Justifying Costs

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I was thinking about the cost of services and utilities we use everyday. Why do we pay so much, for Hydro Electricity, Water and Gas? If we actually weigh out the amount of convenience against the daily cost, I’m sure it is more than reasonable.

leadwaterI should think paying for good water is one of the easier cheques to write.

So how do they arrive at the total cost on an invoice? This is a good question especially if your shelling out the bucks for things you don’t see or directly touch and sometimes take for-granted. Take for example the gas bill you pay every month, even without consumption. How do they figure those charges? Well, in research I found we are all covered with emergency service 24/7 free of charge. Like if a tree in a wind storm knocks your meter silly, they fix it no charge even though it is on our property. Would you want to have to repair the gas meter own your own? Not when their interest is in control of safety, longevity and planned maintenance. Hydro and Waterworks with similar policy for their product.

2575774839_9c9647441fSwing the balance scale to other expenses and compare. The example being your vehicle maintenance and find the manufacturer does not keep charging you after the product is delivered. Do you think it would be cheaper to have them charge you monthly regardless of use? Or it might be cheaper to wait for something to wear out and break. I think it would take a lot of justifying to arrange how much to pay per year, either way. So here we are with two sides to the necessary evil costs of ownership. One of the costs you get to sweep under the carpet and the other is demanded in order to keep utilities flowing.

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From my perspective, I get to see where a utility charge for annual service would be handy. I also get to see where the Leisure Boat Lift products can withstand many seasons with zero maintenance and only get to service them on demand. I’ll probably never completely resolve this part of the boat lifting business. It is big business as long as the sun shines and temperatures soar, and small potatoes when the weather is cold and snowing.

What does it take to prolong life and smooth operation to your Leisure Boat Lift? Simple as it may seem, preparedness is the key and it is expensive. To do ‘what, when and how,’ especially on the water front is a timely matter. We have no less than tens of thousands of dollars trucked and towed to a boat launch, leaving a fully equipped fabrication shop with store front back on dry land. Our contest is to keep every aspect of the business running to it’s fullest potential in less than 6 months running time of high demand. In twelve months of the year, overhead commands those necessary bills, taxes and insurance to be paid.

Next time I’m obliged to answer the question of ‘what maintenance do we provide for our minimum charge?’, I wonder if a brochure prepared as a “quick answer guide,” would be appropriate. The list of what services we handle, is extensive, expensive and takes precious time to explain. It will always remain the consumers call, but awareness and friendly advice upon inspection, at minimal cost is never a bad idea.

Upkeep is our duty, for 29 years of production in the light of the future, lifting family vessels at a lake front setting. Leisure Boat Lift owners are not disappointed. www.leisureboatlift.com Lake front maintenance.

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Fins underneath –

A matter that’s been resurfacing in the past few weeks, as the installation season begins, is people requesting Tournament Kits for their Leisure Boat Lift. That’s great when you know you need it. A Tournament Kit provides the extra height needed for the propeller and fins to clear the lift, as well as a different style of stopping board that the fins rest on.

Gorilla Brackets (Right) are sometimes needed to give the boat extra height above the lift.

Most new tournament-style boats will have large fins underneath the bottom and it’s easy enough to tell if you’ve got them – just take a look under the hull. If you don’t know, just check next time you’ve got your boat out on a trailer. It’s important to know this so that if you do decide to get a boat lift for your boat, that it be equipped with a tournament kit or Gorilla Brackets to rise it from the water even further. Although the fins are important, the even bigger problem that can come from having an improper lift is damage to the prop. The prop needs to be able to clear the lift or have the fins stop at a board to avoid any damage.

A Finned Tournament Boat without a tournament kit.

One owner hadn’t known he had fins under his new boat and nearly let that get away on him – luckily no damage was done, but you can see how close the fins and prop can get to the lift without Gorilla Brackets. The brackets adds many inches of height to the boat when lifted, taking away the chance of denting any fin or prop.

A prop shown on a boat, the lifter without Gorilla Brackets.

Trouble with Anchors

Deciding on an anchor to tie your boat to can be a great alternative to private mooring. The chains used in these set-ups are galvanized chains that don’t work well in a marine environment is because the galvanized metal wears down under use, and exposes bare metal within a short period of time. Wave action alone moves the chain, constantly works away at the galvanized finish before it exposes the cheap metal underneath. A solution to this is using a different kind of chain that is ‘quenched and tempered.’ A favorite brand name is System 7, a virtually uncoated but through and through high tensile, very tough steel. It keeps its load rating and wears very slowly.

It’s important to look through all your options before deciding on tossing a buoy out front – there are ups and downs to any private mooring choice.

A worn-down galvanized buoy chain found during a dive.

Typically, galvanizing gives materials a protective finish regardless of quality. Galvanizing can be found in tin roofing, siding, eavestrough spouts, exhaust systems, and more. The photo above shows the protective finish has done its job where the work load was not required. Where the worn part of the chain is shown, poor quality material is exposed shortly after the installation of the chain.

Bottom line, if you’re using galvanized chain to anchor a boat and marker buoy, be sure to inspect it far earlier than you would with another chain. The galvanization wears off all too soon and can cause the chain to wear out quite quickly.System 4 / System 7 chain is anywhere from 7 to 10 dollars a foot and is a smart alternative. Galvanized chain is relatively inexpensive per foot.

Have your local dive shop inspect your anchor chain.

You’ll find this in your owners’ manual!

