The Inside Scoop
Not all indoor storage facilities are created equal. Know the right questions to ask.
After spending a cool summer in New England or a warm, pleasant winter in Florida, more yacht owners are choosing to leave their vessels where they enjoy using them most and returning to them next season, thereby saving the time and money spent in transporting the vessel north or south. However, storing a yacht safely during the off-season is one of the most worrisome aspects of yacht ownership. Whether it’s in a northern climate during the winter or a southern climate during hurricane season, protecting your boat from extreme weather is critical.
The industry is meeting this demand by increasing the number of indoor storage facilities, some capable of holding yachts up to 85 feet in length. These buildings store yachts out of the water in climate-controlled environments. Imagine polishing your yacht and putting it away in a humidity and temperature-controlled building, then taking it back out months later as clean and shiny as when you put it in. While not inexpensive, compared to -moving it from Maine to Florida, the cost may be a break-even proposition. Insurance companies may also reduce the policy premium if the yacht is protected inside a secure building.
When considering inside storage, not all facilities are created equal. For off-season storage in Florida, look for buildings that are rated to withstand hurricane-velocity winds. For winter storage in the Mid-Atlantic through New England, research buildings with adequate insulation in walls and roofs to protect from freezing temperatures. How the power is supplied to the building is another important factor. Does the facility get its power supply from protected underground cables or from overhead wires which may be susceptible to damage from wind, ice or falling trees? Some facilities in New England are capable of generating their own power supply for heating in the event of a prolonged power outage.
Storing a yacht inside a climate-controlled building requires different preparations than storing in the water or even hauling out and blocking up in a yard. Each facility should provide guidelines and recommendations based on their location and conditions. Some facilities will keep a boat connected to power inside, while others will store without power and disconnect all batteries to prevent any low-level draw. Fluids like oil, hydraulic and coolant should be fresh when the boat is put away. Fill fuel tanks and add a preservative to stabilize the fuel. A big advantage of storing in a temperature- and humidity-controlled building is the reduced potential for condensation forming anywhere inside the boat. (When the temperature is the same inside and outside the boat, condensation will not form.) Additional items to address include water tanks, which are typically emptied. Impellers in water pumps should be removed and new ones installed prior to putting back in service. Refrigerators and freezers should be emptied and dried out, and all food should be removed.
With these facilities popping up everywhere, you may find storing your boat inside a safe and secure building a good option when considering your off-season plans. Just do your homework first.