By Patrick Galvan, Storage.com

Anglers take great pride in maintaining the physical condition of their fishing boats. But preserving a fishing boat’s quality isn’t just a matter of pride—it’s essential for water safety and good resale or trade-in value.

When not using your fishing boat, you’ll probably need somewhere to store it. Keeping it in the water is a bad idea, as it puts your boat at risk for weather-related damage or rusting. You could keep it in your driveway or garage, but both of those options mean taking up valuable space you could use for other vehicles. Not to mention, some neighborhoods don’t allow residents to keep boats, campers, or RVs in their driveways. So what do you have left?

Find a self storage facility that can accommodate your fishing boat storage needs. Many facilities offer boat storage throughout the year to owners of pontoons, speed boats, and, of course, fishing boats. But before you jump right into storage rental, there are a few things you should know about fishing boat storage.

Pre-Storage Concerns

The number of precautions you must take before putting your fishing boat in self storage varies depending on the season. For instance, in colder climates, motorized boats should be winterized in preparation for the oncoming sub-zero temperatures. Every boat model is slightly different, too, so be sure to consult your owner’s manual before changing the oil or flushing the engine.

You should also make sure your boat is covered when not in use. No matter what type of boat storage you end up going with (indoor, outdoor, or covered), a fishing vessel needs protection from the elements, dust, mold, and mildew. It’s highly recommended you cover your boat with something flexible and strong, such as a tarp or a boat cover made for your boat’s model. This also protects the carpeted flooring, seats, controls on the dashboard, motor, and any gear or tackle you keep inside the boat while it’s in storage.

“We recommend our customers use high-quality boat covers when storing,” says Al Gardes, Director of Operations for Elmwood Self Storage in Harahan, La. “A quality boat cover will protect boats from the elements, as well as increase the trade-in or resale value.”

But where can you find a boat cover if you don’t already have one?

“Most manufacturers offer some sort of custom cover for their boat models,” explains Brian Caughron, a regional sales manager for Alumacraft Boats. “There are also custom cover companies that consumers can locate in their area through a quick internet search.”

The Advantages of Indoor Storage

Obviously, boats are capable of withstanding exposure to the outdoor world. But when put to use, they typically only spend a few hours outside before being brought back to shore. When it comes to storage, fishing boats benefit greatly from the protection of indoor storage. Not every storage facility will have indoor boat storage options, mind you, but it’s definitely worth looking in to if the facility you’re interested in offers it.

The main advantage of indoor storage is that your boat is protected from the weather outside. If your boat is left outdoors when it rains, the carpeted flooring could get soaked and develop mold and mildew. Wind also has the potential to be a nuisance by blowing dust, dead leaves, and other debris onto the hull, flooring, and seats, which can be a pain to clean up later.

There’s also an additional level of security that comes with storing your fishing boat indoors. Rather than having it sit outside in a parking lot (which is often behind a gated fence), an indoor space keeps your boat out of sight and makes it harder to get to.

Using Climate Control for Boat Storage

When storing sensitive belongings (like electronics, musical instruments, photos, etc.), many people turn to climate-controlled self storage. With this technology, tenants can manually set and adjust the temperature and humidity levels inside their storage unit, thereby assuring their belongings remain in good condition. Climate control can be valuable for boat storage, too.

Problems usually arise when the vessel is stored in extreme temperatures for long stretches of time. “[I]n some cases, where it gets really hot, [the temperature can cause fading in] the carpet, the top coat (especially on fiberglass models), and the seats, causing them to crack and tear,” explains Caughron.

For these reasons, you may want to get an indoor unit with the climate control feature.

Other Storage Features for Your Boat

There are a couple of storage features you should keep in mind when choosing a facility for boat storage. Apart from the aforementioned climate control and indoor boat storage, the facility should be equipped with modern security amenities, such as gated access. Also, a facility with wide-drive aisles will make it easier for you to hitch up your boat and maneuver through the facility without bumping into anything and damaging your boat.

Your fishing boat probably cost you a good chunk of change when you bought it. Don’t let it rust, grow mold, have chipped paint, or get cracked seat cushions. Move it into a storage facility that offers boat storage!