View Full Version : Bilge Plug in or out on a boat lift

05-24-2012, 12:28 AM
How many store their boat on a boat lift with the plug out so the rain water that gets thru the cover doesn't collect in the bilge? Do you trust the bilge pump and battery life?

DJ 50
05-24-2012, 12:37 AM
Alwyas have kept mine in but my boat is under pretty good cover. It would take a massive storm to flood mine.

05-24-2012, 05:47 AM
Keep mine in...only have 2 years with it on the lift so interested in others experiences

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05-24-2012, 06:40 AM
I would never pull a drain plug on a lifted boat. Too many lifts can fail. My boat is on a hydrohoist rated at 5k lbs and my boat is around 4 to 4500 lbs. Under certain wind conditions, it will drop down to just where the running gear is in the water. If the plug were out, it would have been full of water. If it was an electric cable lift with chocks, I might do it.

05-24-2012, 06:44 AM
Always store with plug out. I used to get tons of water in the boat after a storm when I was using the stock black MasterCraft cover. Since I switched to a Sunbrella cover there's rarely any water but I like the idea of letting the water have a place to go should something happen. I leave the deck plate turned upside down with the plug sitting in it next to the hole from the deck plate to ensure no one lowers the boat without first putting the plug back in. Having the deck plate open also allows air to flow into the bilge to help dry things out after use.

05-24-2012, 06:46 AM
Keep mine in.....i take mine out while I clean up and wipe down the boat but I have a well covered lift.

05-24-2012, 08:27 AM
I store my boat in a metal roofed boat house. No worries about rain but I leave the plug in. A very long time ago (35 yrs or so) we had a lift fail, so I leave the plug in for peace of mind.

05-24-2012, 08:50 AM
Mine also stored under roof but I leave my plug in; I also tie my boat off at the bow just in case the lift fails.

05-24-2012, 09:20 AM
I'm under roof also and leave my plug in. It would take a lot of rain to swamp the boat to the point the auto bilge ran the battery dead and the boat filled up.

05-24-2012, 09:51 AM
Under a roof... Bilge plug IN! My lift is floating so a lot more can go wrong than with a mechanical lift

05-24-2012, 11:40 AM
Mine is on a Cantilevered Hewitt, when up it is supported by the frame and not the cables. Its also under a canopy. I usually pull the plug though to drain the bilge as much as possible and keep it dry......but only when I am there.

I can live with water in my bilge for a few days if we get heavy rain...........its a boat.
Whether it makes sense or not, I rarely if ever turn my auto bilge on....I have just never gotten that much water in my boat.

A few years ago, the cable actually DID fail during the day, luckily I was there to swim after the boat. The cantilever rocking back into the water served as a launcher that sent the boat floating away rather quickly.

05-24-2012, 11:45 AM
A friend of mine has a hydrohoist and didn't fully close the valve one evening. The next day when they went to get in the boat it was gone. Luckily the plug was in and it had only floated about a mile down the lake.

Bob B
05-24-2012, 11:47 AM
Always have kept mine in but my boat is under good cover and Bilge Pump set on auto.

05-24-2012, 01:04 PM
lost my pontoon last year when the lift sank overnight. the lift was new to us and i didn't close the valve all the way. i woke up to one of my very nice neighbors towing my pontoon back in the morning.

05-24-2012, 01:09 PM
Mine stays in due to covered dock lets little wind blown rain into boat thru boat cover. ;)

05-24-2012, 03:59 PM
Guys this is an awesome topic. Being a new cabin and boat lift owner I have been questioning it every time I lift my boat out of the water. After reading this, I am running to the cabin tonight to put my plug in!!!

I noticed the other night when we had around 25mph winds that the winds put a hell of a lot of force (up lift) on a canopy and lift. Couple that with a higher COG with the boat sucked all the way up, I was getting a little nervous.


Thanks guys

DJ 50
05-24-2012, 04:31 PM
Plug in and dont forget to tie it off too. Like others on here, I too had a boat lift failure, we think the marina guys failed to close the valve all the way after doing work on it, and we had our boat floating freely in the marina. Ever since then we have made sure to tie it off when up on the lift. Until someone said it, I never thought what would happen if we had the plug out when it failed.