The first consideration for choosing a storage facility for your boat is its size. Smaller boats are easier to store in a shed, garage, or indoor self-storage space. Vessels larger than around twenty feet or so become increasingly more difficult to store, with the very large yachts being confined to marinas, harbor specially designed to accommodate large pleasure craft.
The second is how often you intend to use it. During the summer, you might value ease of access. In the winter, security during long storage might take precedence.
Before choosing a storage facility for your boat, remember that all boats require constant maintenance. This is especially true of wooden boats, which are more vulnerable to mildew or termites in high humidity. Used boats also require special care—even smaller vessels might be safer to store indoors if they are especially old, since they have already endured so much wear and corrosion.
Small boats include kayaks, canoes, and motorized dinghies up to fifteen to twenty feet long. Selecting a storage space could be as easy as hanging the boat upside down from hooks on the side of your shed. Hanging a boat upside down takes advantage of the water-resistant hull, which acts as the boat’s roof. Detach the motor if there is one and drain it of fuel, then store it separately, preferably indoors.
Add some more protection by covering the boat in canvas or tarp. Don’t wrap the covering too tightly, because you want the air to flow and carry evaporating water away from the craft. Ensure a few feet of clearance from the ground for the same reason.
If you intend to use your boat with any regularity, consider storing it in your house or in a shed. Try contriving a place where it could be hung or tethered. People living in a waterfront can also install boat-lifts to winch their craft clear off the water when not in use. A trailer is as good a place as any to keep your boat if you have one.
If you really can’t find the space, or if you figure you will be using it less frequently, rent some self-storage space near you. A wide shelf in a warehouse where you can keep your boat inverted and covered is one possibility.
Self-storage places made especially for boats include racks that are usually stacked one atop the other to accommodate more craft. Usually, these racks are inside roofed storage for better security and preservation. You may face some mild inconvenience when it comes time to retrieve your boat, especially if it’s at the top of an especially tall stack, though one might say the same of a high shelf.
Whatever your choice, try hard to rent a space that is indoors and has good climate control. In cold climates, low temperatures can cause water to expand into ice, worrying into the wood or plastic and widening gaps and creating furrows, disrupting the integrity of the vessel. When the ice melts, it contracts, further putting stress on the warped material.
Wet climates bring the problem of high humidity. When the air is humid, it is saturated in water, which means water will have a more difficult time evaporating from your boat. A wooden craft stored in conditions of excess moisture is a haven to fungi and termites. Even non-wooden vessels will benefit more from dry conditions than wet since it lessens the likelihood of rust or corrosion. When checking the temperature at a facility, be sure to note if it’s in Fahrenheit or in Celsius.
A storage facility for your boat can also hold maintenance supplies, gear and trailers. Keeping everything centralized will prevent things from getting misplaced and will make check-ups and maintenance trips less of a hassle should you feel the need to make them.
Running the gamut from power cruisers to pursuit boats, mid-size boats are generally twenty to thirty feet long. As with smaller craft, choosing a storage facility for your boat depends on how often you intend to use it, though options of indoor storage are vastly more limited for these more massive vessels.
Regular use might persuade, such owners might prefer to keep the craft in the water rather than hauling them to be parked on a trailer. Often, these boats will be left with others in a special harbor called a marina. Some boat lifts can also handle the lighter mid-size boats if you wish to minimize contact with water, especially saltwater. When uncertain about a boat lift’s capacity, err on the side of safety.
When you do want to store your boat away from the water, several services offer rentable parking spaces where you can leave your boat on a trailer. Parking spaces will vary in size even if the service says they can be used for boats like yours, so measure your boat carefully to see if it can fit.
Again, indoor spaces are preferred, but depending on where you live, these might be uncommon and hard to rent. Rarely, you might have access to indoor facilities built over the water so you can drive your boat right into it. Such places will usually be full up with prior occupants or reserved for the use of a company or a private individual, but sometimes, you might get lucky. When considering your options, it never hurts to ask.
Maintenance measures apply to mid-sized boats as well. Do the necessary engine check-ups before and after use, ensure the tank is empty of fuel when storing boats over longer periods and cover your boat adequately against the elements. Clean the boat thoroughly and ensure even and constant air circulation.
Yachts are almost always confined either to outdoor parking spaces for them and their trailers or, more practically, to marinas, where they are moored to the dock. Thankfully, most marinas can provide power, water and other amenities, letting you use the yacht as a living space and a place to store tools.
Clean your yacht regularly, from deck to stern and every compartment, and perform maintenance as required in the instruction manual that commonly accompanies this large craft upon purchase.