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How to Lift a Boat Off a Trailer Safely in 5 Steps

Written by J. Harvey / Fact checked by S. Numbers

how to lift a boat off a trailer

Finding smart ways on how to lift a boat off a trailer can be daunting and tricky. Moreover, it can be dangerous to remove boat from trailer. However, lifting boat off trailer in garage or anywhere is possible using lifting tools.

You just need to be safe by reading and using the expert insights from this tutorial. Check the best tips to jack a boat off a trailer and other information, including:

Essential things, prepping, and tools to consider, and steps to take a boat off a trailer with portable jack and lift supports

  • Step 1: Stabilizing The Boat Trailer
  • Step 2: Hoisting The Boat and Trailer
  • Step 3: Installing The Boat Safety Supports
  • Step 4: Separating The Boat From The Trailer
  • Step 5: Securing The Boat Lift

Read on about how jacking up a boat trailer becomes safely handy for boat owners.

Essential Things And Tools To Consider


1. Preparations and Tools Prior To Lifting A Boat From A Trailer

You can safely remove a boat from the trailer in a garage or anywhere that is suitably convenient and maneuverable. Lifting the boat on land is necessary to service or do the needed work.

Doing the actual boat lift off a trailer becomes useful but a bit hazardous to you or anyone. So, hosting the boat’s stability is vital to maintain, paint, and work some bottom repairs to your boat and trailer.

Make sure to consider the following tools in preparing for the removal of your boat from the trailer.

These are minimum tools for an effective, convenient, and safe boat lift off a trailer:

  • Dunnage/Tire Blocks
  • Trapeze Stands
  • Pivot Boat Stand
  • Support Beam/Stands
  • Portable Jack Lifts
  • Spring/Hitch Pins
  • Winch Stand Cable with Hook Clips
  • Safety Chains
  • Extra Bunk Boards

These tools may already be part of your marine maintenance kit. But you should figure out how to use them to handle the actual boat lift without professional help.

2. Precautions To Consider Prior and When Lifting Boats Off A Trailer

Do periodic checks of your boat and trailer to make boat lifting or towing more manageable and safe. Only do the lifting of your boat from a trailer when you are capable of doing so.

Add these precautions to properly lift a boat off your trailer.

  • If you are hesitant to do the lifting process alone, get a qualified mechanic that have experience
  • Walk around and visually check your boat for cracks, leaks, and other hair-like damages. It can be worsened when prepping and doing the actual boat lift
  • Make sure you have the right placement and number of boat support, jack lift, and jack stands for the boat size and weight
  • Use only the appropriate quality jack to carry the lift
  • Always refer to your boat’s user manual and manufacturer’s recommendation for other preparations and tools not listed here

For experienced and seasoned boat owners, these insights serve as friendly reminders to lead you through a smooth process.

3. Safety Tips

A portable boat lift becomes handy if you note the essential things above and follow the practical steps below. Prioritize safety among basic factors, physical or mechanical knowledge, tools, and cautions for a reliable and secure offloading process.

  • Secure enough space for total access and for maneuvering and offloading the boat from a trailer
  • Use lifting tools like a portable jack lift to help you hoist your boat off the trailer
  • Ensure to read and understand all written information accompanying the tools before proceeding to the actual lifting task
  • Know the accurate tonnage or load capacity required for your boat stands and jack lifting tools. Consider the total weight of the boat and trailer when choosing the boat lift tools
  • Always connect marine grade straps or safety chains from the trailer post to the boat’s bow. They can work under severe strain and prevent the boat from sliding off the trailer or falling to the ground.
  • The use of bolted connections is a good idea for the boat to cope with any strain and allows for easy chain adjustments

Steps To Take A Boat Off A Trailer


Step 1: Stabilizing The Boat Trailer

Ensure correct placement and adequate space to stabilize your boat and trailer. You can inflate the trailer tires to about 35 psi for a firm hold to the ground.

Use dunnages or blocks to keep trailer wheels on a controlled, flat surface and prevent tilting, swaying or sudden movements.

Put blocks to chock both front and back sides of the trailer wheels for stable placement before offloading the boat.

Place bunk boards in between boat hulls and trailer surfaces for easy separation.

Step 2: Hoisting The Boat and Trailer


Properly hoisting your boat determines the ease of offloading it off the trailer and allows your portable jack to work well. The lower you can hoist the boat trailer tongue down, the higher it can raise the boat’s transom.

Hoist the boat carefully by setting the support stands under the transom and snug them up a bit tighter.

Connect the trapeze from the boat’s bow eye with a pin and secure it with its clip.

Secure the trapeze hole that is slightly higher to the pivot stand. An overhead hoisting platform is a good idea.

Step 3: Installing The Boat Safety Supports

Attach the other end of the trapeze’s eye nut with a hook from the winch stand cable and tighten it. Check and crank the winch cables enough to extend the stand legs out away from the center.

Install the safety chain or marine-grade straps around the base of each stand to hold them tight with enough slack. Allow enough spaces on each support stand so you can put a jack lift and a support platform for easy adjustments. The use of bunk boards, blocks, jacking tools are of great help for a total boat lift.

Step 4: Separating The Boat From The Trailer

Start separating the boat from the trailer by suspending the boat bow with the trapeze stand. Adjust the trapeze and winch while bringing down the trailer tongue to lessen the contact between the boat and trailer.

Continue separating the boat until the boat bow’s ends are no longer in contact with the trailer hull. Make sure the boat support stands and trapeze stands are in place to catch the boat sections. Put more boat stands or jack stands to the stern and bow sections of your boat for adjustment and safety.

Step 5: Securing The Boat Lift

Place a portable jack under the trailer tongue to pull it out safely from underneath the boat. Ensure at the same time that the boat is totally lifted onto the trapeze stand and that the safety supports are in place.

Do the final crank of the winch cable and check the complete separation of the boat from the trailer. Check the entire boat hull and stands. All lift supports should be in place before and after the trailer removal.

Finally, leave the portable jack lift mounted to your boat for easy adjustment of the stands and supports and access to the boat hulls.

Watch these YouTube Videos videos by Dennis Coffey on safely removing your boat from a trailer on land.


You no longer have to wonder “How to lift a boat off a trailer?” as you have read the expert tips in this tutorial. Continue learning these practical insights to offload your boat from a trailer safely and effortlessly.

These simplified and unbiased recommendations from boat owners are your useful guides.

Use them to prevent any danger from happening while doing the boat offloading process. The portable jack lift and other lifting tools are available in the market today for your use. Get yours and enjoy separating and servicing your boats and trailers before heading for an outing.

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