Marina Boat Lift In

Every year at about this time, boat owners get their boats moved from storage and lifted in to the harbour.  The operation is jointly organized by the Cobourg Yacht Club and the Town’s Marina staff and the cost is paid by boat owners.  It involves a truck which moves masts and boats out of storage then a crane to lift boats into the water (see the video below).  This year, the operation spread over two days (Friday and Saturday) with Third Street, the Esplanade and the bottom of Division Street closed.  Masts from many boats were temporarily stored on the Esplanade grass – the crane was scheduled to help re-install them once all the boats were in the water.

Over the last year or so, Marina staff have suggested that the crane and truck be replaced by a Travel Lift – more on this below.

Boat Lift in
Boat Lift in

Much of the work is now done by volunteers from the Yacht club but the club seems to prefer the idea that the Town (that is, the Marina) fully take on the job.  As it is, boat owners pay a fee in the hundreds of dollars range for the truck and crane and if a Travel Lift were employed, they would pay for its use instead.

With the idea of expansion of boat slips into the West Harbour dead in the water – at least for this term of council – the remaining issue is whether the current Lift-in/out method should continue or should a Travel Lift be used instead. Financing of it would be by boat owners so money should not be an issue unless there is a subsidy by the Town. However, a Travel Lift would have to be housed and/or stored somewhere and some may object on that basis.  Also, a Travel Lift would need a ramp to be built into the West harbour and that would require extensive dredging causing further concerns.

For the current method to be continued, the Yacht Club would need to continue to supply volunteer helpers or the Marina would need to pay a number of people.  The Travel Lift idea seems to not be a simple issue.


The weather was cold  and windy with light flurries!  The white specs on the video are snow – not a fault condition!

Be sure to watch on full screen – it’s only about 5 minutes.


Addendum – 29 April

A pontoon from the floating dock in the East Harbour had a leak and needed to be welded.  Since that meant that the dock had to be at least partially out of the water, it was moved to where it could be “beached” – the West Harbour.  Seeing this, a number of citizens were concerned that additional boat slips were being installed in the West Harbour.  No they were not, it’s simply maintenance of existing floating slips from the East Harbour.

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Bob Robertson
29 April 2019 6:36 pm

I drove into the west side parking area of the Harbour on Saturday, hoping to see waterfowl, but what i did notice was a series of docks installed beside the boat ramp. What’s going on? I thought the west side of the Harbour was exempt from boat docks.

John Draper
Reply to  Bob Robertson
29 April 2019 6:47 pm

See addendum above

29 April 2019 1:42 pm

Definitely Not Shrink Wrap is that Nasty Single use plastic stuff
Lets stop using it
Also I would like to know now that all the local boats are in the water at the docks
Who occupies the other 80 % of the Dock space is it Cobourg and Northumberland Residents
or other s ??????????? at our expense

Reply to  perplexed
29 April 2019 2:21 pm

Oh for Heaven’s Sake!
How often does it need to be said?
Probably every 24 hours if one is talking to a wall.
Cobourg Harbour and Marina belong to the town and are fully funded by boaters’ fees. No Cobourg tax dollars are used to operate or maintain the marina and harbour facilities – water and land.

Fact Checker
Reply to  perplexed
29 April 2019 2:29 pm

Agree with you on the shrink wrap. Piles of it in the storage yard. No idea if it is recyclable of not.

Several boats have arrived at the marina that were stored elsewhere.
This past weekend, about 30 boats were moved from storage and “lifted-in”. There will be another lift-in in a couple of weeks and an additional 20 or so boats will be lifted-in. Not all boats are “lifted-in” by the crane. Some are trailer launched from the marina’s launch ramp.

Typically, the marina hosts about 145 seasonal boats, about 2/3 of which winter elsewhere. There are 70 or so slips allocated to “visitors”. There are rumours that this will be reduced to about 50, thereby increasing the number of seasonal slips.
I am not aware that this change has been presented to Council or approved.

As to your comment … “at our expense”, The marina has operated on a user pay basis and turns a small profit which is used for capital repairs and replacement.

Bill Prawecki
Reply to  Fact Checker
29 April 2019 5:52 pm

Just to clarify the CYC announced that they lifted in 52 boats last Saturday. It is interesting to note that no one ever complains or writes about the so-called “elite” RV owners who pay very little to live at their waterfront resort at our expense.

