Boat Maintenance & Organization

Boat Winterizing – Boat Storage Tips for the Off-Season

Protecting a boat for the off-season is a difficult process. A well-protected boat has the potential to last longer, not only in relation to its mechanical components, but also aesthetically. Boat storage options are wide-ranging and each comes with its plus and minus points.

Boat Winterizing
Boat Storage Tips

1 – Establish the Type of Storage Facility

A storage facility based outside results in lower monthly fees, but the vessel will be totally exposed to the elements. A heavy down-pouring of rain, ultraviolet sunlight, heavy winds, and prolonged snowfall, has the potential to cause significant damage. An indoor based facility on the other hand will make sure the vessel is fully protected from the ever-changing climate conditions. Some facilities even feature climate control to make sure the vessel is stored at a constant temperature. It helps to research the potential rental fees to decide which option will be most beneficial to your situation.

  • Dry Storage. Many of the boat yards and marinas offer dry storage facilities. In general these dry storage facilities are secure and enclosed parking lots where a number of boats are parked up for the off-season. While the dry storage facilities can be a low-cost option to store a vessel, they are generally exposed to the elements and might be valuable to attacks of theft / vandalism. If leaving a boat in one of these facilities it is often recommended to fit a high-quality cover to give a higher degree of protection. Rates charged vary significantly, even for facilities located within the same region.
  • Boat Slip. A boat slip at a marina is a further storage option. If able to book a boat slip in the area of your choice, you can avoid the need to haul and launch each time you plan on going to sea. Popular marinas often have a long waiting list. A very long wait for available space is often inevitable. Rates charged for the boat slips often vary by region and time of season.
  • Storage Units. If a boat owner uses a trailerable model, it is can be stored for the winter layout period in a garage, car port, or alongside a property. However, in certain areas there are restrictions in place as to where a recreational vehicle can be parked in visible sight. If it is clear that it isn’t possible to store a boat on your property for the off-season, it might be necessary to hire a storage unit. A fully enclosed building offers a high level of protection for a boat, not just from the environment, but also from acts of theft or vandalism. Many of these complexes are situated close to bodies of water that are used for the recreational activities.
  • Professional Concierge Storage. In many boating areas, professional storage facilities are available for either exposed or dry storage. Many of these storage facilities offer a type of concierge service, which means the facility, will take the necessary steps to launch the vessel as and when required, and later return it back to its place in the storage facility. Other services offered might relate to maintenance, watercraft repair, and washing and cleaning service.
  • Marina. A marina offers a perfect storage facility for boats at any time of the season. A boat might be kept in a marina throughout the season and lifted ashore at the end of the season. A rack styled storage facility might be used for the period laid-up ashore. Basing a boat in one of the more popular marinas year-round is often very expensive, although it does offer the convenience of being able to use the craft at any time.

2 – Inspect the Location

Use a storage facility that gives quick and easy access to the vessel. Space to carry out routine maintenance should be available. In an initial examination of a storage facility, it is necessary to determine that the craft will be properly cared for and protected. It often benefits to comparison shop several boat storage facilities to determine the quality of service offered and amenities available. If planning on long-term storage, it might be possible to ask about potential discounts, as this is often available with some of the facilities.

3 – Insurance Coverage

Depending on the type of marine insurance plan you hold, a vessel might or might not be covered throughout the period that it is laid up ashore. If not entirely certain of the cover provided on the insurance policy, it is best to contact your insurance company to see what limitations might be in place during this storage period. If cover isn’t already in place, it is possible to extend your existing insurance coverage or take out a short-term plan provided by the storage facility.

4 – Identify the Level of Security

The security measures in place at the storage facilities can vary significantly. It is important to investigate this particular area to make sure you are getting the type of security you believe is necessary. A storage facility with on-site guards or 24/7 video surveillance are the preferred choice. A storage facility with just a simple fenced parking lot isn’t likely to offer a high agree of protection, and should typically be avoided.

5 – Use Protective Covers

In the off-season, it benefits to use a high-quality boat protection cover in either indoor or outdoor storage facilities. Covers are essential to protect the vessel from damage from the elements such as the sun, rain, and snow. Boats upholstery and electrical components can easily become damaged if not protected in the correct manner.

Boat Maintenance & Organization

5 Boat Storage Options (Outdoor & Indoor)

Whether you are looking for an indoor storage unit, high-and-dry boat storage, or outside trailer storage, there are multiple options to keep the beloved boat and equipment safe throughout the winter lay-up period.

Boat Storage OptionsLeaving the motor-yacht tied up at the marine is a safe and convenient option, but is likely to cost the most. Alternatively, trailering the boat home will take a lot of time and effort and might leave it open to the elements (if left in the yard) and take up space.

Below are five of the most appealing boat storage options

Self-Storage Facility

A self-storage facility offers the most cost-effective method to safely store and protect the boat throughout the winter period. A storage unit is also convenient and easy to access with many storage facilities situated near your home, the ocean, bays, rivers, and lakes.

While a regular self storage unit is without doubt a convenient option, there is a high chance that it won’t give the most desired fit. A self-storage unit for a motor-driven yacht, sailboat, or runabout needs to be in the region of 10 x 15 feet. Other standard sizes can include 10 x 20 feet and 10 x 30 feet. Any boats outside these dimensions will find it difficult to use a regular self-storage unit. Also, a maximum height is about 8-10 feet tall.

Outdoor Boat Storage

Even if a self-storage facility doesn’t have enough space inside, some facilities have large outdoor spaces to park up boats, RV, caravans, trailers, etc. Outdoor boat storage is usually more cost-effective than going to a specialized service. But, this space is essentially open to the elements and might not give the desired protection.

Storage facilities located close to bodies of water are more likely to have the needs of the boat owner in mind and provide some type of roof or similar protection from the rain. Plus, certain facilities will offer extra services like light maintenance to boat transportation.

Dry Stack Storage

A dry stack storage system is designed to store RIBs and boats (up to a certain length) in a large rack with many other vessels. A storage rack is usually competitively priced and gives a high level of protection from the rain, snow, wind, etc. A well-protected dry stack storage system is based in a large warehouse. This should ensure the boat is fully protected from the elements at all times. However, the process of returning the motor boat to the water can be time-consuming and difficult.

Plus, the racks are limited in space and most facilities are only designed to accept boats that are within 35 feet.

Indoor Boat Storage

Most of the storage units are able to accept the boats at the more modest range sizes — although certain models of boat are just too big and wouldn’t be able to fit within a standard storage facility. However, the dedicated storage spots are designed with a layout that is more boat-friendly and able to accept the larger boats.

Indoor boat storage is certain to appeal to those living in areas that experience the more difficult weather (snow and ice) all through the winter. A boat left exposed on an open storage facility is certain to experience issues with wear and tear over time.

The majority of indoor boat storage facilities is large warehouses with space to store a number of boats in a single room. Certain extras can feature in the price of renting a space for winter hibernation, such as full winterization and transport (to and from the storage facility). Full winterization can include antifreeze, changing gear lube, stabilizing gas tanks, pumping out water tanks, winterizing air conditioners, and greasing external fittings.

Jet Ski Storage

Storing a personal watercraft (PWC) is similar to storing a full size boat, but at a much smaller footprint. This makes it more achievable to store the Jet Ski on the driveway, in the yard, or enclosed in the garage. But, if there isn’t any safe and secure space at home, there are several under cover storage options available.

A basic self-storage unit often makes a practical choice for storing the PWC. It offers undercover protection to ensure the watercraft is safe from the elements; it is much more cost-effective than leaving at the marina. Most 10 x 10 foot storage units are plenty for a jet ski.