How to Store a Boat Outside

By Andy Whitcomb

Apr 06, 2020

It is almost boating season, but here are some things to consider when your boat is between outings.

“Store,” used as a verb usually means to put away for a lengthy period of time. Yet, this is the beginning of boating season. So for the sake of this piece, let’s define “store” as merely a brief rest between outings. The best way to store a boat outside is by taking steps to keep it protected from the elements and yet still ready to go at a moment’s notice.

  • One of the most important aspects when considering how to store a boat outside, is to keep it protected from water. This may seem ironic for something built to operate only on water but, whether storing an aluminum boat outside, or storing a fiberglass boat outside nothing good ever comes from allowing water to remain in a boat.
  • When storing a boat at home that is smaller, such as a john boat, it simply can be emptied, then turned upside down. Larger boats or boats that can’t be turned over because of fixed electronics and such should get covered. A custom fitting cover with elastic sides or cinching lines is very effective. However, some DIY type boat owners make do with a standard tarp and some item, such as a lawn chair, in the middle to act as a tent pole so water doesn’t pool. A tarp then needs to be tied securely or can be weighed down by hanging something like water jugs.
  • Prior to the boat being fully secure from water damage, don’t forget to pull the batteries so they can get recharged. Also, depending on your parking situation, you may want to take steps to reduce the likelihood of wildlife surprises. One ornery mouse can do a lot of damage in a short period of time. I’m just saying.

There is a bit of a fine line when securing a boat for brief “down time.” If, during your checklist of how to store a boat outside, you get it tucked away too much, it may get overlooked and not used. Then, not only will you maybe have to deal with premature winter time like storage issues such as pancaking tires or cracked hoses but your happiness level not be maximized because, well, you aren’t using your boat enough.

Andy Whitcomb
Andy Whitcomb
Andy is an outdoor writer ( and stressed-out Dad has contributed over 380 blogs to since 2011. Born in Florida, but raised on banks of Oklahoma farm ponds, he now chases pike, smallmouth bass, and steelhead in Pennsylvania. After earning a B.S. in Zoology from OSU, he worked in fish hatcheries and as a fisheries research technician at OSU, Iowa State, and Michigan State.