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Boat Storage Ideas: Ways to Stay Organized on your Boat

There are simply no two ways about it, being tidy on your boat is not optional. Keeping your deck spaces, your galley, your lockers, your cabins and your bridge free from clutter is not only going to make you have a more enjoyable boating experience and enable you to find things when you need them, but it’s safer too. Clutter causes trip hazards as well as being dangerous when you can’t find a vital item needed for safety, navigation or handling. Planning the storage for your boat is never quite as straightforward as it might seem, and it’s very different to storing items in your home.

Here we’ll take a look at how to plan your boat storage as well as reveal some of our best boat storage ideas and hacks. 


How to Plan Your Boat Storage

At first glance it might seem that your boat has a wonderful amount of storage. There are cupboards, shelves and lockers everywhere, space under the sofas and seats, and in every conceivable corner. But how accessible is all this storage? Because of their compact design, boats tend to have their storage areas tucked into recesses, underneath larger items and deep inside the hull, which can make access – as well as damp - an issue. While many of these areas are great for items you don’t use on a regular basis, what happens to all those things you do need often?

So the first step when planning your boat storage is to consider;

  1. How often you’ll need access to certain items

  2. Which items need to be kept free from dirt, mold and mildew

  3. How easy it is to put things away and get them out


Making a plan for your boat storage is a really good idea as it allows you to take a step back and look at what equipment you’ve got and how much space you’ve got to put it in. From there you can plan additional storage needs.

Here are some ideas on making a plan for boat storage:

  • De-clutter your boat

The less stuff you have on board the better. So have a good sort out of everything you have on your boat and get rid of things you don’t use. The way you use the boat will determine the amount of equipment you have, whether you’re living on your boat, long-term cruising, fishing or just using it for day sailing. 


  • Make a note of all the built-in storage

Go through the boat and list all the storage areas you have, noting which ones are the most accessible and their sizes. This will allow you to see where you can put additional storage afterwards.


  • Assign equipment to storage areas

Make a list of roughly what will go where. It doesn’t need to be an item by item list but a more general idea of which types of equipment can be stored in which area. You’ll want to take into account the fact that boats are wet, so some items will need storing in dry areas, while accessibility is still a main factor too. 


  • Create additional storage

Once you know roughly what will go where you can then make those built-in spaces work better by creating additional storage. There are many ingenious ways to create these space, which we will look at below, from containers to hanging baskets, foldable items to racks and rails. Tips on how to restore the interior of your boat.


Boat Organization Tips

Storing things on a boat is vastly different to storing them in your house. At home, it’s common to space your belongings out, to leave things decoratively on work tops or shelves and to have easy access to everything you own in cupboards, drawers or items of furniture. On a boat every corner, locker or space is utilized and items have to be done so in a specific way.

Here are some things to consider when planning your boat storage:

  • Boats gets wet!

Damp is a major issue on boats and therefore even items stored inside a cabin have a high chance of getting damp at some point. When it comes to items such as clothes, electronics, charts and bedding be sure to keep them in watertight containers, plastic bins or vacuum bags to keep water out. 


  • Things will move when you’re underway

It’s all very well neatly storing everything when you’re tied up in a tranquil marina, but as soon as the boat starts to move, so will everything on board. Prepare for a worst case scenario, and make sure everything is well secured before each voyage, even if it looks calm. Even when conditions are favorable, the pitch and roll of a boat can have a long term effect on your belongings. Ensure all cupboards have locks or push latches to secure them when underway and use bungee cords, ropes or nets to secure anything that might roll around.


  • Keep things accessible

We’ve talked a lot about accessibility, but it really does play a key role in successful boat storage. Safety equipment for example can’t be tucked away deep in a locker or under the bed, and neither can tools or items you might need for quick repairs. A good rule of thumb is to try and store things you’ll use on deck and things you might use at the helm, engine space, cabins or galley in their respective areas. When it comes to tucking things away in less accessible storage areas consider putting items such as spare bedding or bulk food items there. Vacuum storage bags and bins are excellent for long-term storage. 


  • Only keep what you need in the galley

Keep small amounts of cooking staples such as flour, rice and other dry goods in smaller containers and store bulk packets somewhere less accessible. It’ll keep your galley tidy and leave more space for other times. Hanging rails, magnetic strips for metal utensils or baskets are also great space savers in the galley. 


8 of the Top Storage Ideas for Boats

When it comes to boat storage you need to get creative to create additional usable spaces.

Here are some of our favorite storage ideas you can use on your boat:

  1. Rope Organizer: We’ve talked a lot about interior storage, but it’s important to keep decks clear too. It gives you more space to enjoy your boat and it’s safer too. Lines and ropes can be trip hazards and look messy so invest in some rope organizers, which allow you to coil the lines into handy bags that hang on the rails. 

  2. Straps: In the same way that lines and ropes need to be kept tidy, power cords and hoses can also get tangled if they’re not stored properly. Purchase some inexpensive, durable, marine-grade straps to keep everything neat and accessible. 

  3. Helm Organizer: When you’re at the helm it’s vital to have everything you need to hand, and helm organizers are just the thing to help you do it. They have pockets and come in varying sizes, can be hung on the back of a door and will accommodate everything you might need from your sunglasses to your keys, phone and water bottle. 

  4. Magnetic Strips: Knives and metal utensils don’t need to fill up valuable drawer space if you install a magnetic strip to the wall to hang them from. It creates storage out of thin air and nothing will fall over when underway. 

  5. Door Hanger: Every conceivable space can be turned into some sort of storage on a boat and the backs of the doors are no exception. A simple hook can be used for coats, waterproofs or sweaters, but go a step further with a hanging organizer complete with pockets. 

  6. Collapsible Items: Everything from your colander to a stool, laundry bag or drying racks should be collapsible to save on space when it’s not being used. Made from food grade silicone or sturdy plastic, they are strong, durable and most importantly collapse down when not being used. 

  7. Dry Bags: With damp and moisture always an issue on boats, investing in some waterproof dry bags of varying sizes is a good idea. Use them to store items on deck that will get the wettest, or for taking things to and from your boat. If dropped in the water they are watertight and will save your belongings (and they float). Made from extremely strong waterproof materials, they come in sizes from handy tiny ones perfect for your keys, phone and wallet, to huge ones.  

  8. Racks, racks and more racks: When you’ve exhausted all the cupboards and lockers, it’s time to get creative and that’s where wall space comes into the equation. Small racks, especially in the galley or bathroom, can take up lots of bottles, jars, condiments or toiletries and keep them from moving around underway. 


Here at Rightboat.com we’re passionate about all things boating. Not only do we have the largest collection of new and used boats for sale all over the world, but we want to help you enjoy your boat to its fullest too. Check out our guides to boat ownership for ideas, help and inspiration. 


Written By: Samantha Wilson

Samantha Wilson has spent her entire life on and around boats, from tiny sailing dinghies all the way up to superyachts. She writes for many boating and yachting publications, top charter agencies, and some of the largest travel businesses in the industry, combining her knowledge and passion of boating, travel and writing to create topical, useful and engaging content.

More from: Samantha Wilson

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