As the leaves start to turn shades of red, orange, and gold, most boat owners' minds turn to winterizing their crafts and finding the right boat storage solutions ahead of the icy months.
Properly storing your boat ahead of winter is essential in protecting what is likely your most expensive recreational asset. After a summer of playing on your craft, the time and energy it takes to find the right boat storage solution can feel overwhelming. However, it’s effort well spent because it will save you when spring arrives.
Before storing your boat for the season, there are several tasks you have to take care of, including working on your inboard engine, bilges, stern drives, and so on.
However, the biggest question you’re going to face is what to do for boat storage.
Where to Store Your Boat
What you’re going to do with your boat during the winter can become a huge issue.
If your boat isn’t stored properly, it can become severely damaged. Not only is a damaged boat a costly bummer, but it means weeks if not months of waiting for your craft to be fixed so you can get back out on the water — which is not a great way to start any summer.
Your boat storage solution can range from just leaving it in the water to guaranteeing its safety in a self-storage facility.
Dock Boat Storage
Storing your boat in the water come wintertime is only going to work under particular circumstances. You can’t simply tie it up, throw a cover over it, and walk away for the season.
Failing to take proper care of your boat can lead to a variety of disasters from bursting hoses to sinking at the slip due to snowmelt. If you’re going to store your boat at the docks during the winter, it will need to be a heated craft that either you or someone else is living on during those cold months.
Driveway Boat Storage
Storing your boat in the driveway is one of the cheapest options when it comes to storing your boat during the winter. Though the driveway will protect the hull from lakewater freezing around it and snapping its spine, it doesn’t really protect the boat from the weather. In addition to still facing the weather, a boat awkwardly stored in your driveway can be a hazard to itself, as well as other vehicles.
Garage Boat Storage
If you have the room to store your boat in the garage without it getting in the way or forcing you to keep your car out in the snow during the winter months, this can be another one of the cheapest, best solutions. Storing a boat in your garage will allow you to protect it from the weather and do some work on it — ensuring that you’ve appropriately winterized it.
However, few people have extra space in their garage for a boat. Let’s be honest, if you have a two-car garage, it’s probably because you have at least two cars. Additionally, leaving all that space in your garage unused for most of the year to save room for your boat come winter is nearly impossible to do — space just likes to collect stuff.
Dry Rack Boat Storage
One great way to keep your boat protected from wind, snow, and UV damage during the winter is by going with a dry rack storage option. This option means your boat will be moved with a forklift and stacked along with other boats in the storage facility.
Dry stacked storage is particularly convenient for small boats and will usually offer excellent security options. The major downfall is that you won’t be able to work on your boat at all while it’s in storage, and you’ll have to arrange ahead of time with the facility to ensure you’re able to access it when you’re ready in the spring.
Self Storage for Your Boat
Using a self-storage unit for your boat come winter time is without a doubt your best option in most situations. Oftentimes, these units are far cheaper than dry stack storage, yet provide all the same protections for your craft.
With a climate-controlled, self-storage unit, you won’t have to worry about any freezing and thawing damage to your boat. Additionally, your boat will be safe from snow, UV, and other types of damage caused by inclement weather.
In many ways, a self-storage unit is a combination of all the best features of available options when it comes to boat storage. On top of having high-quality security and the ability to protect your boat from the winter conditions, you can still easily access the boat and work on it throughout the season.
Final Thoughts: The Best Boat Storage Solutions for Winterizing
No matter what type of boat storage solution you go for — unless you decided to give up on enjoying your craft next year and just leave it in the slip to sink — there’s plenty to do when it comes time to winterize your watercraft.
Making sure your fluids are drained, your battery is being trickled charged, and your craft covered up like a present under the Christmas tree will all take time and effort. Along the same lines, you’ll want to make sure you give the exterior a good scrubbing, as well as complete a deep cleaning on the interior — don’t forget to let it all dry out before putting it in storage.
All this hard work at the end of the summer will pay huge dividends when it comes time to roll your boat out of storage in the spring and get back out on the water.