Outdoor vs. Indoor Boat Storage

As a boat owner, there are many choices to make about the maintenance and care of your boat. One point that you will have to address early on is how you will store your vessel. The debate about storing indoors versus outdoors is common. You may be surprised that the answer is not as clear cut as you may think.

One consideration when deciding how you will store your boat is how often you plan to use the vessel. If you are storing your boat for months during the off-season, you may prefer a more secure option that offers better protection. If you are looking for storage between uses, you will want a storage solution that allows you quick and easy access to your boat.

Cost will be an important factor when making the choice, but it should not be the only one. Other considerations are the level of security and access provided, what, if any, restrictions are in place at the facility, and how easy it is to access the storage facility from your home.

Outdoor storage is a less expensive choice. Even among outdoor storage options, there are several choices available. You can choose to store your boat at a marina or a dedicated storage facility.

Of course, there are drawbacks to storing your boat outdoors. Your boat will be exposed to the weather, including the potential for damaging wind, rain, hail, and the sun’s harsh rays.

If you do decide on outdoor storage, you will need to check on your boat periodically. If the boat is stored in an area where it is exposed to the weather, you want to cover the upholstered areas for protection. You should also check the drains periodically, to ensure water does not back up into your boat.

Depending on the set-up of the outdoor facility, security may be a concern when storing your boat outdoors.

Indoor boat storage is more expensive than storing outdoors, but it does offer more protection. You may find that the added cost is more than offset by the benefits provided by indoor storage. Boat Butler, a reputable boat professional says, “keeping a boat in a climate-controlled area increases the life of your engines, gelcoat, and other wearable parts.”

When your boat is stored indoors, it is not exposed to the weather. This can help keep your boat looking and performing its best for a long time. As long as you clean the boat thoroughly at the end of the season, you will find it in great shape when you are ready to take it out again.

Indoor storage also relieves you of the security worry. Indoor storage facilities are easily locked and entrance is by authorized personnel only.

If you invest in an indoor storage solution for the off-season, be sure you know what options are included. You should have access to your boat. If you plan on doing any work on it on the off-season, be sure you will also have access to electricity.

Other options are a compromise between indoor and outdoor storage. For example, dry-stack storage is often protected by a roof, although not fully enclosed. When a boat is placed in dry-stack storage, it is placed on a boat rack. The cost is less than a fully indoor storage option, but the dry stack storage offers more protection than outdoor choices.