YOU HAVE OPTIONS: End of Season Boat Storage

Boat owners know that the winterizing dance is about to begin. But along with the normal seasonal maintenance do’s and don’ts you need to consider where to store your vessel for the next 6 months.winter-boat-storage-tips

There are many considerations and each has its own benefits and problems. Price, security, convenience…all play a part in your decision. Choose wisely! The information below is presented to help you decide…


Pros – it costs NOTHING!

Cons – Neighborhoods often have rules and regulations about boat parking and storage. And regardless, it really doesn’t look nice to have a boat parked in your driveway or side yard and might offend certain neighbors.

Leaving it exposed to the snow, sleet, rain and sun will eventually cause fading on the boat and tire issues on the trailer. And, of course, it is best to have your boat shrink wrapped and do a complete winterization. To find out more about proper winterization needs, visit

Remember, your insurance policy may not cover damage from lack of, or improper maintenance or neglect.

Additionally, if you store it on your property but out-of-site, you’re more open to theft and vandalism.


Pros – again, there’s no cost involved.

Cons – Unless you have a multiple car garage, someone will be scraping ice off of their windows every morning!

Plus, it will take up A LOT of space; space you could use for other purposes. And, you will need to be concerned about rodent and insect invasion, since they will be looking for a warm home over the winter. An un-disturbed boat that doesn’t move for months is the perfect place to bed down for the cold months – unlike a car that gets driven nearly every day. You’ll probably need to put out traps and toxic bait to keep them at bay…but be sure the kids and pets don’t get into them!

If you don’t have a heated garage, you will still need to drain and winterize, just like if you store it outside.


Pros – It’s convenient.

You don’t have to haul it out in the fall and you don’t have to haul it in in the spring but you’ll need to secure and winterize it.

Cons – Dock fees aren’t cheap!

And your boat is exposed to the elements…REALLY exposed…especially to the winter winds.

If that isn’t reason enough for concern, aquatic growth can present not only a nuisance to clean, but can cause physical and mechanical damage to your boat.

Security could be a problem, also.

Many marinas in colder states don’t even offer this option.


Cons – There are fees for this. And, you might still need to winterize, depending on the unit you rent.

Pros – You can often choose from inside or outside storage. Outside is your least expensive option.

Look for a facility with 24/7/365 access and advanced security features.

With outside storage, you’ll park your boat and trailer in a lot with lighting, cameras and other security, next to other recreational vehicles. These facilities often offer fenced-in, gated lots, personnel on premise, video surveillance, etc.

Want more? Opt for an inside storage unit. This will be like renting a garage. You can get your boat, your life preservers, your boat’s maintenance gear and tools, etc out of your personal, home garage and put it all in one, convenient place (plus anything else you’d like to store for the winter – patio furniture, flower pots, etc).

Some storage units are even climate controlled. You can also perform light maintenance in your storage facility during the winter so that your boat is ready to roll (or float) as soon as the first signs of spring appear!

BIG PLUS: Since there is no reason to wrap or tarp your boat, you can easily get to your boat – which means on a nice, unseasonably warm November day, you can pull your boat out and go fishing!

Regardless of which option you choose, be sure to keep your trailer tires filled to prevent them from going flat while stored, put your battery on a trickle charger, and make sure everything is drained, cleaned and dry so that it doesn’t freeze or mildew. For a detailed list of mechanical winterization needs, visit Popular Mechanics.