Inside or out: the best way to store your boat over the winter

Should you keep your boat under a tarp on the lawn, or shrink-wrapped in a heated warehouse? Discover the best options for storing a boat during the winter.
There’s quite a bit of preparation that goes in to readying a motorboat for proper winter storage.

Inside or out: the best way to store your boat over the winter

The basics, extended service or VIP treatment?

Boat storage can cost you a pretty penny. The first step is to establish a realistic budget. Although $200 may cover you during the off-season, you may need to add another zero to that figure depending on:

  • The storage location (indoor, outdoor, dry storage, the marina).
  • The services (monitoring, heating, cleaning, winterizing, transport, spring launch).
  • The size of your boat (per linear foot) usually dictates the minimum fee for winter storage.

Outdoor storage

If your boat is on a trailer, there shouldn't be a problem parking it on your property. The boat must be adequately covered, but just keep in mind that a water resistant tarp is not suitable for winter.

Portable shelters:Although they usually last for several years, you will need to assemble and dismantle the awning yourself. Moreover, you will need toremove the excess weight of snow build-up to prevent the canopy from leaking or collapsing.Fortunately, modern rounded models are designed to make snow removal much easier.

The downside of portable shelters is that you have to store your seats and other small items inside. If not, you may find they’ve been damaged or gnawed by rodents or field mice in the spring.

Shrink-wrapping:This type of covering is usually installed by a specialist. The process requires that a heat gun shrinks the surface of the film barrier to provide waterproof protection. You can store your boat at a storage facility or park it in your yard if it's shrink-wrapped.

Indoor storage

Storage facilities: Some sites provide limited space indoors to preserve and pamper your boat. The facility is climate controlled, which is a big help if you need to make repairs or modifications during the cold winter months.

On a cradle or “dry” dock: In this case, your boat sits in a shed outfitted much like a dormitory. Small vessels are easily stored. You can leave your boat there all year or take it out for a ride when you need it.

Before you decide

Before deciding whetherindoor or outdoor storage is the best place to keep your boat this winter, be sure to:

  • Shop around. Storage sites set their own rates. Some facilities are more popular than others, which will certainly affect your budget.
  • Winterize your boat. This requires attention and care. If you’re not sure how to prepare, refer to a specialist. You don’t want to forget to change the oil or have a pipe burst because it wasn’t completely drained.
  • Remove all electronics and valuables before storage—things such as sonar and GPS devices.
  • Charge the batteries at least once a month during winter.
  • Store the boat in a cool, dry place.

Regardless of which way you decide to store your boat this winter, ensuring that it is dry and away from the harsh elements will allow you to enjoy it once the warm weather finally rolls around again.

The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
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