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Boat Storage: everything you need to know


When you need covered or uncovered storage for your boat, choosing a storage unit that's specifically designed for boats can make it safer and easier to protect your watercraft. Keep in mind that:


  • You need a place to store your boat during the off-season, if you don't have room for it.
  • You probably need to tow your boat back and forth to the water, if it's not docked at the marina.
  • In between uses, you'll need somewhere safe to store your boat, so it doesn't get damaged.


With all that in mind, a boat storage unit can be just what you need. Here are some of the most important issues to consider.


The Basics of Storing Your Boat

A lot of people keep their boats outside, in their driveway or yard. Not only does that take up a lot of space, but it also means your boat's being exposed to the elements all the time. Even though boats are made to be used outdoors, they can still suffer from wear and tear. They can also become damaged if they're outside continuously. With any kind of uncovered parking, your boat really isn't getting the type of protection it needs.


You want to at least have covered parking for your boat, and you can get that through vehicle storage that offers a roof. Many storage facilities have these types of units, and they can be used for boats, RVs, and other large vehicles. They aren't specific to boats, but that's not a problem. The goal is just to make sure your watercraft has some protection from the sun, rain, and wind during the times you're not using it.


Some people choose to put a cover over their boat, and then also store it in a covered unit. That's not the same as having it in an enclosed storage unit, but can still go a long way toward providing it with adequate protection. But there are other options, including completely enclosed units, that can also work really well. Some people choose those, and some look for storage that has racks designed to hold boats stacked in columns. With all the options, you can find one that works best for your boat.


Indoor Boat Storing Options

If you have a boat that's not too large, indoor boat storage can be the right choice. A storage facility that has enclosed vehicle storage should work, because it's designed for large vehicles like RVs. You can just back your boat and trailer into the unit, secure it, and leave it there until the next time you want to use it. That's a great way to protect it during the winter months, and also have somewhere to keep it safe between outings in the summertime. Depending on where you live, you might not have room at home.


It's not necessarily good for a boat to leave it outdoors, when it's being exposed to the elements all the time. Temperature extremes aren't good for the hull or the motor, and even excessive rain or sunlight can start to break things down eventually. Boats are durable, but if you want to keep yours running right and looking good for as long as possible, indoor boat parking is the best option. When compared to keeping your boat at a marina, these enclosed units are also generally inexpensive.


If you live in an area that's close to the water, finding boat parking that's enclosed shouldn't be too difficult. Many facilities see the need for more than uncovered parking, and they want to make sure boat owners have enough options. Whether you're just looking for covered parking, or you want an enclosed storage unit, considering indoor options is well worth your time. You can keep your boat safer and help it last longer, when you protect it properly and store it in an enclosed unit for the highest level of protection.


Outdoor Boat Storing Options

If you're looking for a less expensive way to store your boat, or you don't have the option for an enclosed unit near you, the next best option is to choose outdoor storage. This works well for people who aren't worried about having an enclosed storage space, but who still need somewhere besides their home to store their boat. If you can't park your boat at your house, or you simply don't want to do that, you can choose an outdoor option. Some are covered and some are just open spaces for storage.


Covering your boat with a good quality cover may be something you'll want to consider, especially if you have an uncovered space to store your boat. Even having a roof can help to protect it, but that doesn't mean you can't cover it up and store it that way, as well. A lot of people who own boats don't have the space for them at their home, so they look for another location. The marina is the most convenient location to store a boat, but it can also be very expensive and may not be a very viable option during the winter months.


Instead of spending too much to try to keep your boat in the water, or worrying about where you're going to keep it when the weather turns cold, it's often faster and easier to use an outdoor storage location. If you put a cover securely over your boat, and make sure you take care of all the proper maintenance on it, it will still hold up well, and you can get a lot of years of use from it. While it may not be quite as good as putting it into an enclosed unit, having somewhere to store it when not in use is still important.


Dry Stack and Stack Storage

One of the best options for storing your boat conveniently is to use the stack or dry stack method. This is done when a storage facility puts boats into big steel racks. They're stacked up, one above the other. Depending on the size of the boats and the height of the facility's ceiling, there can be four or five boats stored in a column that way. If the facility is big, and the rows between the boats aren't oversized, it's possible to get a lot of boats into one space, so there are more spaces for owners to use when they need them.


If you don't use your boat for months at a time due to travel, weather, or other reasons, stack storage can be a great way to keep your boat safe and protected, without worry. These types of storage options are great for the facility, because they can get a lot of boats into the space. But they're also great for boat owners, because it means there are more storage spots for boats that are close by. Living near the water means storage for boats, but it also means more boats that need those storage spots, as well.


The price for this kind of storage is usually really reasonable, but it's not a convenient choice for someone who wants to use their boat frequently. It takes a while to load and unload a boat into a dry stack, so it's better when used for winter storage, or for times when the boat simply won't be needed for a while. It's not perfect, and like any boat storing option there are pros and cons. Still, it can be one of the most efficient and effective ways for boat owners to store their watercraft when they aren't using them.


Self Storage Tips for Boats

When you choose a storage location, make sure it's one that's right for your needs. If your boat's getting used every weekend, that's a lot different from storing it for the winter months. In colder climates, most of the waterways that would be used for enjoying your boat are frozen over for months at a time. It makes sense to keep your boat securely stored during those times, and enclosed options or a dry stack are great ways to do that. Open storage still works, but it's harder on the boat to store it that way.


If you're just storing it during the week, and taking it out on most weekends, having open storage is easier for access. It's also generally used by people who don't have space at their home to store their boat, or who prefer not to have it parked in their yard or driveway. Overall, both open and enclosed storage have their pros and cons. There are downsides and advantages to each one, and only you can decide which is right for your needs and the boat you have. Either way, though, it's good to have options.


As you think about the different storage options for your boat, consider the level of protection you want, the amount you want to spend, and how often you'll be using your boat. If you're just looking for a place to park it because there isn't room at your house, open storage is less expensive and provides easier access. But you're not going to get much protection from that option. You may want to at least consider a facility that has covered storage, where there's a roof over your boat to partially protect it.


Storing it for the long term is often better achieved through an enclosed storage location or a dry stack. That way you'll have peace of mind, and know that your boat is completely protected from the elements. Especially during the winter months in cold climates, that can be the safest way to protect the investment you have in your boat.