Boating Bits

Boat storage: High and dry in Sydney

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Access is available 24 hours with prior notice so your boat can be forklifted off the dry stack and placed in the water.

DRY stacking is increasingly being seen a viable option for Sdney boaters. Fisho visited Sydney Harbour Boat Storage to find out what’s on offer. SIMON ENTICKNAP reports.

Sydney, we have a space problem. As the city becomes more congested and dwelling densities increase, boaters are increasingly finding themselves being squeezed out. The old quarter acre suburban block has been superseded by an emphasis on urban consolidation, resulting in modern households having less room to store bulky items that may be used only a few times a year.

Local councils too are responding to the competition for parking space with new powers that will allow them to impound boats kept on the street. This puts an added pressure on boat owners, making it harder for them to keep and maintain a boat within easy reach of the water.

For certain types of boaters, particularly those with power boats up to about 35ft, the use of dry storage or dry stacking is increasingly being seen as a viable option. Anything which makes it easier for them to spend more time out on the water is seen as an advantage worth paying for.

Currently there are three main commercial dry boat storage operations on the Harbour: Sydney Boathouse on Rozelle Bay, Cockatoo Boat Storage on Cockatoo Island and Sydney Harbour Boat Storage at White Bay 6 Marine Park next to the Cruise Terminal.

Fishing World went along to meet Jeremy Rose, general manager at Sydney Harbour Boat Storage, to find out more about how the market for dry boat storage is developing.

Sydney lags behind in dry stacking

First up – the location. Perched at the end of White Bay on the Balmain peninsula opposite Barangaroo, it would be hard to find a more Harbour-esque position. It is also an area that is going to be transformed in the coming years with plans mooted to transform the bayside wharfs with a mix of commercial/residential developments.

Dry boat storage on Sydney Harbour is not a new phenomenon but, even so, Jeremy Rose says the availability of local facilities still lags behind other boating markets, in particular the US and Europe where stacking is commonplace, but also compared to Queensland and WA.

The current site has 125 boats in storage (45 undercover) and there are plans to increase capacity to 220 boats by adding extra levels to the existing racks and increase undercover storage by covering the outdoor racks.

But does boat storage with access to the water really encourage owners to do more boating? Rose says participation rates are higher than the industry average although there are wide variations in usage; some boats, particularly share boats, will go out every possible weekend while other boats on the site will never hit
the water.

More than a warehouse

If you thought dry stacking just meant a warehouse for boats, then Sydney Harbour Boat Storage is demonstrating the potential for this type of operation to be a whole lot more.

While there are certain push factors at play forcing Sydney boat owners to consider very carefully how and where to keep their vessels, ultimately it is this focus on service and offering customers the facilities they want that may well see dry storage become an indispensable part of the city’s boating scene.

Why go to dry storage?

Dry boat storage is typically not cheap but it does offer a number of advantages for power boat owners eager to make the most of their on-water time.

  • Less stress: No more boat ramp rage! With a bit of pre-planning, the boat owner simply turns up at the dock where the boat is waiting for them, fuelled, cleaned and ready to go. Likewise in reverse at the end of the day.
  • Easier maintenance: Stacking the boat eliminates the need to haul out for anti-fouling and corrosion prevention plus if any repairs are needed it is easier for contractors to gain access to the boat without involving the owners.
  • Safe and sound: Boat stacks are more secure and vandal-proof compared to street parking. Plus they are less susceptible to storm damage compared to on-water moorings. All boats kept in storage are typically covered for insurance purposes.
  • Better resale value: Keeping a boat indoors helps to protect it from the damaging effects of the sun, birds, pollution etc. Not only is this good for the boat but also could result in a higher resale value.
  • On-site services: Dedicated boat storage facilities typically offer more services than self-storage units, such as lounge facilities, change-rooms and showers, food and snacks, all of which help make a day out on the water more enjoyable.

More info about dry stack boat storage can be found at


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