Marinas throughout the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast United States are collectively closing their doors as they enter the cold months of the year, otherwise known as the off-season. And while chilly winds and precipitation will keep many would-be boaters away from the marina, there is still plenty to do to ensure operations are ready for the warmer months ahead, including maintaining and servicing their marina lift trucks.
Built to streamline the castoff and retrieval experience, marina lift trucks are designed with “negative lift” to allow their forks, which are padded to protect the hull, to submerge below water level and secure boats for transport. They may also have swing-forks or side shifting capabilities to assist operators in centering their forks below the boat prior to lifting.
And while these factors can improve day-to-day efficiency, they also present a unique set of challenges for equipment upkeep. Regularly submerged in water and subjected to harsh elements, the forks, carriage, and other critical components can become corroded or damaged over time if not cared for properly.
We recommend getting your marina lift truck on a planned maintenance schedule to ensure its systems are in proper operating order. Not only will this keep your equipment running smoothly for the duration of the peak season, but it will also keep the surprise end-of-season costs to a minimum.
But outside of the normal upkeep that is taken care of during your scheduled PMs, what sort of maintenance work should you watch out for and perform on your equipment during the off-season? Here are two of the most common issues that we see.
REPLACing WORN OUT FORK PADS
Attached along the length of a marina lift truck’s forks to protect boats during the lifting process are industrial-strength pads. While usually crafted out of durable materials and typically rotated to extend their operation life, these pads will inevitably wear over time, which can expose portions of the fork and carriage. If not patched or replaced in a timely manner, this can cause major headaches down the road when customers begin reporting damage to the undersides of their boats.
We see a lot of marina owners pre-emptively swap out their pads in the off-season, preferring peace of mind over trying to squeeze a few more weeks out of their old, worn out pads.
fight back against the elements
To better withstand the harsh elements associated with operating a marina — in the Atlantic the top culprit is salt water and seaside air — new lift trucks are coated with a high zinc primer and two-part urethane epoxy. However, depending on storage practices and the age of the truck, it may need to be touched up or completely recoated.
In many cases, customers will contract Taylor Northeast to recoat and repaint the entirety of their lift truck. This tends to be necessary when corrosion is not caught and treated early and overtakes large portions of the truck’s crucial components. The off-season is the perfect time to perform this sort of upkeep, as we can relocate the unit to our shop and take it for a spin in our state-of-the-art paint booth, a more comprehensive solution than spot repairs that won’t interrupt your operations.
To learn more about what Taylor Northeast can do for your business, contact us now.
Wiggins lift trucks
We are an authorized Wiggins Marina Bull dealer.