It’s already September, which means it’s almost time for the most beautiful time of year to be a boat owner. Fall is covering the world in a brilliant array of reds, golds, and oranges that mark the change of seasons.


And although temperatures are getting cooler and the days are shortening the water will still be warm for quite some time. That’s why, for many boat owners, autumn is the ideal time of year to be out on the water enjoying nature’s incredible beauty in the mild fall weather.  


But all of that natural wonder can only mean one thing: that winter is right around the corner, and with it, plenty of ice, snow, and bitter winter cold, all of which can be hard on your boat. In this post from Canvasworks, we’re covering winter storage options to help you get your boat ready this year. To get a head start on winter this year, give us a call and order your winter boat cover!

Winter Boat Storage Considerations

When most folks purchase a new boat, they’re thinking about weekend boat trips and tubing. Unfortunately, it’s easy to forget essential details like winter boat storage options until there’s frost in the air. But winter is a reality every Minnesota boat owner needs to face, and protecting your boat from the elements of winter is an essential part of owning a boat in a northern state. Even if you’re one of those hardy souls that enjoy open water fishing in the winter, you’ll need a place to store your boat where it’s protected from the winter elements when you’re not on the lake.


At Canvasworks, we manufacture custom marine products like heavy-duty winter boat covers, travel covers, upholstery, and more. After fielding questions from customers about winter storage options for more than forty years, these are some of the most important things to consider when researching winter boat storage options.


●        Is storing your boat indoors a high priority for you? Or is outdoor storage an option?

●        Can you store your boat on your property, or will you need to rent storage?

●        Do you have a truck and a trailer, or do you need to hire someone to transport your boat?

●        How will you protect your boat while it is in storage over the winter?


Indoor or Outdoor Storage?

The first question is whether you're going to store your boat indoors or outdoors. There are benefits to both options as well as negative aspects.


First, let's talk about indoor storage. This can be as simple as a spot in a pole barn or your garage and as complicated as renting temperature-controlled space at a storage facility. The benefits are easy to see. Your boat will be protected from winter precipitation, a primary concern when storing a boat over the winter. Ice, snow, and their attendant freezing and thawing cycles can wreak havoc on the interior of your boat. If you choose a temperature-controlled facility, you won't need to worry about temperature variations either. On the downside, it can be expensive if you're renting space and inconvenient if you have a boat taking up space in your garage all winter. Access to your boat can be an issue as well, especially if you're one of the first boats into storage in the fall. Frequently it's, "First in, last out," which can be frustrating in the spring when you're ready to get your boat on the water.


Your other option is to store your boat outdoors. Once again, this option can be as simple as keeping your boat in your backyard or renting space at an outdoor storage facility. 
The most significant benefit for outdoor winter storage is cost and convenience. If you're storing it at home, a winter storage cover is highly recommended.

The largest drawback is protecting your boat from the elements. If you're paying for outdoor storage elsewhere, you can also run into the same "First in, last out" scenario as indoor storage.


Personal or Commercial Storage?


This question is perhaps the most straightforward question to answer. You either have a property to store your boat over the winter, or you don't. If you don't, then you will need to look for commercial winter storage for your boat. 


There are a couple of things to consider before you decide to overwinter your boat at home. First, if you are storing the boat outside, double-check that there are no ordinances or HOA rules against it. Second, if you're keeping the boat inside, ensure that the boat isn't blocking anything you will need access to before the snow melts. There's nothing like needing your snowblower only to find out you've inadvertently blocked it in with your boat, and you can't move the boat until the snow melts.


If you decide to go with a commercial storage facility, you'll want to research their services. If they don't offer all of the services you'll need over the winter, ask what their policy is for other contractors to come in and work onsite. Some services to consider are indoor/outdoor storage, transportation, winterization, shrink-wrapping services, hull repairs, engine servicing, detailing, and canvas or upholstery repair. Don't forget to check their reputation as well, both online and word of mouth. 



If you have a truck and trailer, you're set on the transportation front, so this question doesn't concern you. However, we have quite a few customers who don't have a truck or a trailer; sometimes, they don't have either. This is especially common with boat owners that keep their boats at a lake for the entire boating season.


If you are overwintering your boat at a commercial facility, it isn't uncommon for them to offer transportation services, trailer rental, or both. In addition, they may offer a package deal for bundling transportation, winterization, and storage. Whatever you do, don't leave this for the last minute; storage facilities' schedules can get very tight this time of year.


When you're overwintering your boat at home, your options for transportation can be a little more difficult to arrange if you don't own a truck and a trailer. Some companies will transport your boat to storage for you, and some marinas will offer this as a standalone service. If that isn't an option for you, call your local rental companies to see if they have trailers for rent. You may even try contacting a local canvas company to see if they have any trailers for rent or offer any transportation services as part of a package deal when you purchase other services.


Now that you have answers to the basic questions about winter storage, it’s time to figure out how to protect your boat while it’s in storage. Under no circumstances should you use a summer storage or travel cover for outdoor winter storage. They are not made to handle heavy snow and ice loads and will be damaged. However, it is a first-rate solution for protection from dust and bird debris while your boat is stored indoors. If your boat is stored outdoors over the winter, you will need to invest in a heavy-duty winter storage cover or have your boat shrink-wrapped every year.


Order Custom Winter Boat Covers

Whether you’re planning to store your boat indoors or outdoors this winter, Canvasworks is your source for custom boat covers. Check out our covers in our online gallery, then give us a call at 320-559-0165 or contact us online today to place your order.