What Are Your Best Short- And Long-Term Boat Storage Options?

Posted on: 8 September 2015

Whether you're looking for a way to safely and temporarily stow your boat during the off-season or are interested in more long-term storage while you and your family undergo a cross-country move, you may be wondering about your available options. Proper storage can extend your boat's life and help minimize maintenance and repairs; but by that same token, storing your boat in a facility not designed to deal with its specific needs could be problematic. How can you preserve your boat in good condition without paying an arm and a leg? Read on to learn more about your short- and long-term boat storage options to help select the type of storage that works best with your lifestyle.

What are your short-term boat storage options?

For ultra-short-term storage, "wet docking" your boat in a body of water is inexpensive and convenient. Once you want to use your boat again, you'll simply have it moved from its wet storage location to another part of the lake or hooked up to a trailer for towing. However, regularly keeping the hull of your boat immersed in water for long periods of time without cleaning it and taking other protective measures could damage the outer layer of paint or lead to a buildup of barnacles or other water-based nuisances. You could also suffer wind damage to the upper parts of your boat if it's stored outside during a summer thunderstorm.

A safer (but pricier) option is dry storage at the marina or other docking location. This will remove your boat from the water and store it in a dry, temperature-controlled environment -- similar to the storage units used for household items. To stow your boat in dry storage, you'll need to drain most of the fluids and take other measures to ensure it doesn't leak or cause damage to the interior of the unit. Because this process can be inconvenient, dry storage isn't often recommended for boats you plan to take out on a daily basis (or even multiple times per week). 

What are your long-term boat storage options? 

While storing your boat in dry dock at a marina is one of the best ways to keep it safe from the elements, doing so for a long period of time (particularly a period in which you don't plan to use the boat regularly) can be expensive. There are several lower-cost options that still keep your boat away from the water without requiring you to shell out much extra cash.

Off-site dry storage is similar to marina storage, but is done farther away from the water. Because your boat will need to be trailered and towed to the nearest body of water, rather than simply being moved by marina staff, you won't be required to pay the premium price associated with marina dry storage. Seeking "rack storage" rather than an individual storage unit is another way to cut costs, as it will allow your boat to be housed with dozens of others in a fairly small space. Either of these can be a great option if you're sure you're done using your boat for the season (or even longer). 

If you'd rather store your boat at home, but aren't sure you have the garage capacity, renting a portable trailer may be a good option for you. These trailers are enclosed and locked and will allow your boat to avoid exposure to the elements (and exposure to thieves or vandals) while remaining easily accessible to you and your family. When you need to take your boat somewhere, you'll simply hook up the enclosed trailer to your towing vehicle and be on your way. Click here for more info on boat storage.