So you’ve achieved the dream of owning an RV and a boat, but where do you keep them when you’re not taking weekend road trip adventures or sunset cruises? While home storage is usually the easiest and cheapest option, storing two recreational vehicles on your property is not always feasible, especially if you want to protect them from the elements.
Fortunately, there are convenient, cost-effective RV and boat storage solutions at your local self-storage facility. Keep reading to explore your options and determine the best fit for your budget and priorities.
RV and Boat Storage Options
Typically boat owners have the following storage options available to them:
- At-home storage in a garage, driveway, or boat shed
- Marina boat storage
- Dry-stacked storage
- Self-storage facilities
Since marinas and dry-stacked boat storage facilities don’t offer RV storage options, RV and boat owners have two choices — storing at home or self-storage facilities. Let’s take a look at how these solutions compare.
Home RV and Boat Storage
While storing your RV and boat at home may sound ideal, it’s not suited for everyone. Here are some advantages and disadvantages to consider.
The cheapest way to store your RV and boat is at home. Not to mention, storage is just steps away. If you have a garage or a covered boat shelter, you can also keep your boat in better condition than you would, let’s say, at a marina, where you would keep your boat wet-docked — that is, in a wet slip on the water — leaving it exposed to sun, water, and air. In this way, at-home storage could help you extend the life of your boat.
Not everyone has room in their garage to store their boat, so you might have to keep it outdoors. Depending on your neighborhood, you may feel unsafe keeping your boat outside, and with exposure to the elements, you run the risk of higher maintenance costs. And when it comes to RV storage, you either have the space for it or you don’t. Keeping your recreational vehicles on your property may even be against your Homeowners Association (HOA) rules.
RV and Boat Storage at a Self-Storage Facility
That’s right — self-storage facilities aren’t just for holiday decorations and extra furniture; they can often accommodate boats and RVs. While you’ll have a choice between indoor and outdoor storage for your boat, only outdoor storage is available for RVs at self-storage facilities.
Most self-storage facilities are located conveniently close to home, which means that your RV and boat are just a hop, skip, and jump away whenever you’re ready for a little daycation. If you opt for indoor storage, your boat is fully protected against the elements and theft. And as long as you choose a 24/7 storage facility, you can access your RV and boat anytime.
Unless your local self-storage center is right by the water, you likely won’t have the same ease of access you would enjoy when storing your boat at a marina. Also drive-up indoor storage units may not be available for your boat depending on the time of the year.
Boat Storage Facilities Explained
You have two options when storing your boat at a self-storage facility: outside parking storage or drive-up indoor storage units.
But that choice might be made for you: With drive-up storage, the largest units available usually max out at around 10’X30′. If your boat is larger than that, your only option is outdoor parking, which may or may not be canopied. However, many people prefer to save money with an outdoor spot and opt for a boat cover to protect their vessel from the elements.
As climate-controlled storage isn’t available for drive-up storage units, this isn’t an option for boats. However, regardless of indoor or outdoor options, your vessel will still be well-protected from theft at a self-storage facility, which is one of the top advantages.
Storage Units That Will Fit Boat Storage
Wondering how much storage space you need for your boat? Here are your options.
How Big of a Storage Unit Do I Need for My Boat?
- A 20’x20′ drive-up storage unit is a good fit for a Class A boat up to 15 feet long.
- A 10’x30′ drive-up storage unit works for a Class A or Class 1 boat up to 25 feet long.
What Size Parking Space Do I Need for My Boat?
- A 20-ft parking space is a good fit for a Class A boat up to 15 feet long.
- A 30-ft parking space is perfect for a Class 1 boat up to 25 feet long.
- A 50-ft parking space can accommodate all Class 2 and some Class 3 boats up to 50 feet long.
In some cases, of course, you’ll have multiple size options. Which one you choose simply comes down to a matter of personal preference and your budget. For example, if you have a 25-ft boat, you could store that in a 10’x30′ storage unit or 30-ft parking space.
Pro Tip: If you already use self-storage or are in need of extra space, opt for the larger size option for your boat and consolidate all of your storage items in one unit.
Related: Practical Boat Storage Options for the Off-Season
Cost of Boat Storage
Many variables factor into the final cost of boat storage in a boat storage facility. These include:
- Location: At the end of the day, storage facilities are offering real estate — and anywhere real estate is pricier, rental units tend to be, too, such as in metropolitan areas.
- Availability: Supply and demand drive pricing as well. Storage units for boats might be in lower supply and higher demand the closer you get to the water, making them pricier, whereas units may be more available and thus cheaper further inland.
- Size: The larger the boat you’re storing, the larger the space you’ll need, and the more it will cost.
- Type: Pricing will vary depending on whether you choose outdoor uncovered storage, outdoor covered storage, or drive-up indoor storage.
Considering these variables, you can expect to pay between $18 and $438 per month for boat storage at a self-storage facility.
This breaks down as follows for the different types of boat storage:
- Outdoor storage uncovered: This can range between $18 and $438 per month, averaging $115 per month for a 20-ft long space and $142 per month for a 30-ft long space.
- Outdoor storage covered: This can range between $125 to $370 per month, averaging $150 per month for a 20-ft long space and $201 per month for a 30-ft long space.
