The Basics of Boat Storage

Learning the basics of boat storage is something every boat owner inevitably must learn if he or she wants to protect their investment. We understand it’s tough to know where to start. That’s why our staff at Bluff Creek Marina have put together a guide for the basics of boat storage. Let’s grab a cup o’ joe and get started! Shall we?

Boat Lifts

These are not only easy and convenient to use, but essential to extending the life of your watercraft. Marine growth deteriorates the paint/gel coating on a boat’s hull, leading to blistering and premature lower equipment failure during wet storage. Water level fluctuation and seasonal changes can also expose your vessel to the damaging hazards of storms and debris. Boat lifts are designed to keep your watercraft safe from these harmful threats while allowing close-up visual inspection, maintenance, and repair.

Boat Covers

Used for short term storage while you are docked, long-term, off-season storage and towing. There are seven basic types of boat covers – each with a purpose and custom fit. Then, there’s your dad’s utility tarp you found in the barn. Suffice it to say, the tarp is not recommended.

Mooring – Used for short-term storage in the water, sitting on a hoist or a trailer. Not recommended for snow or towing.

Pontoon Playpen – Same as mooring, but they don’t cover the front deck.

Trailer – Made to fit tight and lightweight while low profile cuts wind drag during towing. Not intended for snow.

Bow – Protect the bow, but not intended for storage. They don’t protect the complete bow area from damaging UV rays and their use is limited to a fast cover during towing, docking, traveling in the water.

Cockpit – Used to cover the cockpit area during towing and docking. Again, they’re not intended for storage; don’t cover the entire cockpit nor protect it from UV rays.

Winter Storage/Bass Boat – Made of heavy coated canvas which can be snapped down to the boat or used as tie-downs. The special coating keeps out the snow/ice while being still breathable enough to stop mold and mildew build up.


There are 3 types of docks to consider depending on severity of weather variations and water levels.

Wheeled –temporary dock with wheels and easily removable

Floating – intended to float with fluctuating water levels

Stationary – fixed or standing dock intended for stable water levels


Transient wet slips are used when you’re traveling away from home. Marinas, like Bluff Creek, will rent out slips for transients on a regular basis. Wet slip amenities will vary from marina to marina including shore power rating – 120 or 240 volts. So, it’s important to know which you will need.

Indoor vs Outdoor

Indoor storage includes commercial dry stack, your garage or individual unit. It’s the preferred method of dry storage – protecting from the elements, thieves and vandals. Many are climate controlled. Outdoor storage can be your backyard, garage or a secured boatyard under a tarp/boat cover – providing less protection from the elements and human predators looking for trouble.

Not sure where to get started when it comes to storing your boat? Contact us at Bluff Creek and we are happy to help answer questions or set up your boat slip today.

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