Boat Basics: Options for Winter Boat Storage

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When storing your boat in cold environments over long periods of time, it’s important to keep in mind several things. Besides preparation, which deserves an entire article in its own right, there are a plethora of options for essentially any budget and preference.

The question becomes- what is your highest priority? The answer to that question will determine exactly how and where you decide to store your boat, and this article will aim to make that decision as easy as possible for you.

The options are simple, but the differences between them can be a little subtle. To put it at its simplest, you have indoor and outdoor storage. Indoor storage is more expensive, but safer and better for your boat in the long run.

Outdoor storage is often cheaper, but at more risk to your boat, and- if it’s stored at home- can be an eyesore. It doesn’t stop there. Because you have rack-based storage, garage storage, and individual boat sheds. Here are a few options to consider for winter boat storage:

Outdoor Winter Boat Storage

boat rack storage in the winter

Lake Norman Marina, NC

Besides your yard or driveway, which are perhaps the most convenient choices available. You can store them for very cheap, often free, and require no travel time to pick up or store your boat. However, the drawbacks are obvious- your boat will only be protected by the elements by a tarp or boat cover, and many consider this sort of storage to be unattractive.

The other outdoor option is a boat lift on your dock. This will hoist your boat out of the water and suspend it in your dock or boat house, making it easy to access when the time comes to use the boat again.

Many local marinas also offer boat slips for storage if you do not have a dock with a boat lift on your property. This is not as convenient as having your boat on your property, but is still as simple as driving to the local marina then popping you boat back into the water.

With any of these options you will want to make sure to winterize your boat, or have a professional do it, to protect from freezing temperatures.

Indoor Winter Boat Storage

If you have a large enough garage, and space for all your vehicles (or don’t mind leaving a car outside), you can always store your boat right in your own house. This has the convenience of keeping your boat on your property, and if it is an attached garage the heat from your home will help keep your boat from reaching sub-freezing temperatures.

This is where things diverge, and get pricey. First of all, you can have indoor dry racks; they’re safer, but often more expensive than outdoor storage. These warehouse like buildings store boats in racks up to six high, so the process of retrieving your boat can be a bit of an inconvenience.

The last and most expensive option is climate controlled, rented, indoor storage. While not available everywhere, these storage facilities, similar to a traditional storage unit, ensure that your boat will be secure and completely protected from the elements and the cold.

And that’s it! While the list is fairly simple, it’s important to understand what options are available to you so that you can make a well informed decision. Keep in mind the aesthetic you want, your price range, and how important complete safety from the elements is to you when making a decision.

If you can afford it, I would recommend the more expensive options- they provide complete safety for your boat. But if you can’t- some preparation on your end should ensure that no harm comes to your boat anyways… But why risk it?


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