One of the most challenging decisions when purchasing a vessel is deciding where to store a boat. The three most common storage options are on a trailer, in a dry rack slip, or at the dock.

Each comes with its benefits as well as challenges faced that may often be overlooked. When settling on your final verdict, consider the pros and cons defined below. 

Trailering Your Boat

Pros 

Flexibility– For those who live in a region with many bodies of water within a short drive or for those who like to take boats with them on extended vacations, trailer-kept vessels offer exceptional convenience. 

Repair– When in water dockage is utilized, the owner is often at the mercy of limited mechanics. Being handcuffed by service providers leads to increased costs. Trailered boats have the most excellent flexibility in choosing the best mechanic at a more reasonable price. 

On Property Storage– If your neighborhood permits, at-home storage, is ideal. For the handyman, repairs can be completed for those who have the necessary tools. Detailing is a sinch when exterior hoses are available. Lastly, it’s hard to beat the level of security.

Cost– On the trailer is storage is the most cost-effective method. Storage facilities are often low in cost while on property storage comes at no charge. 

Cons

Tow Vehicle– Depending on the size of the boat, a tow vehicle plays an enormous factor in keeping your vessel on a trailer. The addition of a powerful truck or SUV is an added expense that many are unwilling to undertake. 

Storage Facility– When you store a boat at a storage facility it has it’s benefits; it also has pitfalls. Many facilities will brag about security, but they are not always as secure as advertised. Remember to remove all of your valuable electronics and equipment from the vessel when returning it and lock the tongue.

Trailer Repair– Wear and tear on trailers comes quickly when you’re an active boater. Wheel bearings should be greased once annually or every 10,000 miles and be replaced when seized. Tires require to be inspected frequently for wear. Visually check springs for cracks or breaks and ensure the bolts are snug. Test all lights before each trip for proper functionality. For trailers fitted with brakes considering visiting your local service professional. While its there, have them do a complete overlook. 

Dry Rack

Pros

Convenience: Three Factors- 

  1. Dry rack marina storage is well worth the expense for the avid water enthusiast. At the breeze of a call, your boat will be ready and waiting dockside. 
  2. When you’re done for the day, a forklift during regular business hours is standing by to pluck your boat and rest it safely on a wash rack. 
  3. Once you have adequately washed the vessel, the forklift operator is there to whisk your boat away to its storage rack for safekeeping. 

Amenities– Most dry storage facilities come with great amenities for their patrons to include mini convenience stores with drinks and ice, everyday boat maintenance items, restrooms, showers, fish cleaning stations, and waterside pavilions to socialize with your marina friends. 

Cons

Trailer Storage– While many dry rack operations allow additional space for trailer storage, it comes at an expense. If space allows, plan to keep the trailer on your personal property or sell it if you are in a long-term commitment to keep your boat.  It’s one thing to pay to store a boat another to pay to store a boat and a trailer.

Service– When you pull the boat and the unexpected mechanical issue arrises and are left with no choice but to have the vessel fixed on-site, expect a higher cost and a limited number of available technicians. 

Dirt– The accumulation of dirt from dry rack storage can leave you astounded. Your neighboring boat above may drip oil and rust covering your clean surfaces. One solution is to utilize a cover after every use. 

Cost– Dry rack storage is one of the most costly forms of storage available. 

Water Storage

Pros

Convenience– Nothing is better than pulling up the marina stepping on the boat, and heading out for the day. Conversely, pulling your vessel into the slip, washing it down, and leaving it until the next time you return. 

Location- A marinas position to destinations accessible by boat is a huge pro. What might take 45 minutes by car takes 15 on the water. Visit your favorite restaurant, uncrowded beach, or fishing destination. 

Cons

Salt and Sun Exposure– Depending on the marina’s location, salt spray may require far more frequent applications of waxes to help avoid oxidation. Additionally, the sun is continuously reaching the surfaces of the boat, and causing fading of all painted surfaces and deteriorating wax more quickly. The level of maintenance will be increased. 

Bottom Paint– Fortunately, freshwater marinas do not require the application of bottom paint. This is not the case for salt or brackish water. The accumulation of growth on the bottom of the boat will happen rapidly, particularly in the warm summer months. Collection of barnacles will, in turn, slow the vessel. Bottom paint should be applied annually to maximize its effectiveness. The product is harsh, and protective coverings should be used when coming in contact with it. 

Cost– Typically, in water storage comes at a fee per foot, which will vary based on the marina’s location. Marinas with dockage usually will be lower in price per than dry rack options. 

The decision is yours and is based on many different factors. No matter what you choose, the water leaves you with long-lasting memories that will never be forgotten. Not much can replace the relaxation of being offshore.