Boating enthusiasts usually have to find a place to store their boats and other watercrafts during the off-season.
Unless your boat is docked at the marina during the season, you probably need to tow your boat or watercraft to the water each and every time you use it.
In between uses, however, you need a safe place to store your boat and keep it from harm.
1 Boat Storage
Keeping your boat outside in your yard or in your driveway, will not only take up space, but it will also expose your boat to the harmful effects of the sun and other elements. Fortunately, there are numerous options for storing your boat or watercraft.
If you are not going to be using your boat for long extended periods of time, you have several options for storing your boat: boat storage units, outdoor boat storage units, and dry racks. The dry storage yards can also offer RV storage or storage for any other type of vehicle. Some of these outside boat parking spaces are covered spaces with a roof to protect from direct contact with the sun. These covered parking spaces provide protection from the harmful effects of UV rays that can fade the exterior finishes of any boat.
2 Indoor Boat Storage Units
If your boat is not too large, you may be able to store your boat in an indoor boat storage unit. It's a great way to protect your boat from the elements and know that it is safe and well cared for. Some people leave their boat outdoors, but that can be hard on the hull, motor, and other boat systems, especially if they live in an area where the weather can get very cold, very hot, or face other extremes. Even in mild climates, boats that are stored indoors and cared for properly tend to last longer and operate better, so it's worth storing your boat that way. It can save you a lot on maintenance.
These indoor units are relatively inexpensive compared to keeping your boat docked at a marina, and they can be found in nearly every city and close to the water. People who live close to the water and own a boat often use these kinds of storage options, because they may not have room for their boat at their home. If you live in an HOA community, for example, you may not have the option to leave your boat in your driveway, parked beside your house, or even in your backyard because of the rules and regulations you agreed to when you purchased your home. Indoor boat storage can be a perfect solution to the issue.
Unfortunately, the largest size indoor storage unit is usually 10x30, so if your boat is long or too tall, this may not be your best option. That can be very disappointing to those who want to store their boat, because they are concerned that they won't have a choice but to leave their boat outdoors, exposed to the elements all the time when they aren't using it. There are other facilities, however, that will allow you to store larger boats indoors. These boat storage locations often have a large warehouse that they will use to store larger boats.
The boats in these warehouses are typically stored together, and being inside the warehouse will keep them safe from the harmful elements, including precipitation and sun damage. These warehouses are perfect for larger boats or expensive boats that should not be kept outdoors in bad winter weather. Typically however, these warehouse spaces will cost significantly more than other options. The extra cost is because of the size of the facility and the room the boat takes up, but that cost can still be well worth it. Often, it costs less than the maintenance and repair for a boat that is always left out in the elements. That's good news for boat owners, and can help you take good care of the investment you have in your boat when you're not using it.
3 Outdoor Boat Storage Units
Numerous storage facilities offer outdoor boat storage spaces that are similar to parking spaces. You can cover your boat and keep it out of harm's way for long periods of time and during the off-season. Some are even covered with a roof to prevent sun damage and rain damage. This is probably one of the most economical ways to store your boat and is ideal for the boat owner who is on a budget. While there are other, more enclosed ways to store your boat, the price of those options is definitely higher.
You may not need a more enclosed storage space, either. Boats are generally able to withstand the elements fairly well, because they have to be solidly made in order to accommodate being used for their intended purpose.
If you have a boat that you want to protect, you can park it at a storage facility and get a good cover to put on it. That will keep the sun off of it, and keep rainwater from getting inside. It will also keep leaves, debris, dust, and some insects and other animals out of your boat. It's not as secure as an enclosed space, but it works for most boats and their owners.
Having a boat storage space that offers a roof is a better choice, though, because it keeps the sun and rain off of the entire boat better than a simple cover would. These kinds of storage spaces are typically not that expensive, and they work better than leaving your boat open to the elements. If you can't store your boat at home – or don't want to do that – an outdoor boat storage unit can be just the thing you need to make sure your boat will be protected and ready to go when boating season arrives and it's time to hit the water.
Many HOA communities don't allow you to store your boat on your property. Even if you don't have such regulations, you may not really have room for the boat where you live, so a storage facility is an excellent way to have your boat close at hand, but also out of the way so you don't have to worry about it.
