How & Where to Store Your Boat in Winter (5 Places)

Written by Desiree Vilar in Winterize Your Boat

As the winter season approaches, it's time for you to start thinking about how and where to store your boat. Choosing the right storage option depends on your budget, location, and the size of your boat. In this article, we'll explore five different places where you can store your boat and how you should prepare it for winter storage.

To prepare your boat for storage, winterize the engine first to prevent any damage due to freezing temperatures. Next, thoroughly clean the boat to prevent pests from harboring inside. Then, store your boat in these 5 common options: dry stack storage, garage, driveway, self-storage facility, or in a marina.

Storing your boat at home in your driveway can be a convenient option; however, it exposes your boat to the elements. Meanwhile, storing your boat in a self-storage facility gives it better protection and offers better security. Let's take a closer look at the characteristics of each of these storage options, so you can decide which one suits your budget and preferences.


  • Storing your boat in your garage can be an affordable option and offers more protection from outdoor hazards; however, the space may be limited.
  • Renting space in a dedicated indoor storage facility can provide a secure and climate-controlled environment for your boat, but it can be more costly.
  • For a more convenient solution, especially if you plan on fishing during the colder months, consider marina storage.
  • To store a boat during the winter, boat owners should winterize the engine, prevent pest intrusion by thoroughly cleaning the boat, and secure the battery.
  • For sailboats, owners should also remove the sails, secure the mast, and check the rigging for any worn or damaged parts before storing their boats.

The Best Places To Store Your Boat During Winter

The table below shows the five most common locations where you can store your boat during the off-season:

Boat Storage Option Accessibility Convenience Safety Security Estimated Amount
Dry stack storage ⭐⭐⭐ ⭐⭐⭐ ⭐⭐ ⭐⭐⭐ $400-$1,000/month
Garage ⭐⭐ ⭐⭐⭐ ⭐⭐⭐ ⭐⭐⭐ $200-$500/month
Driveway ⭐⭐ ⭐⭐ ⭐⭐ $50-$150/month
Outdoor storage facility ⭐⭐ ⭐⭐ ⭐⭐ ⭐⭐ $100-$300/month
Marina ⭐⭐⭐ ⭐⭐⭐⭐ ⭐⭐⭐⭐ ⭐⭐⭐⭐ $500-$1,500/month

The right location for boat storage should be safe and secure

They must have surveillance and monitoring

This can include 24-hour video surveillance, on-site security personnel, and alarm systems. These measures can help prevent theft and vandalism, and also provide peace of mind for boat owners.

They must have secure access and locking mechanisms

The storage facility should have secure access control systems, such as keycards or biometric systems, to ensure that only authorized personnel can enter the facility.

Additionally, the boat storage area should have secure locking mechanisms, such as heavy-duty padlocks or electronic locks, to prevent unauthorized access to the boats.

They must offer insurance

Choose a storage facility that offers insurance coverage for your boat while it is in storage. This can help protect your investment in the event of damage or theft.

Additionally, you should review your own boat insurance policy to ensure that it covers your boat while it is in storage, and to make any necessary adjustments to your coverage.

Also read:

Boat Insurance Should Cover These 10 Basic Things

The right location for boat storage should be accessible and convenient

They must be close to your home or work

Choosing a storage location that is close to home or work can make it easier to check on your boat, make repairs or modifications, and prepare for trips. It can also save time and money on transportation costs.

They must have available services and amenities

This can include services such as winterization, maintenance, and repairs, as well as amenities such as restrooms, showers, and boat ramps. Choosing a storage location that offers these services and amenities can make it more convenient to care for your boat and prepare for trips.

They must offer easy transport and launch

This can include factors such as the distance from the storage location to the water, the availability of boat ramps, and the ease of access to the water.

If the storage location is far from the water or does not offer easy access to boat ramps, it can be difficult and time-consuming to transport your boat to and from the water. This can make it less likely that you will use your boat as often as you would like.

Additionally, if the storage location does not offer easy access to the water, it can be more difficult and dangerous to launch and retrieve your boat. This can increase the risk of accidents and damage to your boat.

Dry Stack Storage/Dry Rack Storage

Dry rack storage or dry stack storage involves placing your boat on a covered and elevated rack system. This type of storage protects your boat from the elements and potential water damage.

Accessibilty and convenience of dry rack storage

Dry rack storage is a great option for boat owners who want easy access to their vessel without the hassle of launching and retrieving it from the water each time they want to use it.

Also read:

How Much Does It Cost To Dry Dock a Boat Exactly? (3 Types)

With dry rack storage, boats are stored on land in a covered facility, which means they can be easily accessed with minimal effort.

Safety and security of boats in a dry rack storage

Since boats are stored on land, they are protected from the elements and are less likely to suffer damage from storms or other weather events.

Additionally, most dry rack storage facilities have security measures in place, such as surveillance cameras and secure access points, to prevent theft and vandalism.

Garage Storage

If you have the space, storing your boat in your garage is a great option. It's protected from the elements and you won't have to pay for external storage. However, before choosing this option, try to measure your garage first.

Accessibilty and convenience of garage storage

With a garage, you have the ability to easily access your boat whenever you need to, without having to worry about navigating through snow or ice to get to it.

Additionally, a garage provides a controlled environment that can help protect your boat from the elements, such as wind, rain, and snow.

