A Quick Guide to Boat Storage

indoor boat storage in a "boatel"

If you are a boat owner or you are thinking about owning one, it is exciting to get your boat out on the water and have fun. One f the most important factors to consider in owning a boat is how you intend to store it, where that will be, how often, and the cost of it all. This guide will cover all these areas so you know exactly what your needs are for storing your prized vessel. 

Important Factors in Choosing Boat Storage Solutions

There are many options available for storing a boat, and the one you choose will be determined based on several different factors. Depending on a few variables, you should be able to find the best solution that fits your boat storage needs. Here are a few things to consider when shopping for boat storage:

    • The size of the boat
      The bigger the boat, the more limited the storage options available.
    • Location
      Boat storage in milder climates is so much easier and more readily available than in areas with severe winters. Why is winter weather bad for boats? Water can freeze and damage the exterior or internal pipes and parts.
    • How often you will be using the boat
      If you will be on the lake every weekend or if you only take the boat out once per year for a week’s vacation, that will make a difference in the kind of accessibility that you will require.
    • Your budget
      Are you willing to do a bit more work and pay less? If you are already paying slip fees, you may not need additional storage. You can store the boat there and maintain it on-site. This is a great option if you have a boathouse or slip on your coastal property. Alternatively, you can park it in your yard for free. 

Types of Boat Storage

Storage can basically be broken into two types of storage: indoor boat storage and outdoor boat storage. But there are many kinds of storage within these two types. They include:

  • Lifts
  • Slips
  • Storage units
  • Self-storage
  • Boatyard storage

To find out which is right for you, we need to drill down into the pros and cons of each.

Types of indoor boat storage

Indoor boat storage options types that provide fully enclosed coverage for your boat, optimal for guarding against any weather elements. If leaning towards this type of boat storage, you will need to consider the availability, security, and amenities that meet your needs. Indoor storage options for boats are available in many forms, some of the common ones include:

Dry stacked storage
Stacked storage is also known as the “boatel.” This is a storage option where boats are stored in a warehouse on racks. The boats are handled with forklifts and are taken in and out by trained personnel. Some boat owners use this storage to avoid slip costs; they can call ahead and take their boat out only when they are ready to use it. Since it is in a warehouse, your boat is not exposed to the elements (such as UV rays and storms). Dry boat storage options also protect your boat from the water.

These facilities will normally have security measures in place to avoid theft and vandalism. However, you are at the mercy of the attendants to have your boat taken in and out of the water. Some facilities limit the number of times you can take down your boat without incurring additional fees. If your boat is unusually large, or if you live somewhere other than a coastal location, this might not be a storage option.

Indoor or covered self-storage

This can either be unit rented at a traditional storage facility or even your own home. Storing your boat at home is, of course, the least expensive because it’s your own property. You may have space in your garage, carport, or back shed to cover and store it conveniently at no cost to you. If you ever want to undergo boat repairs and maintenance yourself, you can do it without any restrictions commonly found when storing at a facility. However, not everyone is able to store their boat at their own home, whether that’s due to the lack of space or security, or restrictions imposed by residential rules or HOA. 

Some that turn to self-storage facilities to store their boat, but these don’t come without limitations and downsides as well. Not all facilities can accommodate storing a boat or provide convenient ground-level access. If they do have units available, these can become very expensive due the fact that you’d need a large sized unit. One of the more notable downsides with this option is the inconvenience in terms of location and accessibility due to most storage facilities operating in areas that are usually a significant distance away from your own residence or favorite boating spot. 

Types of outdoor boat storage

Outdoor boat storage options usually have more availability are are often significantly less expensive than indoor storage options that come with climate-control features. It does require planning and winterizing your boat beforehand, however, and it may shorten the lifespan of your vessel. Your boat will need to either have a canopy, be shrink-wrapped, or use a protective cover to help protect it from the elements while stored. Below are the common types of outdoor boat storage to choose from:

Wet slips

Wet slips are essentially the slots along a boat dock in a marina where you can park your boat directly in the water. They offer the most convenience, but depending on the marina facility, they can be the most expensive option. They are great if you use your boat year-round, or if you only have to winterize for a season. While they are easily accessible for taking your boat out without having to tow or drop your vessel into the water, it’s not uncommon for marinas to require external maintenance or repairs to be performed elsewhere with the boat on dryland. If you do choose to store your boat in a wet slip, know that because it’s in the water longer, it’ll require more attention to exterior maintenance and upkeep.

Lift slips

Lift slips are a dry boat storage option for housing your boat out of the water when not in use. Unlike wet slips, storing your boat on a lift slip significantly reduces the risk of damage to the hull of your boat and can avoid accumulating algae or barnacle formations all together.

PRO TIP: Many people prefer dry or wet slips offered directly from their nearby marinas because of the ease of use, convenience, and social aspects. Many marinas include certain amenities in the cost of a slip rental, such as a clubhouse, pool, and wi-fi.


Boatyards are usually fenced-in outdoor storage areas for boats, similar to a large private lot. You will see these around areas where there is heavy boat or RV traffic. They are inexpensive but offer almost no protection against outdoor elements, such as sun, wind, and hail. If you are looking at a boatyard for storage, you will need to winterize your boat and provide a covering. You will also want to investigate the security measures provided by the facility to ensure it’s sufficient to your liking. Though it’s convenient for frequent usage, storing your boat outdoors will have an impact on its lifespan.

Outdoor self-storage

One of the least expensive ways to store your boat is choosing outdoor self-storage. For those that have the space, you can store your boat on your driveway, in the backyard space, or on a boat “pad” built next to the home. If you decide on this mode of storage, be sure you check local regulations or HOA guidelines. You will still want to ensure your boat is secured to your trailer and properly covered to protect against weather elements and pests.

outdoor boat storage of a partially covered boat

Benefits of storing your boat with Neighbor

This guide provides a quick overview of available storage options, but one thing is certain that finding the right type to store  your boat isn’t an easy process and depending on what you choose, it’s not always cheap either. In addition to cost, the type of boat storage you choose will depend on how it meets your preferences on location, accessibility, and security. Thankfully, Neighbor is the modern storage solution to help you find boat storage easily at a convenient price that meets all your needs.

With Neighbor, you can find boat storage options in any location, whether it’s near your your own home or close to your favorite boating location. Filter through available listings to reserve a storage option that suits all your requirements, choose between indoor, outdoor, or covered spaces and know that you’re covered under our Renter Guarantee at no additional cost. More an more people are choosing to store their boats and possessions with Neighbor because it’s convenient, reliable, and much cheaper than other storage options. Join them!

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