When you live where the water is always warm, you never really have to worry about storing a boat. However, when your boat can only safely remain outside for three to five months of the year, you need boat storage. If you recently bought a boat and this is your first year having to store it for the winter months, here are four ways you can store it until spring.
Mooring in a Water Garage
If you own waterfront property, you can construct a water garage. This is very similar to the garage you have on land for your cars, but it is built into the bank of the water and meant for your boat. The garage door on this structure remains sealed.
As for frozen water inside the garage, this is managed one of two ways. First, the water is drained to create a dry dock for winter storage. Your boat rests on a dry floor instead of bobbing in the water. Second, you can install heating inside the water garage that continues to heat and melt the water within that space so that it never freezes. This second method is preferable because it also keeps your boat warm and prevents problems with the engine and fuel lines.
You would have to construct your own dry dock, but it does make releasing your boat back into the water a lot easier. Your boat would be piloted into a chute, where the water would be drained and your boat would be elevated. There it sits, in the cold, waiting for spring to arrive. It never touches ice or frigid water. The best part is, when spring arrives and everything has thawed, the water rises to cover the dry dock and you can lower the dry dock to release the boat into the water.
Storage on Land
Most people with smaller boats put the boats on a trailer and then put the trailers in a garage-like storage shed on land. There the boats sit all winter. When you want to take the boat out again during warm weather, you hitch it to the back of your vehicle and tow it to the water's edge. It is rather expensive, especially if you can just store your boat on or near your own property. It works best for smaller watercraft anyway.
Dockside Boat Lifts
There are also dockside boat lifts, if you already have your own private dock. The lifts are power winches that pick your boat up via the mooring handles and elevate it above the water for the entire winter season. You do have to make sure that your dock is really sturdy and has really strong posts. People who choose this storage option can add a boat lift canopy to prevent the buildup of snow and ice in and on the boat's roof and deck, which can cause damage to the boat after several seasons.
Indoor, Temperature-Controlled, Suspension Storage
If you have ever walked into a museum and saw a whale or a water dinosaur suspended from the ceiling, then you have a pretty good idea about this kind of storage. Your boat takes a midair storage spot inside a boat warehouse. It is hoisted on high to allow for the boat to drain water and sea creatures. Then it is thoroughly cleaned of mussels and other water creatures before it is suspended in a temperature-controlled boat warehouse.
When you want to retrieve your boat the following season, you bring the trailer and the warehouse crew slowly lowers it down onto the trailer. Everything is checked, oiled, gassed up, and ready for you to go. It is the deluxe storage option for anyone who wants to "baby" their boat.