Everything You Need to Know About Wet Storage and Using a Boat Slip

A boat in a boat slip at a lake

When you decide to buy a boat, you’ll need to learn how to properly store it when you aren’t using it. A term you’ll likely encounter is a boat slip. But what exactly is a boat slip, and when should you use one? This guide will provide everything you need to know about boat slip storage. 

What is a Boat Slip?

A boat slip, in essence, is a parking spot for your boat. Boat slips are a type of boat storage that has enough room to park an individual boat when it’s not in use, with walkways on either side creating a U shape. While the term “boat slip” and “boat dock” are often used interchangeably, they are similar but not exactly the same. A boat slip simply refers to the space where you can park your boat directly in the water at the marina. Some people choose to store their boats in slips year-round, while others use them for temporary storage. 

Boat slips are convenient for boat owners and can often be built to accommodate any size of boat. You’ll often find boat slips in marinas because they allow space for lots of boats. 

Benefits of Using a Boat Slip

There are many benefits to choosing a boat slip to store your boat, including:

  • A boat slip can give your boat some level of protection when it’s not in use, which makes it good for both short- and longer-term boat storage.
  • A slip can be a more affordable storage option, and it doesn’t take up much space.
  • A boat slip is a great option for both first-time boat owners and more experienced boaters and can house many different types of vessels.

How Much Does a Boat Slip Cost?

The cost of a boat slip usually depends on the size of your boat and how long you plan on renting the slip (i.e., short- or long-term rentals). Short-term rentals may be more expensive because they often accommodate bigger boats. If you plan to use the slip long-term, you will probably be billed by the month. But you’ll find different prices at different facilities. Public docks will usually offer cheaper rates than private marinas, though they may not offer the same security and amenities. Be sure to weigh the pros and cons of each option before simply picking the cheapest. You want to ensure that your boat is safe when you aren’t using it. 

Boat Slips vs. Boat Docks

While boat slips and boat docks are often thought of as the same thing, there are a few differences, which we’ll explore below. 

Boat docks

A dock refers to the actual structure, usually made of wood or metal, where boats are moored. A boat dock can have slips built into it. In general, a dock is more open to the water, as it’s open on three sides. A dock is a good option if you have a private space for your boat. You don’t have to worry about potential collisions, and your boat will be safe.

Boat slip

A boat stored in a slip is protected on three sides, while a boat stored at a dock is more exposed to potential hazards. If you have more than one boat or keep your boat in a place where there is other boat traffic, a slip may make more sense. In recent years, boat slips have been getting more popular, as they offer your vessel more protection. In addition, they are often the more affordable option. 

Wet vs. Dry Boat Storage

While boats are made to be in the water all the time, keeping your boat in the water even when it’s not in use can exacerbate damage and deterioration, especially in water that’s frigid or highly saline. In some cases, dry storage makes more sense.

Wet boat storage

If you spend much of the year using your boat, storing it in the water when not in use makes sense. While it’s convenient, wet storage can sometimes take a toll on your boat. If you need to store your boat in the water all year round, be sure to apply a protective coating to the hull and store it in freshwater. If you must store your boat in saltwater, clean your boat every 90 days to remove mineral buildup and barnacles. 

Dry boat storage

If you only use your boat a few months out of the year and keep it stored during the winter, dry boat storage may be a better option. A boat that’s stored on land will not need as much maintenance as one stored in the water, as the elements won’t batter it. However, it can be more expensive to store a boat on land. If you have a spare garage and your boat isn’t too big, you can save money storing your boat on your own property. But if this isn’t an option, you may be able to find a self-storage facility that has room for boat storage. 

If you choose, you can store your boat in the water for part of the year and on land in dry storage for the other part. It’s all about what works best for you. This may depend on your budget, how often you use your boat, and what climate you live in. 

Read How to Winterize Your Boat for a complete guide to storing your boat during colder weather.

Pros and Cons of Boat Slips

A row of boats in boat slips along the ocean

Before deciding to use a boat slip, it’s important to understand that there are advantages and drawbacks. Let’s explore a few of these below. 

Advantages of boat slip storage

Here are a few great reasons to store your boat in a slip:

  • They’re easy to pull into and out of. Because there is only one way in and out, they’re simple to navigate. 
  • Slips have more mooring points. This means your boat will stay securely in place while you’re not using it, protecting it from damage. 
  • They offer protection. Because they’re closed off on three sides, and your boat is more secure, there will be fewer opportunities for it to get damaged. 
  • Boats in slips are easier to board. It’s easier to get onto a boat that’s firmly secured in a slip, especially for people who aren’t used to boarding boats. 
  • You can park multiple boats. Your dock can have multiple slips, which means you can park all your boats there if you happen to own more than one. 

Shortcomings of boat slip storage

However, boat slips also have a few drawbacks, listed below.

  • A boat dock has more room for entertaining guests and relaxing, if that’s something you do. A slip, on the other hand, has less room.
  • When you store your boat in a boat slip instead of dry boat storage, your boat is vulnerable to sun, salt, barnacles, and wind exposure. This can cause additional wear and tear.  

Think about how often you’ll be storing your boat, how long it will be there, and what your needs are before deciding on a boat slip that’s right for you. 

How to Find Boat Slip Rentals

Renting a slip is a great boat storage solution, and boat owners can rent them at marinas or public docks. Before you choose a marina or dock to rent a slip, get a good feel for:

  • How secure the facility is
  • How knowledgeable the owners are
  • What amenities and resources the marina offers

After all, if you’re leaving your boat there for an extended time, you want to make sure it’s safe! A crowded marina may increase your risk of collisions, so be sure to evaluate your boat slip rental location before signing on. 

If you think that renting a slip is right for your boat, compare a few facilities if possible. Weigh the pros and cons, including cost, security, amenities, and convenience. Is it close to where you live? Does it have 24-hour access so you can check on your boat whenever you want? What conditions are present at the marina or dock?

As a boat owner, it’s important to consider these things when thinking about the best option for your boat’s storage. After all, your boat is an investment, and you want to keep it safe! Find boat storage available near you today.

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