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Is it Okay for an Aluminum Boat to Stay in the Water Year-Around?

An aluminum boat parked at the shore of the river.

There are several factors to consider when wanting to know how long to leave a boat stored on the water. Some things to consider are the water’s temperature, salinity, and current. As a general rule, it’s probably not a good idea to leave it for longer than 30 days at one time.

In high-fouling waters, I have noticed barnacle growth after only a week or two. Aluminum boats that are not coated can be left afloat for a week, maybe two, depending on the level of fouling. After that, there might be some form of damage to the boat to attend to.

Related: Aluminum vs. Fiberglass Boat: Why We Chose Aluminum Over Fiberglass

Can I leave my boat sitting in saltwater?

It is advisable that you not allow your aluminum boat to sit in saltwater longer than 30 days. Your boat will be safe to leave it docked at the marina for several months at a time.

As a matter of fact, aluminum is an excellent resistor of the corroding effects saltwater often has. However, it does require maintenance. If leaving your boat in saltwater, exercise caution and correct maintenance to ward off any avoidable harm to your watercraft.

What will saltwater do to my boat?

An aluminum boat parked at the harbor in a sunny day.

Over time, saltwater can have devastating effects on your boat and its engine. Saltwater exposure creates rust and corrosion build-up on metal.

Therefore, storing a boat continuously in saltwater will cause this metal to corrode. Saltwater causes this corrosion to occur at a speed that is ten times faster than freshwater does.

In addition, also affected by saltwater exposure is the boat’s hardware. Any electrical wiring that has metals in it is also prone to damage from saltwater. For this reason, it is imperative to ensure all to keep these wires dry as much as possible.

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Additionally, the hull of a boat can suffer damage due to saltwater exposure. It will cause the fiberglass to fade quickly, making scratches more prevalent than when left in freshwater.

What is the appropriate amount of time for me to store my boat in the water?

As a rule, no boat should be stored for more than one full month in the water. That is unless you have assured proper care to guard the boat in preparation for storage for long-term.

One safeguard measure I like is putting an epoxy coating on my boat prior to storage. This allows me to store it for well over the suggested 30 days time period.

Theoretically, if appropriate safeguards are taken, a boat can dock in the water the entire year or longer. However, it isn’t recommended to keep it in water too long even with appropriate measures taken for protection because corrosion can still occur.

Storing a boat in the water is a bad choice if it is already in bad shape. Therefore, boats with visible damage need to have the hull sanded and refinished prior to putting a protective coating on it. Once this has been done, the boat will be sufficiently ready to store away for the long term.

Monitoring the appearance of your boat is imperative when planning long-term storage in the water. Check it over carefully, verifying if there are any issues such as barnacles or blistering that may require immediate attention.

What if I leave my boat in the water all winter long?

To prevent extensive harm to the freshwater system of a boat requires draining, otherwise the risk of freezing up advances. Therefore, you should make sure to winterize the boat’s water system.

In addition, batteries should be charged to a complete charge as well as checking that all bilge pumps are operating well.

Will my aluminum boat corrode if stored in freshwater?

Simple aluminum fishing boat parked at saltwater.

There is a chance your aluminum boat may corrode in freshwater conditions. However, when in an environment of freshwater the risk is not as serious as it is in saltwater conditions. Yet, there is still a chance the corrosion will begin to form the instant you take your boat off the Pacific Coast.

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Storage options for my boat

The perfect scenario is to store your beloved yacht or boat near your house. This would be the best place to store it, however, for many, it isn’t possible for a variety of reasons.

Those reasons might be expensive real estate, the boat is too large, or the dock isn’t sufficient due to not having deep enough water.

Luckily, there are several options for boat storage available. These options will ensure the health of your boat in between the boating and fishing season.

Types of boat storage

Below are four types of options I found for me to store my boat. Each falls under a certain category, such as self-storing at my home, in an outdoor boatyard, at a marina slip, or in a dry storage area.

Since we would all like our boat to be kept near us, let’s start with the self-storage option.

Related: Wet vs Dry Boat Storage – Pros and Cons Of Both

Self-storage

A boat is lifted from the water to store it.

This method is the easiest type of storage and can be either in one of two places. Your own backyard or in a facility for self-storage. If you have a garage or large shed, a small boat will do well stored at home in one of those.

The type of self-storage you use can be uncovered or covered, as well. If you live near a waterfront, you can store it adjacent to the house in the water, or store it on a lift to get it out of the water.

During recent years, the technology of lifts has advanced tremendously. As a boat owner, there are several choices should a lift on your property become a serious consideration for storage.

Traditional lifts are still existent, however, there are lower and newer platforms which preserve the gorgeous, clean view against the view of the water.

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Storing it in a boatyard

Storing your boat in a boatyard is what it sounds like. It is a place to store boats in a setting outdoors. Typically, boatyards are found near marina’s or other waterfronts.

Some of the least costly boatyards are dry storage areas. There are also boatyards that are connected to a marina that you have the option to use.

On a marina slip

This is the storage option for multiple boats. A marina has wet slips that are one of the less costly options. Your boat will sit at the marina in a small section of the water.

These lift slips are also available out of the water if the boat owner wishes. You won’t have to clean the bottom of the boat as frequently if you opt for the out of water slip.

However, other factors of the environment will have an impact on your boat, such as hail or rain, and the sun. You might get lucky and find a marina with lift slips that are covered.

The biggest advantage to storing in lift or wet slips is you are not at the mercy of staff to allow access to your boat. You have immediate accessibility to the slip and can simply jump inside the boat and head out on the water. Another big plus to this option is not having to transport the boat on a trailer.

Using a high and dry storage

Boat storage at a marina somewhere in Miami.

The option of high and dry storage is also available at a lot of marinas. This storage method is the process of storing boats inside, on a rack alongside several boats. A forklift is utilized to raise and lower each boat within the storing facility.

Whatever you decide, enjoy your boat!

Each of these is an excellent option for storing your boat. Personally, I like the first one, and I store my boat in my yard. However, if I lived near a waterfront, I would prefer to store my boat at the marina, so it is readily accessible. Whatever option you decide to go with, make one that allows you to enjoy your boat!