There are a few things that need your full attention when you’re operating your Leisure Boat Lift. When bringing your boat up or down, you need to keep an eye on the lift and its components. The lift is a specially designed piece of machinery that requires your attention. It is important to keep notice of the chain and make sure that it is straight and all of the links are lined up.

Another very important aspect of the lift is to watch out for the height limit – after each install, we draw a line that the lift cannot pass (as shown in the photo below.) If the line fades, you can simply re-draw it on with any thick felt pen. It’s important to watch for this line in any condition. Bad weather can make it a little harder to watch this line, or get everyone in a hurry, but lifting your Leisure Boat Lift above that line causes the chain hook to suck itself into the chain hoist and cause a big problem.

In normal conditions, you don’t even need to lift your boat as high as the line – as long the cradle is out of the water, you’re good to go.

The line in the photo shows the height limit for the lift.

When someone is operating for the first time (that isn’t the owner) it’s a good idea to supervise them and make sure they’re looking out for the chain and the height of the boat. Anyone who is operating the lift should be attentive and listen to the sounds being made by the lift.

If you hear a lot of clunking around, pausing / stopping as you lower the lift, abnormal whining or any other out-of-place sounds coming from the motor, or any other sound that seems irregular, don’t hesitate to give us a call. Sometimes all it takes is some advice from our crew over the phone, and the problem can be solved. Otherwise, don’t hesitate to ask our service crew to come out and fix whatever ails the lifter.

What Happens When The Chain Gets Sucked Into The Hoist

Not paying attention to the lift height can cause a bit of a mess!

The chain is very important to keep an eye on, as mentioned before – If the chain links aren’t in a straight alignment with eachother, you can get in the water and simply attempt to twist the links back into a straight line with each other. If this doesn’t work, again, do not hesitate to call for service. It can’t be stressed enough how important regular service and maintenance truly is for such a high quality, specially designed machine like the Leisure Boat Lift.

DNR Specialty Welding and the Lake Front


Often we’ve emphasized that service and regular maintenance are key to a long lasting Leisure Boat Lift. Like any quality machine, it requires care and upkeep. It’s easy to forget that DNR Specialty Welding is nestled right in Vernon, and not at the lake front , your boat lift can’t just be brought to us, or any other technician – it’s specialty work requiring our crew to head out and take care of the equipment; and when you factor in wages, fuel costs, equipment, and supplies, the costs for a simple job to go out and lubricate a lift can rack up.

A few requirements for a service call.

Although we are indeed detached from the lake front itself, we are certainly not seperate from the lake front community. Working in harmony with the community members is just as important as any other step in the process of Leisure Boat Lift.

Southern B.C. Mussels

A problem can arise when it comes to building and adding onto your lake front – an endangered species often forgotten about. Yes, the Rocky Mountain Ridged Mussel is one creature that really doesn’t get much attention – but the Canadian Wildlife Service has yet to forget about it and has rules in place that oversee the safety and habitat restoration of the mussel. It is the only known living kind left of its own genus, and can be the cause of a lot of distress if there happens to be a group on your lake front property – the construction of a dock would be completely prohibited. The problem stems from the construction of docks / lifts / other lake-front products stirring up and altering the habitat that these mussels reside in.

This small creature can cause quite a stir, so if for some reason you’ve got a hunch that some may be residing around your property, check that first before any construction happens. This could get you into a lot of trouble later on – dealing with an endangered species is quite a process. From the map pictured below, you can see that the residence of these mussels is found mostly in the western area of the states, but their habitat does reach into southern BC and just creeps into the Okanagan.

Only a couple of customers (out of 1300+) have ever run into this problem – but it’s still something to check in on. Make sure your lake front is the appropriate place to have a dock and Leisure Boat Lift!

It’s never too early for a maintenance request –

Regular maintenance is a big part of Leisure Boat Lift’s lifespan. At least once a year must a lift have its roller wheels lubricated by the 4 grease points. This is necessary for the lifter to have fluid, smooth up and down rolling motion. Without yearly lubrication, the lift may begin to chatter and struggle as it moves in either direction. Although this will not immediately harm the lift, it is highly advised to give us a call, or if you are equipped to do so, lubricate the lift yourself. It is not an extremely complex process but requires the correct tools and knowledge.

There are 4 different lubrication points on the cradle (which are situated inside of the tower) that are called grease nipples. The top 2 can be reached from the top but you must go underneath the cradle to reach the bottom 2. We are fully equipped to do this at any time of year, as cold water does not pose a challenge to our dry suits and other gear.

 

Another line on the maintenance checklist would be your lift’s brakes. The chain hoists we use have brake pads just like any vehicle would have – they wear away with use over time. The photo below is a case of very much use with no brake maintenance, it takes a long time to have the pads wear so thin. Over time with regular use, you may hear chattering / squeaking as you lower your lift – This requires a maintenance call but is not related to the brakes wearing too thin. We dismantle the chain hoist safely, and do not replace the brakes but instead clean them of the brake ‘dust’ which has accumulated over use, which is the cause of the brakes becoming shiny and glassy, and slipping just a little bit as it lowers.

 
To keep the brakes of your lift healthy, it is important to lower the lift in increments. Do not just simply hold down the wobble switch in the “down” direction for a few minutes until the lift has lowered – lower the lift 15 seconds at a time, pause for 10 or so seconds, and continue. This keeps the brakes from getting too hot and increases their lifespan.