Snow and Boat Canopies

Go to any seaside location along the east coast – New London, Connecticut, the Jersey Shore, and even the harbor in Baltimore – and many yachts and sail boats are lines along the docks. In the summer, these boats are often active or at least docked temporarily. When the weather gets colder, however, these boats need to be taken out of the water and protected. One option we’ve seen has been boat shelters or canopies, which can be used at home or on a dock. One issue that arises when using such a structure on a dock, however, is how it will be anchored.

A recent news story shows why such structures need to be anchored. On an average day for most areas of the mid-Atlantic, snow isn’t a problem, unless you live in update New York or Vermont. But, even in these coastal areas, snow can still hit and, as evident by the article, it can lead these structures to collapse onto the boats. Even when the boats are docked, the canopies themselves need to be anchored to give their full protection. If not, they may topple over or collapse onto the boats, as seen in the article.

If you plan to protect your boat by canopy, moving the boat to your home may be a better option. After all, the boat is in the comfort of your yard – assuming this doesn’t violate local building codes or zoning laws – and is fully protected by a canopy that can be anchored in concrete or by metal anchors. If you simply need to keep a boat by a dock, a better alternative is using a boat cover or tarp. Nevertheless, the issue that arises with any boat in a dock is snow. Too much snow accumulating inside will cause the structure to sink or will damage the mast.

Creating Your Own Boat Shelter

Have a large boat that you don’t want to store on a dock during the colder part of the year? One option is to use a larger boat shelter. Shelters of America has several larger-sized boat shelters measuring 34 by 42 square feet. Another option is to build your own boat shelter. If you have the materials to make a frame and a canopy, creating your own shelter is a possibility.

If you’re planning to build your own boat shelter instead of purchasing one, take a few cues from makers of such shelters, like Shelters of America and Portable Garage Depot.

Both of these companies follow 2 major best practices:

Use Galvanized Steel to Make the Frame

First, think of the materials that will be used for the frame. Although the design of the frame in the vehicle looks sturdy enough, having it made from galvanized steel would give even better protection.

Anchor The Frame With Concrete

Also, anchor the frame properly. For a frame that large, the metal should be anchored into the ground with concrete. Additionally, once you add the canopy, make sure it fits over the entire frame, much like a rounded or square tube shelter.

Storage Sites vs. Storing a Seasonal Vehicle Yourself

After watching this commercial, does anything seem wrong to you? If you didn’t catch it, watch it again a second time and check out where and how the RVs are being stored. Yes – you probably saw it for a few seconds on screen. The RVs are being stored in an open parking lot, which is where they stay during the winter. Although Seaport Storage claims to store boats and RVs, the location of the vehicles is outdoors – left unprotected to the elements. In terms of a long lifespan for your seasonal vehicle, is such a place ideal for keeping it in shape?

As we’ve mentioned before here, seasonal vehicles left outdoors for several months at a time are exposed to the elements. The prolonged exposure causes UV damage to the surface of the vehicle, often in faded paint and cracked parks, and the water damage can lead to mildew and dry rot on the surface. The best solution for keeping one of these vehicles is to put it in storage, either with a portable storage shelter like those at Shelters of America or Portable Garage Depot or, if you own one already, a brick-and-mortar garage. Left outdoors for six months of the year, the vehicle won’t give you as much usage as it could.

This ties into the last post, in which residents of DeWitt, New York, will need to store their seasonal vehicles, and their respective, shelters in the backs of their homes. Keeping a boat or RV in a driveway became illegal as of January 1, 2010, although various neighborhoods around the city without large enough backyards have petitioned the local government. Nevertheless, if you plan to use such a storage facility like Seaport Storage or a similar company, check first to see if they’ll let you use a portable shelter.

Fully Storing Your Boat for Winter

Boats are stored best with an outdoor canopy structure. Whether placed near a harbor or on your property, such portable shelters can be used to store a boat during the winter months. Generally, these shelters should be fully enclosed to protect the boat. If left outdoors for a long period of time, boats will experience UV damage, often in the form of discolored paint and cracked plastic, and water damage if snow and rain start to accumulate inside. A portable storage shelter keeps the boat away from these elements and allows your boat a longer lifespan. But, as we explained a few weeks ago, the boat should still be checked during the months in storage.

But boat shelters aren’t the only way to protect your boat. The portable shelter made from galvanized steel and polyethylene keeps the exterior of the boat in good shape, but maintaining the interior is your responsibility. An article from the Augusta Chronicle describes the best ways to maintaining a boat in winter. Some of these suggestions include:

• Lower the water-cooled 90-hp outboard motor and allow its foot to drain. If water is left inside, this can cause ice to form and damage the motor while being stored in winter.
• Similarly, check the battery. If the battery starts to swell, it needs to be replaced, as the cold is affecting it.
• Once the temperature dips into the 30s, the boat should be put in storage and not used on the water. At this point, ice forming inside the interior is more likely.

