Should I trailer my boat or keep it in a slip?

Should I trailer my boat or keep it in a slip?

Having a boat that's a hassle to use is the outcome may owners experience. Unfortunately, the process of getting it ready, towing it to the water, launching, retrieving, towing home and cleaning can be tedious and exhausting. Wouldn't it be easier if the boat was already in a slip, ready to go? Would it make sense financially given the cost of fuel? 


Benefits of trailering your boat.

  • Convenient to work on at home. 
  • You can leave more gear onboard comfortably, given it is locked up privately at home
  • If you take the time, you can clean your boat more thoroughly on a trailer at home.
  • Expands your horizon to more bodies of water
  • Easy to take in for maintenance and engine service
  • Capability to get fuel at the pump opposed to fuel dock

Drawbacks of trailering your boat. 

  • Cost of fuel to and from the water
  • Storage space at home
  • Extra time spent prepping and launching/retrieving 
  • Cost of maintaining trailer (tires, registration cost, cleaning, etc.)
  • Can be difficult to handle on your own

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Benefits of keeping your boat in a slip.

  • Convenience of location
  • Ready to go at a moments notice
  • Services typically at dock such as water and security
  • More time spent around other anglers/boat owners

Drawbacks of keeping your boat in a slip.

  • Overall cost for slip
  • Restricted to using fuel docks
  • Constant exposure to elements
  • Difficulty of cleaning
  • Need to pack gear on and off the boat
  • Limited to water access
  • Difficulty of service


So which one should you consider?

Well, that comes down to plenty of factors. With prices at the pump easily of $5/gallon for regular gasoline and $6/gallon for diesel, trailering a boat can cost hundred for one decent trip. Also, many people may not have the space at their home to store their boat. Parking on the street can lead to many issues. If you are having some of these troubles and don't mind being locked into leaving from one location, having your boat in a slip might be a good way to go. 

Depending on the area you are in, slips can be very pricey. A slip can cost you anywhere from $12-240/ft per year. This is highly dependent on slip location and amenities at the dock. Atop the fees that come monthly, cost of maintenance, trailer rental, and service can be extra pricey. You will also be limited to fueling at a dock (20-50% more expensive than at the pump). If you wish to save some money in the long run, using an air dock in your slip may be a good investment. It lowers into the water so you can drive your boat onto it, then inflates to raise the vessel out of the water. These are simple and reliable and can save you thousands over years. There is also the option to use a boat lift. These can be much pricier, but are a reliable form of getting your boat out of the water.

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