From the Forums: Lifting Your Houseboat

Published in the May 2019 Issue May 2019 Multimedia

Excerpts from recent Houseboat forum exchanges at

Zilpo55: We plan to have our outdrives serviced as soon as the weather permits. This will be my first time going through this, although I went with a friend who had his done. This is a big deal for me and I will be watching every step of the way.
Are there specific things I should watch for or ask the technicians during the service? Our boat is fairly basic: twin MerCruiser 140hp with Alpha outdrives. It doesn’t have thrusters, so there are no lines to replace. There have been no signs of issues (engine temps, lower unit reservoir levels, etc.), although a neighbor claims my starboard drive is a little noisy. But this will be the tenth year and it’s time. The company has a good reputation and I trust them. I just want to get the most out of this trip and I’d like to watch for any pitfalls.

easttnboater: Which outdrives? Alphas or Bravos? Are they going to put it on a stern lift, a full lift, or pull it out on a trailer?

Zilpo55: Alpha drives. They have a very good full lift that can handle boats larger than our 73-footer.

easttnboater: I am assuming they are doing a full service—replacing the water pump (not just the impeller), the boots, and the cables. Also, check the transom assembly and gimble bearing and alignment. 
You need to find out how close to the action they will let you be. At the very least, I would want to visually inspect my hull—I do not know if they will let you get under the boat while it’s on the lift. You also need to fully test how it shifts before you accept the job.

Zilpo55: Your assumption is correct; they will do all the service you listed. Except, I have to ask, where are the water pumps you speak of? In the outdrives? I knew the impellers were down there on the Alpha drive. 
They’ll let us get very close to the action. We can safely get to most of the hull, and I've even known some dock neighbors who have pressure washed down there while their work was in progress. 
Great suggestion on testing the shift cables before leaving. Thanks for the feedback. You’ve been very helpful.


Have you got any questions or advice about lifting your houseboat for the first time? Hop on the forum and join the conversation.

  • Like what you read?

    Want to know when we have important news, updates or interviews?

  • Join our newsletter today!

    Sign Up
You Might Also Be Interested In...

Send to your friends!