A combination of these should ensure your boat lasts for many years. The canopy shelter keeps the exterior of the boat from water and UV ray damage, and keeping the interior of the boat clean from water will preserve the interior from any water-related damage.

What to do When Using Seasonal Vehicle Structures

RV ShelterWinter is now approaching and many who go boating, fishing, or camping in the warmer months have put their seasonal vehicles in storage. With a few options for storing seasonal vehicles on the market, the best portable options are to use a boat or RV shelter. Much like portable garages but designed with appropriate dimensions, these seasonal vehicle shelters can cover such a boat or RV for several months. As a vehicle shouldn’t be left outside and boat wrapping methods may lock moisture inside, which can lead to mold forming, a structure that shelters but allows air to circulate offers the best protection.

When setting up a boat or RV shelter, these can be placed anywhere on your property. The shelter, unlike a carport or portable garage for everyday vehicles, should have all-around protection. More specifically, this means that the shelter not only needs to have a polyethylene canopy roof but also side and back walls. A zipper or roll-up door should be in front. If the vehicle didn’t come with side walls, a back, or front door, these can be bought separately and attached to the galvanized steel frame. After the shelter has been set up and anchored into the ground, the vehicle can go inside and stay for several months.

But, at this point, the care for the seasonal vehicle isn’t done. When storing a seasonal vehicle, it needs to be checked periodically. As these shelters should have zipper or roll-up front doors, you can unzip or roll up the door and go inside the shelter to check for any small animals that could have gotten inside and to check for any mold or mildew that formed on the surface. While the latter doesn’t happen often because air is allowed to circulate somewhat, small animals like squirrels or mice might have found their way into a boat and will need to be removed.

Why Use a Seasonal Vehicle Shelter?

Seasonal vehicles, as explained by their name, can only be used for certain parts of the year. Whether you go camping with an RV or smaller camper or prefer to go boating, any of these vehicles need to be put in storage. For some who own a brick and mortar garage, this is a no-brainer, as a boat or camper will fit in the garage. But what do you do if you don’t own a garage? One option is to put up a portable storage building for your shelter. Such dealers as Portable Garage Depot and Shelters of America make portable storage sheds specifically designed for these buildings, including RVs with a longer body and additional height.

Some might argue that leaving your vehicle outside exposes it to the elements. Of course, this is actually leaving your vehicle outdoors and not fully protected by a shelter. Any portable shelter for a seasonal vehicle consists of a galvanized steel frame and a polyethylene canopy. The canopy, which covers the roof and all sides, is made from heavy-duty polyethylene and is treated to be UV resistant, waterproof, and rot and mildew resistant. But, as some air is allowed to circulate under the canopy, moisture doesn’t get trapped under the shelter, as it does with shrink-wrapping a boat, and the vehicle won’t have dry rot, mildew, or mold build up on its surface.

These structures, essentially, can be stored anywhere on your property and can last through rain, wind, and snow. Some structures, however, are better for more extreme weather conditions like snow. If your area experiences large snowfalls, a rounded roof shelter is better for long-term protection of your boat, RV, or other seasonal vehicle, as the snow or water will roll off the roof instead of building up on top. With full protection on all sides, weather, including UV rays and water, generally stays away from the vehicle. But, as animals can come in, checking on the vehicle occasionally is a good idea.

When to Use a Boat Canopy

In many parts of the country, boats are necessity for industry, such as fishing, but boats are even used as seasonal and vacationing vehicles. But what should you do when it’s too cold to go for a boat ride? One option that many do is to put the boat in some kind of storage. When looking into storage options for a boat, the possibilities are several, with some claiming to be better than others. The basic four basic types of storage for a boat are often putting it in a garage, tarping it, getting it shrink wrapped, or storing it in a boat canopy. While both tarping and shrink wrapping a boat are temporary and may lead to dry rot or mildew under the cover when in storage for several months, what do you do when you don’t own a garage?

As a portable shelter has several options for use, one is to use it as a boat shelter for the several months when the boat is in storage. Boat shelters are designed like a portable garage, with a galvanized steel frame and a polyethylene canopy. In the case of many boat shelters, the canopy surrounds the vehicle on all sides. When you want a shelter to keep out the elements, boat shelters are treated to be waterproof, UV resistant, mildew resistant, and rot resistant. In many cases, the polyethylene canopy on these shelters is also fire resistant. In addition, as the canopy keeps out the elements, the structure still allows for air circulation, so mildew and dry rot won’t form on the vehicle while in storage.

Keeping your boat in storage during the colder months is important to have it last for several years. When not covered properly, the UV rays can fade the paint and make some plastic parts crack, while water can accumulate on the surface and cause mildew built up – not to mention small animals can get to the vehicle and make it their home. While the boat is in storage, check on it periodically to see that no small animals have found their way inside and that no mildew has built up on the surface. As most boat canopies have a zipper or roll up front door, the boat can stay in the shelter in this case.