Mrs. Anonymous
Reply to  Bill Prawecki
29 April 2019 7:03 pm

The “elite” (insert eyeroll) haul their own trailers in and out with the their own trucks. I imagine if the trailer people begin to lobby for some sort of trailering assistance they too will face scrutiny.

Fact Checker
Reply to  Bill Prawecki
29 April 2019 7:06 pm

By “elite” RV owners, I assume that you are referring to those who use the Victoria Park Campground (VPC) Like the marina, the VPC is operated on a user pay basis. People staying at the VPC pay site rental fees just as the boat owners pay for the slips that they use. The VPC typically has a profit of $125K or more. Your “at our expense” comment seems somewhat misguided.

Reply to  perplexed
29 April 2019 5:36 pm

Actually shrink wrap can be recycled if done properly. My friends told me at their storage location (not at Cobourg Harbour). The storage operator distributes plastic bags for them and they have to cut out ropes and vents. Then they roll it up and place in bags which are recycled.

29 April 2019 8:39 am

I kept a boat 28 ft at my Cottage for yrs . and was paying those kind of numbers 20 yrs ago
$1,500 out of the water in the fall ,plus winterization & Shrink wrap Then $1,500 Plus back in in the spring with engine tune up and storage fees based on when it went back in . Its not a Cheap hobby for those that enjoy it
The rest of us have hobbies as well but we don’t ask everyone else to pay for it or look at it .

Reply to  perplexed
29 April 2019 9:46 am

Perplexed – about that shrink wrap: What is it made of, is it bio-degradable or recyclable?

manfred s
Reply to  gerinator
29 April 2019 1:39 pm

if it were biodegradable it might be a poor protector against weather and sun and kinda pointless in that case.

Reply to  manfred s
2 May 2019 9:48 am

Good point. But if bio-degradable I thought it would be a timing thing e.g. rots after 2 years.

Old Sailor
28 April 2019 9:14 pm

Good video on the launch process John.

When one drives by the marina now, take in the number of still the empty slips. Multiply the empty slips by $1,500 to $2,000 and that is the lost annual revenue from launch, haulout and winter storage fees that could go towards financing a travel lift. No extra staff required. Lost revenue could be in the annual range of $150,000 to $200,000 or more……………….

The related incremental capital cost would be expanding the storage yard fencing north towards Third Street. I don’t believe that would offend other groups who have an interest in the harbour. As a Lake Ontario boater I could never figure out why Cobourg Marina was the only port on the lake that did not shoot for a 95% slip fill rate. Instead leaving 30% of their slips empty while carrying a large wait list???????

Certainly worth a discussion by council.

Jim Thomas
Reply to  Old Sailor
28 April 2019 10:20 pm

The storage yard is at the south end of Hibernia Street, not Third Street, and it already occupies far too much of what should be public space. Valuable harbour side real estate permanently lost to an industrial-type storage yard right on our public beach.
Move the whole thing: access ramp, industrial-style monster boat-lift crane, and storage yard down to Willmott Street where it belongs.
Give us back our beach and make the space available to all.

Reply to  Jim Thomas
29 April 2019 10:44 am

Industrial, industrial!
Since when is something ‘industrial’ the same as ‘monstrous”?
I guess it is for some who have never worked with their hands on a factory floor and have looked down on folks who did.

Jim Thomas
Reply to  Albert
2 May 2019 3:49 pm

Actually, I spent some of my working life making automobiles on an assembly line in Brampton, and part of it driving a lift truck in an ammunition warehouse here in Cobourg. I also spent years working as a systems analyst in the big shiny office towers in downtown Toronto. I do not “look down on” anyone who makes an honest living.
I do remember when the harbour area was a dirty industrial mess of freight sheds, coal piles and loading docks, and I don’t like the thought of it resembling that state again.

Deborah OConnor
Reply to  Old Sailor
30 April 2019 6:26 pm

The Golden Rule here is that the Board, in this case Town Council, sets Policy, and staff carries it out. It’s not Councillors’ jobs to manage any Town Department, only to provide overall direction and keep an eye on the budget. The marina is a municipal moneymaker, it’s just fine.