Boat storage: Should I keep my boat at home, in a drystack or a marina?

There are a few boat storage options available depending on the boat’s length and how you intend to use it.

If the boat is relatively small and you have enough boat storage space at home you can keep it on a trailer.

This is the most cost-effective way to store a boat but you need to be certain that you will be able to launch it easily when you want to use it and that there will be adequate parking for your car and trailer while you’re out on the water.

Boat storage at home or at sea

Boat storage at home on the drive or in the garage is very useful for security, care and maintenance, but it will take up lots of space and you will need to ensure your vehicle is certified to tow the weight of the boat and trailer.


A trailer is the most cost-effective way to keep your boat

Being able to trail your boat to locations around the UK and Europe is a definite perk but it’s worth ensuring launch, recovery and storage of the trailer will be easy when you get to your destination.

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Another relatively affordable boat storage option is a swing mooring. This is where the boat is tethered to a mooring buoy and has to be accessed either by a shuttle service or your own dinghy.

Depending on the location these moorings may only cost a few hundred pounds annually but there are compromises to consider.

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If there isn’t a shuttle service available from a marina or yacht club you may have to take a small dinghy out to the boat every time you want to use it so you will need to find somewhere to store that, and cleaning and maintenance can be tricky as there isn’t access to fresh water.

Bigger boats with domestic equipment like fridges will require shore power to stop the batteries being drained, which is something you won’t have access to if you store your boat on a swing mooring.

Many of these types of moorings are aligned to marinas or yacht clubs, though, who will help you with the logistics and make the boat storage process as smooth as possible.


Dry-stacking storage is a low-maintenance option. Photo: David Robinson / Alamy

Marina boat storage: Dry stacks and moorings

For more convenience, a dry stack or marina berth is the best way to go. The bigger the boat the more care and attention they need so it’s helpful to be able to access them easily.

A dry stack involves storing the boat in a shore-based rack and hoisting it in and out of the water with a fork-lift truck. Most operators require the owner to call ahead when they want to use the boat so they can put it in the water for them.

Dry stack boat storage has many benefits, the main ones being the security of having the boat safely out of the water and how easy it is to wash the boat down and do regular checks of the hull and running gear. You may not even need to antifoul the boat.

The drawbacks are that there are size and weight limits on what can be dry stacked (approximately 9m or 13 tonnes) and, during busy periods, you may have to wait to have your boat launched.


A marina berth is convenient and sociable

A marina berth is the most convenient but most expensive way to store a boat. The benefits are excellent access to your boat whenever you want it and how easy it is to care for when it’s alongside a pontoon.

The less obvious bonus of marina boat storage is the community it provides as you get to know other boat owners within the marina.

Many have a thriving social scene both on the water and on land and they are a great way to meet like-minded people of all levels of experience with whom you can share advice and stories.

Most marinas will have shoreside facilities so that they can haul the boat out for maintenance and store it on the hardstanding during the winter months if you don’t want the boat in the water.

Should I keep my boat in the water all year round?

If you think you are likely to want to use your boat in the winter and can still find time to do the necessary boat maintenance work then there is no harm in keeping your boat in the water all year round.

In fact, some of the most pleasant days afloat may come on a crisp, bright winter’s day when you have the harbours and waterways to yourself.


A swing mooring can be a cost effective option

If the boat is unlikely to be used regularly and could end up sitting unused in the berth then it’s probably best to look at onshore boat storage.

Even if you decide to keep the boat in all year it will still need to be lifted to clean off any fouling, apply antifoul and service the mechanical parts.

Example mooring fees

Dry stack
6m boat: £3,050
8m boat: £4,100
10m boat: £5,390

Marina berth
6m boat: £3,155
8m boat: £4,443
10m boat: £6,520
20m boat: £15,070

Example mooring fees (approx. annual price in VAT on UK south coast)

Our Start Boating series is brought to you in association with Pantaenius.


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