Safety and security of boats in a garage

Storing boats in a garage can help protect your boat from theft or vandalism, as it is stored in a secure location. It can also help prevent damage to your boat from falling tree branches or other debris during winter storms.

However, not all garages are large enough to accommodate a boat. You may need to rent a larger space or find alternative storage options.

Also, if you live in an area with extreme winter weather, you may need to take extra precautions to ensure that your boat is properly protected from the cold.

Driveway Storage

If your garage isn't suitable, you can still store your boat on your property- specifically in your driveway. You just need to cover your boat with a suitable cover and make sure it's adequately secured to prevent theft or damage from wind.

Accessibilty and convenience of a driveway storage

A driveway storage can be a good option because it allows you to keep your boat close to home and easily accessible. You don't have to worry about driving to a storage facility or dealing with the logistics of transporting your boat to and from a storage location.

Additionally, driveway storage can be more affordable than renting a storage unit or using a marina.

Safety and security of boats in a driveway storage

One of the main drawbacks of driveway storage is that it may not be as secure as other storage options. Your boat is exposed to the elements and may be more vulnerable to theft or vandalism. If you live in an area with heavy snowfall, your boat may be at risk of damage from snow and ice buildup.

Another potential issue with driveway storage is that it may not be allowed in some neighborhoods or communities. Some homeowners associations or local regulations may prohibit the storage of boats or other large vehicles in driveways or on the street.

Self-Storage Facility

Storing your boat at a self-storage facility offers a secure and enclosed environment for your boat during the winter months.

Accessibilty and convenience of a self-storage facility

A good self-storage facility should be located in a convenient location, with easy access to major roads and highways. The facility should also have ample parking space and loading areas to make it easy for boat owners to drop off and pick up their boats.

In addition, the facility should have a variety of storage unit sizes available to accommodate boats of different sizes. This ensures that boat owners can easily find a storage unit that fits their boat and their budget.

Safety and security of boats in a self-storage facility

A self-storage facility often has gated entrances, 24-hour surveillance cameras, and climate-controlled units that can help protect your boat from harsh weather conditions.

The convenience of having 24-hour access to your boat and the added layer of security may outweigh the higher price of self-storage.

Marina Storage

A marina provides a convenient and protected location for storing your boat during the winter months. Storing your boat at a marina allows easy access to the water and various amenities, such as electricity and water supply.

Accessibilty and convenience of storing boats in a marina

Marina storage can be very convenient for boat owners who want to protect their boats from harsh winter weather conditions. They are usually located near the water, making it easy for boat owners to access their boats when they need them.

Many marina storage facilities also offer additional services such as boat maintenance and repairs, which can be very convenient for boat owners.

Safety and security of boats in a marina

Marina storage facilities are designed to protect boats from theft, vandalism, and damage caused by harsh weather conditions. Most have security measures in place such as CCTV cameras, security guards, and secure gates to ensure that boats are safe and secure.

Additionally, many marina storage facilities have climate-controlled storage units that protect boats from extreme temperatures and humidity levels, which can cause damage to boats over time.

Also read:

How Much Does It Cost To Keep a Boat In a Marina in Florida?

Preparing Your Boat for Winter Storage

As a boat owner, properly storing your boat during the winter months preserves your investment and ensures smooth sailing for future seasons. Here are some general guidelines on how to store your boat properly over the winter months:

Winterize the engine

First and foremost, make sure to winterize the engine to prevent any damage caused by freezing temperatures. You can do this by changing the oil, flushing out the cooling system, and adding antifreeze.

Then, fill up the fuel tank and add a fuel stabilizer to prevent the gasoline from oxidizing. After that, you can run the engine for a few minutes to circulate the stabilizer.

Next, drain the cooling system and flush it with antifreeze. This will help protect the engine from potential freezing damage.

Lastly, apply fogging oil to the engine's cylinders and other moving parts to avoid rust and corrosion during the winter months.

Also read:

When To Winterize Your Boat Motor Exactly?

Prevent pest intrusion by thoroughly cleaning your boat

Pests can be a major issue during winter storage. To prevent rodent and insect intrusion, thoroughly clean your boat inside and out. You can also follow some tips on how to keep mice out of your boat motor in this article.

Remove all personal items, life jackets, and fabric materials to avoid mold and mildew growth. Take extra care to check all storage areas for dirt, water, and grime that might not be visible at first glance.

Ensure all storage compartments are clean and dry. Place mothballs or pest-repelling sachets in strategic areas, and check for any gaps or cracks in the boat's structure that may allow pests entry.

Secure the battery

To keep your boat's battery healthy throughout the winter, you need to follow a few simple steps.

  • First, disconnect your battery and clean the terminals to prevent corrosion.
  • Then charge it fully before storing your boat, and make sure to recharge it once a month during the off-season.

Alternatively, you can use a trickle charger to maintain the charge level of the battery. Proper battery maintenance will ensure that your boat is ready for use when the boating season begins again.

If you have a sailboat, there are a few additional steps you should take to prepare it for winter storage such as the following:

Remove the sails

Remove the sails from your sailboat and store them in a dry, cool place. This will help prevent mold and mildew from forming on the sails.

Secure the mast

Secure the mast to prevent it from falling over during storage. You can do this by using a mast crutch or stand, or by tying the mast to the boat.

Check the rigging

Inspect the rigging and replace any worn or damaged parts. This ensures that your sailboat is ready to go when the weather warms up.

If you want to save money and time to winterize your sailboat, you should read this article.

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