These figures are based on average Life Storage pricing as of March 2023.
How to Store a Boat at a Self-Storage Facility
Before bringing your boat to a self-storage facility for long-term storage, there are a few steps to take:
1. Clean and inspect your boat: Provide any maintenance necessary before storage, rather than putting it off before your next joyride.
2. Check your fuel tank: Experts recommend storing boats with near-full tanks (leaving room for fuel to expand). Add a fuel stabilizer to prevent fuel degradation.
3. Protect the battery: Remove your battery if you anticipate freezing temperatures.
4. Lubricate the moving parts: Lubricate all moving parts with marine-grade lubricant.
5. Cover your boat: Especially if you’ll be storing your boat in an uncovered parking space, cover it with a canvas cover to protect it from UV rays and the elements.
According to the National Marine Manufacturers Association, “Ironically, it’s water that poses the most danger to your boat during the off-season. Freeze-damage is the biggest potential problem, but water in and on your boat can also promote winter-time mold and mildew growth, and corrosion. So as you consider all of these tasks, remember that your main goal is to keep out water and moisture to the greatest extent possible.”
Related: 5 Tips for Seasonal and Long-Term Classic Car Storage
RV Storage Facility Options
Now that we’ve got your boat storage options out of the way, let’s turn to your RV. While the best way to store an RV is indoors, indoor RV storage facilities can cost a pretty penny and may not be conveniently located near your home, unlike self-storage providers.
This makes self-storage an ideal option for storing an RV when not in use, especially if you want to store your camper at the same facility as your boat.
At self-storage facilities, due to size constraints, RVs are kept outdoors. You’ll have two options to choose from:
RV Parking Space
Regular, uncovered parking spaces are cheaper than the cost of RV storage in canopied areas (see the cost breakdown below). However, your RV is still exposed to the elements — although it’s parked within a secure facility.
RV Covered Parking
An awning protects from long-term sun exposure and the elements. At the same time, there are generally fewer covered RV spaces compared to open-air RV spots, which means lower availability and higher costs.
What Size Space Do I Need for My RV?
Here are two standard outdoor parking space sizes for recreational vehicles:
- A 10’x26′ space is a good fit for 26-ft class B recreational vehicles.
- A 10’x30′ space can fit class A RVs as well as long boats and trailers.
Although you might prefer a covered or uncovered storage space for your RV, your options will ultimately depend on what’s available for the size of your vehicle — and, of course, your budget.
Related: How to Store a Car in a Storage Unit — Your Questions Answered
Cost of RV Storage at a Self-Storage Facility
Storing at a self-storage facility is a great cost-effective alternative to indoor storage, which can run between $100 and $400 a month.
The cost of RV storage at a self-storage facility will depend on whether you want your vehicle covered or uncovered and the amenities available at the facility. Prices can also vary based on local availability, fluctuating throughout the year.
You can expect to pay between $37 and $245 per month for RV storage at a self-storage facility.
This breaks down as follows for the different types of RV storage:
- Open-air parking space: This can range between $37 and $245 per month, averaging $151 per month.
- Covered RV parking space: This can range between $95 and $370 per month, averaging $191 per month.
These figures are based on average Life Storage pricing as of March 2023.
How to Store an RV at a Self-Storage Facility
When storing your RV long-term at a self-storage facility, take the following steps to ensure your vehicle stays in the best condition:
- Clean, clean, clean: Remove or dispose of all foods, liquids, toiletries, and other items that may spoil, cause a mess, or attract pests. Vacuum thoroughly, scrub the fridge, and wash the exterior.
- Prep the interior: Run a dehumidifier to prevent mold and mildew, open your fridge and cabinet doors, and empty all trash receptacles.
- Prep the exterior: Turn off your propane system, fill in any cracks and openings, and cover vents.
- Prepare your RV for the winter: Before temperatures drop, take these steps to winterize your camper if you’ll be storing it during the colder months.
- Store your battery: Remove your fully charged RV battery and clean off any corrosion. The battery should be stored in a dry place at room temperature (between 70 and 78 degrees).
- Cover your RV: Especially if you’ll be storing in an uncovered parking spot, it’s a smart idea to invest in a fitted, breathable RV cover to protect your vehicle from UV rays, extreme climate conditions, tree sap, and other potential risks.
- Add a fuel stabilizer: Just as with your boat, you’ll want to add this to protect your engine.
Pro Tip: Looking to offset your RV storage costs? Consider making it available for rent during off-season months. According to Camping World, “RV rentals are becoming a more attractive option for folks that want an alternative to often overpriced hotel accommodations.”
Related: 3 Things to Know to Winterize Your Camper
Convenient, One-Stop RV and Boat Storage
While it may be one of the last things on your mind when buying a boat and RV, properly storing your recreational vehicles during the off-season is vital to ensure they last. Self-storage makes it easy to keep them both in one secure place and ready to go when needed.
Ready to find the right self-storage option for your recreational vehicles? Life Storage makes it easy to locate RV and boat storage facilities based on your zip code, bringing together over 1,200 listings nationwide. Try our easy-to-use online search tool to see your nearest and most affordable options.
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