Lift Procedures

Sileas in TransportersmallProcedure for Club Boat Lifting

(Revised 7 April 2014)

1. Purpose

The lifting in and out of Club Members’ boats by the Club Members carries a degree of risk both to the members themselves and to their boats. The purpose of this procedure is to reduce the risks to members to as low as is reasonably practicable by identifying the key activities and people. It is important that all members involved in the lifting operation are aware of this procedure and that they follow it. The procedure simply formalises what the Club has always done and does not essentially change the operation. It also identifies and defines the key roles.

2. The Process

The essence of the boat lift-out process is as follows. Members’ boats are lifted out normally on one day at the end of the season using a hired crane, transferred into the Club’s Boat Transporter and moved within the Club’s land and set into the boat owner’s cradle or trailer. The lift-in operation in the spring is the reverse of the above.  The intent and understanding of the operation is that it is a self help activity where a member is lifting his or her boat, assisted by other Club members, using facilities provided by the Club. This implies that any damage to a member’s boat resulting from this operation is the Member’s responsibility. The Club is not liable for any such damage which should be covered by that Member’s own insurance. The Club is not operating a commercial undertaking for the benefit of Members; an overall charge is made to cover the cost of crane hire, maintenance, insurance, equipment replacement costs, etc. as appropriate. To comply with current practice, Club Members will be present who have received formal training in signalling instructions to the crane driver. A co-ordinator controls the overall operation together with two members responsible for “crane-liaison” at the boat transporter and at the pontoon. These members, and their deputies, shall be identifiable and the Crane operator informed of their function. Communication between the Crane Operator and the two Members responsible for crane liaison shall be agreed. Two other key people are a safety observer and a controller of operations associated with either setting boats down into or picking up boats from cradles. Again, these two functions are identifiable by wearing distinctive vests. Finally, the Tractor driver and Boat Transporter driver together with deputies are appointed before the lift day.

The ‘Club’ may organise the lift of a member’s boat when the member can not attend but only in exceptional circumstances.

3. Club Responsibilities

To facilitate the lifting operation, the Club shall:

Hire a suitable crane for the lift in or lift out. It is essential that the Crane Hire Company include in the hire agreement a “waiver of subrogation rights”. This is to ensure that the Club is not responsible for damage to the crane. The Club pays the charge for the waiver. A crane driver who is familiar with the Club’s lift-in/lift-out activity should be requested. The Crane driver has no responsibility for the slinging of a boat; this is entirely the responsibility of the owner.

Appoint suitable volunteer members as ‘Key People’ into the functions identified in the appended table (Section 5). 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 the lift day. Certain ‘Key People’ must wear appropriate identification, preferably in the form of a hi-visibility (yellow) coloured vest or jacket. Those undertaking crane liaison duties must wear the appropriate coloured (orange) hi-visibility vest and shall make themselves known to the crane driver to confirm signals to be used. Those in charge of the cradle operation and the safety observer should also wear jackets to identify them. The completed list in Section 5 should be displayed in the Clubhouse to assist in communication throughout the day. The formal check of the slings and the transporter is to be completed and recorded prior to and after use; the results filed.

The Club shall carry out and record a risk assessment of the lifting process and shall review the assessment from time to time (typically 4 yearly). This takes the form of a meeting with about three members experienced in the lifting process with any comments recorded and the existing assessment and procedure modified if necessary and dated and filed. Meeting would be expected to take about one hour.

Boat Owners and Members Responsibilities

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

4.1  The Boat owner shall ensure that his boat is ready for lift out with the mast down and securely fixed to his boat and also that his cradle is ready with all adjustable points free.

4.2  The owner should supply a rope to secure the slings. The slings should be tied together at deck level to reduce the risk of the boat slipping from the slings. Long-keel boats and other awkward hull shapes should preferably be tied at both sides This is normally achieved by securing the line at the bow and then leading it aft taking a turn around each sling before tying off at the stern. Note: these lines may be supplied by the Club but it is the boat owners’ responsibility to secure them appropriately.

4.3  The boat owner shall supply to the Club Council the weight of his boat including all equipment fuel and water. This information is needed to ensure that weight-radius limits of the crane are not exceeded. The owner shall also confirm that his craft is fully insured including third party risks; this is normally done when the owner confirms the request for a mooring at the beginning of the year.

