A Quick Guide to Boat Storage in the UK
A Brief Sail Through Boat Storage In The UK
Being an island nation, it comes as no surprise that many of us in the UK take to the water. Whether it is for work, travel, or for personal pleasure, being on a boat is a big part of life for many of us.
When Covid landed on our shores in 2020, the boating industry was hit hard, as were many others but it has been recovering rapidly since, with boat sales growing by 25% compared to pre-pandemic levels*. More of us are enjoying being out on the water in our own vessels, and this means more of us need somewhere secure to store our boats, and for maintenance and over-wintering.
Different Types Of Self Storage For Boats
There are many types of boat storage on offer in the UK, with pros and cons for each when choosing which boat storage to go for. Besides the wet berth/marina mooring which is where your boat is kept in the water in a marina, harbour, or yacht club, there is also boat yards and warehouses. Yacht clubs, boat clubs and associations often have boat yards alongside, where boats can be stored/stacked out of the water for overwintering, repair, and maintenance.
Storing In Boat Yards And Warehouses
This type of boat storage is on dry land, where boats can be stored by placing them on blocks or cradles, shelves/racks, or kept on trailers. Some are open to the elements, whilst others offer indoor/warehouse storage. These are secure places, often with CCTV and secure gate access. This type of storage has the advantage of protecting your boat from the water and the weather. If your boat is kept on a trailer, then it is easy to hitch up and drive off to whichever slipway you want to launch. Boat yards near the water often have machinery that will lift your boat onto and off the blocks, cradles, or racks, and into the water for you.
Some boat yards offer dry stacking, also known as dry berth or dry stack, which is generally used for smaller boats. The yard operators will stack your boat on specially designed racks or shelves in a covered facility, where they lift your boat in and out of these racks for you. This type of boat storage protects your boat from the weather. Operators of these facilities who are close to the water, will also lower your boat into, and lift your boat out of the water for you.
If, however, you have a yacht with an eight-foot keel, then the appropriate type of dry boat storage would be in a cradle. Storage facilities that offer this type of boat storage have special machinery for this purpose and can lift your yacht into and out of the water for you (if it’s nearby), or onto a transport vehicle.
Prices vary between the types of boat storage, depending on the services offered and the season, so weighing up which facility to go for means deciding on what you need, where, for how long, and then seeing what is on offer. A lot of yards have a set fee up to a certain size of boat, then after that, the prices increase by the metre.
Chatting With A Motorboater About Boat Storage
I recently chatted with Mike, a boat-owner from North Wales, who stores one boat at home, with another on the island of Anglesey. Mike has been a keen boat enthusiast since the age of 7, when he would go sea fishing with his father in a rowing boat. Mike now owns two motorboats, and has used marinas, pontoons, and boat yards throughout his many years as a boat owner.
Mike chatted with Explorage.com about some of the differences between the various types of boat storage, his experiences, and some of the knowledge he has acquired:
Mike: “… Well, we have two currently, one is an American make. It is a 2010 model, thirteen years old, and it is a Regal 2550. It is a 26ft long power boat. So, it’s a sort of a day boat, that you can take the family out in; fish, water sport, have a day on the water. It has a toilet, so you can have all the facilities and comforts on a boat on the water... The other boat is a Fletcher. It's a sports ski boat, so it produces a very flat wake for the purpose of skiing behind it, and towing toys. It is light and very economical…it's the sort of boat that any 4x4 could tow and take around…”
Mike used to own a larger motorboat which was stored in a dry stack marina, as it was too large to be kept on a trailer. The dry stack marina provided services such as twice daily checks and would lift his boat in and out of the water, and park it in the yard for him.
I asked Mike what criteria he considered when he was choosing boat storage. Being able to get out on the water with ease, was high on his list.
Mike: “ … you have a berth on the pontoons, and the advantage of that is, if you are an ‘anorak’ with boats like me, you want to go and sit on it, even if the weather is not suitable. You can open a bottle of wine and go and enjoy it because you are on the water. It is a case of basically loosening the lines and off you go. Then fuel on site is another important factor.”
Mike’s most important criteria without doubt is friendly, helpful, and knowledgeable staff.
Mike: “…so, having a yard that's looking after your investment… because boats are a luxury. It doesn’t have to cost a lot to run a smaller boat. That said, I think it's having good staff, that makes you feel that your investment is being looked after.”
I asked Mike about needing insurance when storing his boat.
Mike: “…Well, all sites insist on insurance from the boat owners. You all have to have your own insurance. The boat yards won’t insure you. In fact, they clearly say no boats unless you are insured…in case another boat owner damages it, and so it’s not the yard’s fault. So they have a disclaimer there.”
Something To Consider When Looking For Boat Storqge
When choosing the right boat storage, something to consider will be the ease at which you can get your boat, and go out on the water. In the summer months, tied to a pontoon or swinging mooring, or anchored in the harbour might be just what you need but if you need winter storage out of the water for repair and maintenance, or you are a fair-weather sailor, then the choosing will come down to specifics: ranging from simply out of the water, to out of the water, dry, and with all bells and whistles on offer.
Whichever storage you go for, ultimately the most important factor will be getting out on the water and having fun.
British Marine – Annual Industry Statistics June 2022
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