More and more people are using dry stack storage for their boats these days. And there are many advantages to using a “boatel” as opposed to leaving Mom’s Mink in the water or on a trailer. Of course, there are a few down-sides as well. Is dry stacking a good option for you? Let’s find out.

To dry stack, or not to dry stack?

To dry stack, or not to dry stack?

Dry Stack Advantages

First, the positives: Maintenance is greatly reduced when a boat is kept out of the water. Waterlines are a thing of the past, the chance of blisters forming in your bottom goes down, and if the dry stack is under cover (which is common) your boat stays looking good longer. That means you spend less time waxing, and more time boating. Performance also gets a slight boost since bottom paint becomes unnecessary, and in most cases, painting the bottom of a boat shaves off one-half to one mile per hour of speed. Finally, consider cost; a dry stack can be half as much as a wet slip.

All of these factors, of course, also apply to a boat stored on a trailer. In that case, however, you’ll have to deal with the fuss of launching or retrieving the boat yourself, as well as the increased fuel and time investment that comes with trailering. But either way, the best part about keeping your boat out of the water is the feeling of security that comes with knowing, absolutely and positively, that your boat won’t ever sink in the slip.

Dry Stack Disadvantages

Keeping your boat in a rack isn't for everyone. Some common down-sides include accidental damage done by the forklift operator—although drops are uncommon, gashes, scratches, and crashes are not. And it may be hard to access your boat to do simple maintenance or clean-up chores. But the biggest problem for most stackers is planning ahead. Since you can’t just jump in the boat and go when it’s sitting 20 feet off the ground in a rack, you’ll need to call the marina and ask them to launch the boat for you. That eliminates last-minute decisions to go for a ride, or at the very least, delays them. Most marinas need an hour or two of lead-time and on weekends, they may become jammed. Worse yet, if you’re an angler who wants to leave at dawn and you fail to call in your request before closing time the evening before, you’re out of luck.

So is stacking a good option for you? In most cases, for the average boater the answer will be yes. Unless you place a premium on being able to jump aboard and cast off the lines whenever you want without advanced notice, the advantages far outnumber the disadvantages.


Written by: Lenny Rudow
With over two decades of experience in marine journalism, Lenny Rudow has contributed to publications including YachtWorld,, Boating Magazine, Marlin Magazine, Boating World, Saltwater Sportsman, Texas Fish & Game, and many others. Lenny is a graduate of the Westlawn School of Yacht Design, and he has won numerous BWI and OWAA writing awards.