Winter's coming, and at least for those of us in colder latitudes that means finding a safe dry place to store our boats. Hopefully you've already got a plan in mind, but here are some tips to consider for boat storage.
1. Stay Close to Home
If you have room in your yard and you're not too far from the water, have you considered storing the boat there? Hydraulic trailers can deliver boats almost anywhere safely. If you have a DIY project or two in mind for the winter, that might save you a lot of back and forth time to the yard.
2. Undercover Options
Boats that are covered up in the off-season will be cleaner, drier, and therefore (I like to think) happier when you uncover them in the spring. Last week we talked about How to Cover Your Boat in detail, but inside a building could be even better—especially if you have work to complete over the winter. If you're thinking about storing in your own yard, consider erecting a temporary shed—though you'll need to make sure it's allowed by zoning and won't annoy the neighbors. If you can leave it up year round, the cost over a few years might compare favorably to a winter cover, especially since it will make access to the boat so much easier.
3. Stay In the Water
With the proper ice protection from bubblers underneath, and a weatherproof cover on top, your boat might be happiest wintering over in the water. Wooden boats especially like to stay hydrated year round. Just keep in mind that this option is very location-dependent; it requires a well-padded dock in a well-protected harbor, and the water must be deep enough so that recirculation will keep ice from forming around the hull and propellers.
Of course, you might be one of the lucky snowbirds who'll avoid winter altogether by heading south. But in that case, you probably didn't bother to read this far. :)
For more details, read Winter Boat Storage: What's Right for Your Boat?