By Molly Hammond, Storage.com

Summer’s here! Maybe it’s time to break out your convertible and store your sedan, or perhaps you just bought a boat for weekend cruising and need a place to house it when you’re not using it during the week. Whatever the reason, you’ve found yourself in need of vehicle storage. But before you start signing a rental agreement with a storage facility, there are a number of things to consider when storing a vehicle, particularly a boat.

Why Boat Storage is a Good Idea

While it might seem easier to store your boat in the body of water where you’ll be using it, professionals say this isn’t the best choice.

Beth Leonard, AVP and technical director for BoatUS.com, endorses storing boats on land. “Contrary to expectation, more than two out of three boats sink at the dock,” she says, adding that sinking is second only to hurricanes in terms of overall boat losses.

In addition to dramatically reducing the chances of sinking, Leonard says that boats stored in the water aren’t just vulnerable to storm damage, but they’re also more likely to develop blisters—that is, have issues with the fiberglass when it’s underwater.

While water storage might seem more convenient for boat owners, self storage is the best bet for the safety of your vehicle. However, simply knowing you need a storage facility might not be enough. You’re going to need self storage that also protects your boat.

Opt for More Security

When storing an item as unique and expensive as a boat, you’ll want to find a facility that makes security a priority. “Security features should always be at the top of the list,” says Kurt Kleindienst, Vice President of Operational Initiatives at Safeguard Self Storage.

While a strong lock and part-time monitoring might be enough security when storing smaller items in a unit, storing a boat requires a little more assurance.

One of the more common and most effective security features is gated access. When you store your boat a facility that offers gated access, you have an additional layer of security that can protect it from vandalism or theft.

The way gated access is handled will vary between facilities. Some use a keypad with one code that renters can use to access the facility; others offer individual codes for entry. No matter how access is distributed, the presence of a gated fence serves as a good indication that the facility is well-protected.

Though gated access can be more costly than a less secure facility, Kleindienst encourages storage customers to consider cost as only part of the equation.

“Cost is a factor in the decision-making process, but value received should be of greater importance,” he says, noting that opting to save money on items that ultimately end up damaged or stolen doesn’t really save money at all.

Leonard, too, believes that “boats stored in gated or patrolled facilities are much less likely to be stolen.”

What to Look For in Boat Storage

Kleindienst recommends that storage seekers “invest a little time in touring [facilties] in the area [where] they wish to store [their boats].” That way, customers can get a feel for the property and “determine if they feel comfortable storing their valuables in the facility.”

When determining whether a storage facility is of good quality, Kleindienst says to look for the following indicators:

  • neighborhood in which the facility is located
  • curb appeal of the property, which is usually indicative of the maintenance level
  • security amenities
  • level of customer service provided

Finding a facility that’s on par with all of these elements is absolutely necessary before you decide to leave your boat there.

After going to the trouble to find the right facility, don’t just park your vehicle and leave it. Be sure to check out how your vehicle is prepared for storage. This article from BoatUS.com is a great resource on preparing a boat for long-term storage, particularly during the winter.

Storing a boat in self storage is more than just renting a glorified garage. Find a space with gated access that leaves you with no doubt about the security, and get the storage you need for your water vehicle.

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Molly Hammond is a member of the content team at Storage.com. An equal opportunity storage enthusiast, Molly writes about everything, from where to store your extra boat to turning your storage unit into a custom cosplay workshop. When she’s not learning about the evils of plastic bags for clothing storage, she’s eating french fries, watching HBO, and wishing for snow.

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