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How to store and transport a boat?

If you’re planning to get your first boat, two of the very important questions you need to ask yourself are “where am I going to store the boat?” and “how can I transport it?”. In this article, we will help you quickly answer both of those questions.

Options for boat storage

First, we have to say that storing the small boat is far more convenient than you might imagine, and depending on your situation, you will be able to find a perfect way for you. There are 2 basic options – in-water or dry storage and every boat can be stored both ways, so basically the choice is all yours. Let us explain both methods.

Dry boat storage – pros and cons

Dry storage means that the boat is stored somewhere indoor or outdoor, outside water. It can be a garage, dedicated boat dry stack, or even your garage or backyard if you have space. It can be anything as long as the boat is properly secured and maintained, even your boat trailer if you have one. That’s perfectly fine to leave your boat always on the trailer (that’s kind of what it’s for, right?).

Storing the boat on your premises will obviously be the cheapest option and outdoor dry stacks come close after. You need to make sure to choose the one that provides satisfying security, preferably with camera surveillance. Indoor storage usually will be a bit more expensive.


  • Usually the cheapest option (especially if it’s your garage)
  • No need to protect your boat from freezing water during winter
  • Lowest risk of stealing contrary to in-water public places


  • You need to have a trailer for transporting (but on the other hand if you have one, that allows you to travel to different places with your boat)

In-water boat storage – pros and cons

In-water storage means that the boat just stays in the water and it’s a viable option even for the whole year if you’re not living in a colder climate, where there’s a risk that the water will freeze during the winter. If it does, it may cause some damage to the boat. If you want to prevent that and still keep your boat in the water for the whole year, you can apply an agitator (ice eater) to the boat’s hull, which will prevent the water surrounding the boat from freezing.


  • The boat is always ready! Just hop in and go.
  • No need to transport it to the storage after a trip
  • Super convenient


  • If the area is not properly secured, the boat might be an easy target for stealers
  • Proper maintenance needed if it will be stored in freezing cold water

Transporting the boat – towing and trailering

In order to transport a boat, you will need a trailer. You can obviously rent one, but if you plan to drive around a lot with your boat, we strongly recommend buying it. It may seem like an expensive purchase but for the smaller fishing/family boats for 4-5 people, it’s entirely possible to find a trailer under 500€.

Once you have your own, there are so many options that are open for you. Each weekend you can drive to new places and try out new waters. You’re probably wondering – do I need an SUV or some other powerful vehicle for this task? The answer is no. 

Boats this size are not heavy and rarely exceed 500 kg of total weight, so pretty much any car with a trailer hitch will do the job. If you want to be perfectly sure, you may check your vehicle’s “Gross Combined Weight Rating”, which states how much can your car weigh with a trailer and all passengers and everything else inside.

How to load the boat on the trailer?

Assuming you have a small boat, this part is pretty easy. Once you bring your boat to the coast, drive your car with a trailer right next to it. If there’s a ramp anywhere in the dock, that would certainly help. Bring the trailer down the water to the moment you’re able to easily attach the boat to it. Remember about the parking brake when you’re in the right position! 

Let’s say your boat is on the trailer in a stable position. Now it’s time to tie it properly to the trailer. Remember to be very careful and thorough while doing this part. An insecurely tied up boat may be extremely dangerous if it unloads from your trailer on the road. Exact instructions depend mostly on the type of trailer that you have. We highly advise watching one or two videos on how to do it on YouTube.

How to drive with a boat trailer?

If you never drove with a trailer, there are some things you need to consider:

  • Always start a bit slower than usual, to maximize the safety of the trailer, even if it means you’d be late for the green light
  • Start breaking earlier for the same reason
  • Take your turns wider, allow the trailer to smoothly turn after you
  • Change lanes slowly and cautiously

How to unload a boat from the trailer?

The process of unloading is pretty much a reverse of loading. Remember to slowly approach the ramp and drop the trailer to the water and once the boat is released, slowly drive out. Exactly as with the loading, the best way to make sure you’re doing it right, is to just take a look at one or two videos.

Not so difficult being a boat owner!

Now you know how to store and transport your boat. Pretty simple, right? As most things are with small boats, so if you were hesitating, I hope you’re not anymore. Of course, if you have any more questions, feel free to contact us, comment below or check our other articles, such as:

How much does a cheap boat cost?

Costs of having a boat