4 Stack Storage and Dry Stack Storage
A new trend in boat storage is rack storage, where they are stored in large steel racks, sometimes four or five boats high. Boats can be stacked up that way, and that means a lot more space to store boats. That's good for the facility, because they can get more boats into it, and good for the boat owner, because there's more space close to home where they can store their boat. It's generally a winning situation for both sides.
If you have a boat and you want to store it at a reasonable price where you really don't have to worry about it for the months you don't use it, stack or rack storage can be the right thing for you.
These racks are located outside, but the trend is for them to be inside large sheds. They won't have climate control, but they'll be protected from the worst of the weather and kept out of direct contact with the elements. That's generally enough for most boats, as they're pretty durable just based on how they are built and the way they're used. Your boat should be protected, but it doesn't have to be in an air conditioned and heated facility to handle the storage months properly. Since you have options for how you store your boat, consider the different choices you have to work with and select the one that you feel best about and that fits your budget.
The boats are hoisted with specialized fork trucks to their space or from their space to the water or trailer. That prevents damage to other boats around them, and allows any customer to have their boat retrieved without the need to move other boats around. Many marinas and other storage companies offer stack storage and dry stack storage for boats. Stack storage is usually outdoors, while dry stack storage is offered inside of a warehouse to protect the boats from the elements. Whether you choose stack storage or you would rather have dry stack storage, you can get a lot for your money with this storage option.
If you are planning to store your expensive boating investment for the season, special steps should be taken to protect it. You don't want something to happen to your boat while it's being stored, and want it to be ready when boating season comes back around. As with car storage, you should change your oil and top off your gas tank. Disconnect or remove all electronic devices and the battery. Make sure you wash and wax the exterior and repair any dings or cracks, too. These little issues can become big headaches when you are ready to take your boat out in a few months. By taking care of them ahead of time, you'll be prepared on that first nice, warm day, so you can get out onto the water.
5 Boat Self Storage Tips
Storing your boat properly is very important, whether you just won't be using it for a few weeks or it's going to be docked for the winter. If you don't store it properly, you could end up with problems that could have otherwise been avoided. Some of those problems could be costly, but if you take proper steps you can keep a minor issue from becoming something very expensive that will need a lot of repair.
Long Term Storage:
Storing your boat long term generally means that you're docking it for the winter months. That's commonly done in colder climates, where people can't use their boats for months at a time because it's too cold outside. The bodies of water they normally use to enjoy their boats may be completely frozen, and everything basically shuts down until it all thaws out in the spring.
To store your boat long term, most people use what's called dry docking or dry storage. In other words, they pull the boat out of the water and store it on a trailer or in a rack at a facility. The size of your boat will generally determine which one of those options will work best for you. No matter which option you choose, though, make sure you top off the gas tank, change the oil, and unplug the battery and any electronics. You don't want your boat to sit there, quietly draining the battery, when you could keep it charged up and better protected.
Also make sure your boat has been washed and waxed, so you can protect the finish on it during the winter months. It's a great way to ensure that your boat looks its best, and it also keeps the paint from becoming damaged or faded, so you don't have to do as much maintenance on your boat when you get it out of drydock and are getting it ready to go back into the water for another boating season. Having your boat in long-term storage is the best way to protect your investment in your boat when it can't be used for months at a time, and many facilities have great boat storage options to consider.
Short Term Storage:
For people who use their boats occasionally but don't have space to store them at their homes, short term storage can be a great choice. Less preparation is needed for short term storage as opposed to long term storage, but a few quick checks of your boat's systems can help ensure your boat will be ready to go when you are. Keeping the gas tank full and disconnecting the battery will help you avoid a dead battery and poor quality gasoline that has broken down over time. You can also avoid condensation in the gas tank if the tank is full.
You don't have to wash and wax your boat every time you store it for the short term, but the boat should be clean and free from any damage. You want to be able to retrieve your boat and use it when you get the chance, so you don't want to have to do a lot of maintenance on the boat every time you get it out of storage. Doing that maintenance before you store your boat is the best way to avoid losing a lot of time on the water when you decide you want to go to the storage facility and retrieve your boat for the weekend or a special occasion. A few minutes worth of preparation can be well worth it when your boat is ready to go right out of storage.