is currently space available to facilitate the lifting and storing of 6 or 8 sailboats with their mast still up. The operation of lifting mast-up boats takes place on the east wall of the inner harbour, north of the Coastguard station and adjacent to the town’s fixed mast crane. In most cases of lifting mast-up boats, it is necessary to remove the vessel's backstay to allow for the crane’s spreader beam to be positioned over the centre of gravity of the vessel. Before the backstay is removed, it is the skipper/owner’s responsibility to ensure that adequate supports are in place to brace the mast during the lifting operation. For deck-stepped masts it is mandatory that a minimum of 2 halyards are led aft and secured to the toe rail or other secure attachment point prior to removing the backstay and lifting the boat. For the lift-in operation, the backstay should be removed once the additional bracing has been fitted and after the boat has been moved from the compound and is in position on the east wall of the harbour. The additional bracing must be in-place prior to the start of the lifting operation. For the lift-out operation it is the skipper/owner’s responsibility to ensure that sufficient temporary bracing is in place when the boat is at the east wall ready to be lifted and prior to the backstay being removed. Once the vessel is out of the water and securely positioned in the cradle the skipper/owner can re-attach the backstay or other bracing prior to transporting the vessel and cradle to the storage yard. It should be noted that transporting vessels with their mast up can only take place in the harbour area where there are no overhead hydro lines.

For keel stepped vessels it is the skipper/owner’s responsibility to ensure that the mast is adequately supported during the lifting operation and during the transporting of the vessel to and from the storage compound. 


Responsibilities of the Boat Owner Preparing for Lift Out

2 weeks prior to the first lift out date:

  • Complete all forms provided and return to Cobourg Marina in envelope provided.
  • Check the Condition of Your Cradle

Things to look for:

  • Ensure the cradle has the “Boat Name”, “Bow” and “Stern” clearly identified.
  • Ensure that all the pads are in good condition (pads properly attached to adjusting rods, rods and adjuster nuts lubricated and moving freely).
  • Visually inspect your cradle for signs of obvious damage (ie bent braces, broken bolts, missing nuts, cracked welds etc. Arrange for any necessary repairs prior to cradles being moved.
  • Optional – Pads should also be identified with their location on the cradle. (port bow, port stern, starboard bow starboard stern). This will simplify their proper replacement, should they get taken off. It is a good idea to take your pads home after lift in and bring them back on the day of lift out. This will provide you with a good opportunity to make any necessary repairs as well as prevent loss or damage and ensure you have all your pads in good working condition when you need them for lift out.
  • During lift out you should have a wrench (crescent or pipe) suitable for adjusting the pads as well as a hammer and some 2x6x12 or 2x8x12 blocks for shimming, if required. This will reduce the crane time, which reduces the cost.
  • When the boat is being placed in the cradle, it is the responsibility of the “skipper” (owner) to work with the “signal person” (person directing the crane operator), to let them know where the boat is to be positioned and when they are satisfied with the final positioning of the boat in the cradle. If the owner is unfamiliar with the proper positioning, they should make the signal person aware of that fact and they will receive assistance from club members to determine the optimum position for the boat. To ensure the boat is positioned square in the cradle, the cradle should be painted with a line at the mid point of the crossbar at both the bow and stern ends. This provides a good guide for aligning the center of the boat to the center of the cradle. Once the boat is positioned to the satisfaction of the skipper, the skipper should ensure that the keel board is bolted in place and a block of wood or metal is installed at the back of the keel for future reference, for the positioning of the boat. It is also a good idea to take a photo of the boat, sitting in the cradle, to remind the skipper of his boat’s proper position, should the keel board position block accidentally be removed. These suggestions will also save time and money.

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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