4.4   The Boat owner is responsible for ensuring that his boat has marks indicating where sling placement to enable the crane slings to be properly positioned prior the crane lift. In particular, he should ensure that his boat is placed centrally in the slings and not tilted by making sure that people on board are on the centre line when the crane tightens the slings. Neither the owner nor any other person is permitted to be aboard the boat during the lifting operation. Once the boat is clear of the water, the owner shall indicate his satisfaction or otherwise to the person responsible for pontoon-crane liaison.

4.5  The Boat owner is responsible for ensuring that his boat is placed correctly in his cradle or trailer. Lifting or removal of boat transporter support will not take place until the owner says so since it is his responsibility.

4.6  As a result of the above, the boat owner must be present when his boat is being lifted. (Note exceptions to this would be illness of the owner when the boat may, in exceptional circumstances, be ‘lifted’ by the Club.)

4.7  When the boat owner is not actively involved in lifting his boat, he shall make himself available to the co-ordinator in order to assist other members in lifting their boats.

4.8 The boat owner should not invite people who are not Club members to assist in the lifting activity. For safety reasons, only Club members are allowed in the Club Compound during the lifting process. Children under 16 are not allowed in the Compound and must be accompanied from the gate to Clubhouse.

4.9  The owner shall complete final anti-fouling only when the Boat Transporter is stationary and when instructed to do so by the Transporter driver.

4.10  The owner shall remove of all hazards and rubbish after his boat has been lifted in. Paint and solvents must be taken from the compound to appropriate waste disposal site – not in Club refuse and recycle bins. Also, the owner should ensure that his cradle is dismantled and will not pose a hazard to others. He is also obliged to attend post-lift work-parties to move cradles and tidy compound.

4.11  Owners should endeavour to undertake key roles by gaining experience by assisting in them. Only in this way will our lifting process continue

4.12  All boat owners must thoroughly familiarise themselves with this procedure.

4.13 The owner must have appropriate insurance for his craft and for 3rd party risks.

4.14  All members, whether boat owners or not, must follow the safety instructions given to them by the Key People.

5.  Key People and Responsibilities

There are several key roles undertaken by members. These are outlined below. Only five of these roles should be clearly identifiable by wearing hi-visibility waistcoats. 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 roles in the table below and the list prominently displayed. 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 in the table below assist in the training of other willing members.


Co-ordinator – Overall supervision and control of all operations.  Should not be involved in any specific activity on the day. Has overall control of the order of lift and location of boats. Co-ordinator should ensure that all members involved in functions identified here are familiar with the task requirements below. Visual identification worn.

Crane Liaison Pontoon – Supervises all pontoon activity. Confirms boat owner’s satisfaction with slinging on lift-out and signals crane driver. Owner should be present for checks on slinging and for checks on leaks on lift-in. The few people on pontoon to be encouraged to wear lifejackets Formally trained in crane signalling. Orange visual identification worn.

Crane Liaison Boat Transporter – Supervises correct lift into and out of Boat Transporter and signals to crane driver. Formally trained in crane signalling. Orange visual identification worn.

Tractor Driver – Moves Boat Transporter only on instruction from Transporter driver. Stops on any command. Always use lowest gears and minimum revs.

Boat Transporter Driver – Moves to locations as instructed by Co-ordinator. When moving the Driver should request two lookouts to reduce risk of collision, particularly when reversing. BT Driver moves Transporter on instruction from Cradle Master. He should only raise or lower boat on request from Cradle Master. He must ignore instructions from other members helping unless it is to react to a ‘shout’ of Stop.

Cradle Master – Co-ordinates activities associated with setting down into and lifting from cradles. Assists owner setting boat into cradle. Also, responsible for ensuring that chocks are put in place to prevent Boat Transporter moving too near edge of compound. Communicates any requirements to raise or lower boat to Boat Transporter Driver; to facilitate this, a radio communication system may be used particularly when working at the rear of the Transporter where engine noise makes normal voice communication difficult. Boat Owner present for checks on setting down after lift-out and for lift-in.  Visual identification worn.

Safety Observer – Ensures non-members and children are excluded from hazardous area. Identifies irresponsible behaviour e.g. walking under suspended boats and walking inside moving Boat Transporter. 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.


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