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Indoor vs. Outdoor Boat Storage: How do I Choose?

admin | Jul 28, 2019

There's nothing quite like owning a boat. We can't forget what Kenneth Grahame wrote in his famed novel, The Wind in the Willows: "There's nothing - absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing as messing about in boats." They offer both freedom and fun. They’re the pride of many owners, and for good reason. 

As a boat owner yourself, you know how important it is to take care of your boat. You work hard to keep it clean, waxed, and water-ready. When winter comes, you know that your boat needs to be put into storage to stay safe until the next season. 

There are two main boat storage options: indoor and outdoor. There are sub-options within these two main choices, as well. We’ll go over the pros and cons of each.

Indoor Boat Storage

There are multiple varieties of indoor boat storage: dry stacked storage, at-home storage, and storage at a self-service storage unit. Let’s take a closer look.

Dry Stacked Storage

Dry stacked storage is a premium storage option for boat owners. Typically, it means having your boat stored tidily inside a warehouse run by a boat storage company. These facilities store multiple boats, all in a row, on organized risers. 

  • Pros: This storage option will keep your boat protected from harsh elements. Additionally, dry stack warehouses offer more protections against theft than other alternatives. 
  • Cons: This option makes your boat less readily accessible if you need it ASAP. Facilities can limit how often you can take your boat out, and storage within them is only practical for smaller sized boats. 

At-Home Storage

You can always store your boat at home in your garage or shed. This is only an option for those that have the room, of course. 

  • Pros: Your boat will be where you can always access it if need be, and in a place where you don't have to pay rent. Also, you can perform desired maintenance on your boat during the off-season without having to travel. If it's in your garage, it's protected against the elements and as safe from theft as anything else in your home. 
  • Cons: You need a lot of extra space in order to store your boat in your garage. This isn't a practical choice for many people.

Self-Service Storage

If you don't have room to store your boat at home and dry racked storage isn't available, that's okay. There's always the awesome option of an indoor self-storage unit. 

  • Pros: Indoor storage unit facilities are easy to find and accessible. Most have drive-up access which makes both storage and removal of your boat easy. Many facilities have added security features you wouldn't have at home. You can also count on climate-controlled storage options to add an extra layer of protection. 
  • Cons: You'll need to find a unit big enough to store your boat, and if you want to access it you'll have to drive to the facility to do so.

Outdoor Boat Storage

Just like with indoor boat storage, you have multiple options when it comes to outdoor boat storage. Your choices include using an outdoor self-storage facility, keeping your boat at a marina, or placing it on a trailer.

Outdoor Self-Storage

Many self-storage facilities offer outdoor storage options just like their indoor ones. If you live somewhere with mild weather, you can swing outdoor self-storage. 

  • Pros: This is the most affordable self-storage option, giving you added security without added cost. Good if you don't have the space at home and want a low cost option. 
  • Cons: With your boat stored outside, it will be subject to the whims of weather. You can cover your boat, but it will still be at the risk of UV lights and other weather conditions which can cause fading and drying.

A Marina

Marina options are great! However, they only apply to those who live in areas without freezing temps. A wet storage marina slip is similar to a rented parking spot in the city. 

  • Pros: You don't have to worry about getting your boat out of the water and onto a trailer or hitch. As soon as you want to take your boat out, it will be ready to go. Marinas frequently offer additional socialization or community options for boat owners who want to meet other boat owners as well. 
  • Cons: This isn't a cheap option. Dock fees can be pricey, depending on the size of your boat and the popularity of the venue. There will be added risk of damage from other boats that are coming and going. Wet storage also means being wary of potential barnacles or algae damage. Security at marinas is very varied and, in some cases, can be subpar.


Whether you decide to keep your boat inside or outside, there are plenty of potential storage choices. Storage Direct offers both indoor and outdoor storage options for the discerning boat owner. Give us a call if you’re interested in keeping your boat safe, secure, and summer-ready inside one of our facilities.

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