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Boating Updated:

Boat Storage: How to Store Your Boat

Boat Storage

In this article, I'm going to break down all your boat storage options.

There are many boat storage options available to store your boat for the off-season. Storage for boating is often treated as an after-thought at the end of the season.

Ideally, you want your boat to go from winterizing maintenance straight to your winter boat storage location.

This guide provides you a detailed list of ways you can store your boat. I will cover boats ranging from small aluminum boats, cabin cruisers, jet skis, and pontoon boats.

Indoor Boat Storage Options

Indoor boat storage is one of the best options for covered boat storage. If your boat doesn't have a bow-to-stern boat cover, you'll want to try to get this type of storage.

Self-Storage Facility

Sometimes you may not have a large garage, and there’s no dry stack storage around your area.

Self-storage is a great boat storage option if you have a medium-sized watercraft. Self-storage facilities are highly recommended if you live in an area with harsh winter conditions.

Since self-storage unit sizes are usually not much larger than a mid-size car, you'll be limited to storing boats up to 18′, jet skis, kayaks, and canoes.


  • Self-storage facilities are easy to find, and some come with climate control options.
  • You’ll receive a higher level of security.
  • You can use the unit for vehicle storage or RV storage during sprint and summer months.
  • Gives you maximum accessibility to your boat during the winter months
  • Best for long-term storage of your boat or recreational vehicles


  • Boat storage costs can be expensive if you have to rent the unit all year
  • Not suitable for pontoon boats due to the width and trailer size
  • Not suitable for larger boats (19 feet+)

Garage Boat Storage

Garages are affordable and convenient storage solutions during the winter season. You’re sure of your boat’s safety because it’s on your property.

If your garage is attached to the house, it absorbs heat which helps to prevent sub-zero temperatures from damaging the boat. Additionally, the storage option saves you the hassle of paying storage fees or driving to the storage facility.

Boaters can also work on their boat during the summer months, without the hassle of having to work in bad weather or extreme temperatures.


  • You have immediate access to your boat
  • Can work on your boat year-round
  • Temperature controlled


  • Takes up a lot of space (often most of your garage)
  • Not suitable for pontoon boats due to the width and trailer size
  • Not suitable for larger boats (19 feet+)

Dry Stack Storage

This is a dry boat storage option that ensures your boat is carefully protected in a boat storage facility. This storage option also keeps your boat safe from extreme weather conditions.

Dry stacked boat storage options offer great security features. In addition, you do not have to worry about handling the heavy lifting because the stacked storage facilities handle the retrieval process for you. All you need is to make a call, and you’ll be sorted right away.


  • Your boat will be secured from theft
  • Works for all sizes of boats and pontoons
  • You may not need a trailer


  • Dry stacked boat storage options can be hard to find, especially in coastal areas.
  • Your boat may not be accessible at your convenience.
  • Pricier than self or outdoor storage options

Outdoor Boat Storage Options

Marina Slip / Wet Dock Storage

A marina slip may be best if you are only planning to use your boat primarily on a single body of water.

Marina Slip boat storage options are great in areas with temperatures that do not fall below the freezing point. A marina slip is similar to a boat parking space.

For larger boats, it can make a convenient place to meet with family and friends for social activities. You’ll also get an opportunity to socialize with other boat owners because of the large number of slips rented out.

Marina slip rates can vary depending on the location but are mostly priced depending on your boat’s length.


  • You can access your boat 24-7, 365 days a year.
  • You can stay in port and conveniently enjoy your boat.
  • Boat trailers won’t be a problem to worry about.


  • Renting a boat slip is an expensive option depending on the area you reside.
  • The odds of your boat getting damaged may be higher.
  • When your boat is continuously kept in freshwater or saltwater is exposed to algae, mussels, and crustaceans that accumulate on the boat hull.
  • Security can be minimal.

Boat Lift Storage at a Marina

If you’re looking for a short-term storage option for your boat, you can consider boat lift storage. Boat lifts help to keep your boat dry, and it also makes your boat easily accessible.

There are three types of boat lifts, bottom standing lifts, floating lifts, and suspending lifts. The type of boat lift depends on how deep the water is, the climate in your area, and whether the dock is floating or fixed.


  • You won’t have to worry about a boat trailer.
  • You can easily get on the water at your convenience because the boat is easily accessible.


  • Boat lift storage does not work for long-term storage.
  • Boat lifts do not handle all extreme weather conditions and may be vulnerable to heavy rains and floods, as well as aquatic pests.
  • Can be a pricey option if you are renting the boat lift

Covered Outdoor Self-Storage

Creating an outdoor self-storage space will provide some coverage to your boat, making it more reliable than uncovered outdoor boat storage.

If you have extra space in your yard or an area of the driveway you don't use, you can save some money by making your own outdoor storage area.


  • Creating your own self-storage space and installing keypad entry and surveillance cameras ensures good security.
  • The outdoor self-storage option is cost-effective compared to the indoor boat storage option.


  • Your boat will be vulnerable to some weather.
  • Can be costly at first to purchase security and storage equipment

Uncovered Outdoor Self-Storage

If you live in areas with fairly mild weather throughout the year, an outdoor boat storage option is perfect for you. In addition, the option is affordable.

Outdoor storage facilities are also easy to find and are easier and convenient boat storage options for all types of boat sizes. Also, you can opt for this option rather than storing your boat in a driveway for security.


  • It’s a cheap means to store your boat
  • Most self-storage facilities offer security measures.


  • Your boat will be vulnerable to any weather, be it rainy or sunny weather
  • Exposure to UV light even when you cover your boat
  • Pests and rodents may infest your boat

Summer Storage

Boat storage options for small boats, mainly less than 20 feet long
  • Trailer storage option – this means that you can store your boat at your home, whether in your backyard or your garage.
  • Boatlift storage option – boatlift designs can range from small derricks to floating dry docks.
  • Dry stack option – here, boats are stacked onto multi-story boat storage racks.

For small boats such as small boats 24 feet and below, it’s not practical to store them on wet docks or marine slips because they can easily be transferred to other storage facilities instead of large and heavy boats.

Boat Storage Options for Mid-size Boats

An example of a medium-sized boat includes; cabin cruisers, ranging from 20 feet to 40 feet.

  • Trailer option – trailering is generally suited for boats up to 26 feet long. However, in most states, boats up to 32 feet can be trailed.
  • Boat lifts – you can purchase boat lifts that can handle boats up to 30 feet long.
  • Dry stack – while most dry-rack facilities can store boats up to 26 feet, some are huge to cater for boats up to more than 30 feet long.
Boat Storage Options for Large Boats, 40 feet and longer
  • Wet dock – this option is great for large boats because it’s impracticable to carry them to other storage places. Most large boats remain afloat for convenience.


What are the important things to consider before storing your boat?

  • A waterproof cover to protect your boat.
  • Remove batteries in case of longer storage periods.
  • Remove your items from the boat.

What are the best boat storage options for different seasons?

Different weather conditions determine the type of boat storage options you will choose. Seasons tend to dictate your boat’s storage needs. Here are the most common options for summer and winter seasons, depending on boat size, from small boats to cabin cruisers.

Chris Blackwell Boating
About Chris Blackwell

Chris is an avid angler and boating enthusiast. Raised on a small lake he spent most of his youth fishing in Jon Boats and water skiing behind Fiberglass boats. Chris enjoys taking his family out on the water so they can relive the fun he has always had.

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