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Old 05-17-2021, 03:00 PM   #1
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Boat house vs. custom (canvas) cover

Hello there! I’m brand new here and am so grateful to see the kindness and wisdom on these threads. We are in the process of purchasing our first boat - a 1986 Hershine 42”. It has been kept in a saltwater boathouse by the original owner all of its life and is in beautiful condition. We’re trying to decide whether to buy the boathouse with the boat (in a marina an hour away from our home), or have covers made for the boat and keep it closer to us. I can see that boathouse storage will protect its pristine condition, but it’s a bigger financial commitment than we had planned on making at the start of this adventure, and it doesn’t include the cost of renting the slip. Can you experienced boat owners please share your thoughts about the value of boat house storage vs. boat covers, as well as the ease or difficulty of selling boathouses, etc.? We live in the Pacific NW and have wind, rain, and occasional snow. Thank you so much!
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Old 05-17-2021, 03:18 PM   #2
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Welcome aboard and congrats on your new boat. Others from the PNW will be able to advise about the boathouse.
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Old 05-17-2021, 05:26 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by KarenG View Post
Hello there! I’m brand new here and am so grateful to see the kindness and wisdom on these threads. We are in the process of purchasing our first boat - a 1986 Hershine 42”. It has been kept in a saltwater boathouse by the original owner all of its life and is in beautiful condition. We’re trying to decide whether to buy the boathouse with the boat (in a marina an hour away from our home), or have covers made for the boat and keep it closer to us. I can see that boathouse storage will protect its pristine condition, but it’s a bigger financial commitment than we had planned on making at the start of this adventure, and it doesn’t include the cost of renting the slip. Can you experienced boat owners please share your thoughts about the value of boat house storage vs. boat covers, as well as the ease or difficulty of selling boathouses, etc.? We live in the Pacific NW and have wind, rain, and occasional snow. Thank you so much!
Hi and welcome aboard.
My boat has the advantages of a shelter, and has tried canvas.
My shelter is in Vancouver BC. I live on Saltspring island, so I have the difficulty of travel to the boat, and have partially overcome that difficulty by keeping my boat close by, but unsheltered for approximately half the year.
When my boat was new to me, it had been kept unsheltered for 5 years, after 9 years in a shelter, from new. After 5 years outside, the condition of the brightwork was frightful. It took a lot of hard work to bring it back to a reasonable condition, then it took twice annual re-varnishing to maintain it.
Then I got my shelter.
Maintenance went from twice a year to less than 1/2 the previous year's varnishing requiring a re-coat each year. That pattern has persisted for the next 20 plus years. For the last 7 years I have lived away from the shelter, so the boat has lived outside most of the sunny part of the year over that time.
In the first year, I bought a "Lohman" cover, used, that had been custom made for a larger boat. It fit OK, but the difference in convenience between the cover and the shelter were huge, and I only had the cover on my boat for a short few months before abandoning that idea and re-selling the cover. My thoughts of giving up the shelter were cancelled.
You may find that the inconvenience of the cover can be managed. I simply didn't like having to spend two to three hours fitting it, having to check on it frequently, and worrying about the cover itself needing maintenance, all to avoid the maintenance that was so easily avoided in a shelter.
I rent my shelter in a yacht club, so can make no comment on your particular expenses. Others can comment on that.
Good luck deciding. Realize that you can always give up the shelter, but re-acquiring one may not be easy.
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Old 05-17-2021, 05:41 PM   #4
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As far as protecting your boat, boat house is hugely best, followed by cove r which is hugely better than non covered.

As far as cost and convenience, non covered is easiest and cheapest, followed by covered which is difficult, cover costs to buy and maintain, followed by boat house which is easier than a cover, harder than an open slip and expensive.

Covers are so inconvenient that they tend to go on in Oct and off in May. This limits their protection to 50%. The cover itself can cause scratches and rub marks and can possibly attract wild animals for nesting. Covers will keep you from using your boat on that crazy gorgeous February day.

In the end you will either decide you want your boat to look like new for ever or you are willing to put up with a boat that slightly dulls with age. In between is usually reserved for boats with massive amounts a varnish that leave the dock only for July and August.
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Old 05-17-2021, 07:44 PM   #5
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For many years, '85 to 2007, our boat was kept in a shed. ROof but open sides. It meant I could work on the boat in all kinds of poor weather.
We used to boat all winter although not as frequently nut Dec - Feb. there are some absolutely beautiful days and few boats.

My varnish could be done on a 2 year cycle, not a yearly cycle. Lots of varnish.

We moved in 2007 and there are no sheds or houses at all.

Now we have a cover, Lohman, for the winter, Nov to Mar. I can still do some work on the boat under the over but it not as convenient. The cover is not a 20 minute job, not even close. I would not be without it though so no winter boating which we used to do.

The cover was purchased when we still had an RV and took off for 4-5 months each winter. It made a big difference to the cleanup when removed.

The house will make a big difference in mtce. and you can still use the boat in winter as weather allows.


To me if I still had the choice to have a shed/house I would have the shed.

But of course the budget must be considered.
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Old 05-17-2021, 08:01 PM   #6
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Thank you!

Thanks to all of you for sharing your experiences and opinions. I appreciate all of the input and it is helpful to have. What a nice community!
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Old 05-17-2021, 09:02 PM   #7
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If your boat has a lot of brightwork or teak decks, a boathouse is priceless in the PNW. Go for it. I have tried both - no comparison.
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Old 05-17-2021, 09:28 PM   #8
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I’m sure the boat house would always have value. It may be an appreciating asset. If it doesn’t work out , you may make money. If it does you will not regret buying it.
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Old 05-17-2021, 10:19 PM   #9
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We were in a covered slip, then moved and got a Lohman cover, then moved back into a covered slip. If you can do the boathouse, highly recommend it. If you are going to use a cover you may as well put the boat in dry storage for the winter.
Waiting times for covered moorage in Puget Sound can be quite long, the boathouse and slip are valuable assets.
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Old 05-18-2021, 08:08 AM   #10
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If you're using the boat regularly then the cover is a hassle. Each time, on-and-off, before you go out, when you come back... every... time...

Versus pulling into a covered shed, tying off an you're done.

The other points about varnish are spot-on. The sun is brutal. I've learned each coat of varnish is good for about 3 months. So if you're going uncovered to 6 months then expect to sand and re-apply two coats at the end of that time. Eventually you get to a point where you need to remove that added layers and start over again (typically 3-5 years). A boathouse can help stretch the time between re-varnishing.

But even without a lot of teak brightwork, all the other surfaces are likewise getting beat up by the sun. Gelcoat on the fiberglass, hull paint, decking, canvas, etc.

I don't know all the details but I'd give serious consideration to a boathouse instead of dealing with a lot of canvas covering every time.
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Old 05-18-2021, 08:35 AM   #11
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We were in a covered slip, then moved and got a Lohman cover, then moved back into a covered slip. If you can do the boathouse, highly recommend it. If you are going to use a cover you may as well put the boat in dry storage for the winter.
Waiting times for covered moorage in Puget Sound can be quite long, the boathouse and slip are valuable assets.

THIS, while a Lohman cover is well made and will not rub, they are in BIG & HEAVY pieces that are not easy to install.
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Old 05-18-2021, 10:05 AM   #12
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I use the boat continuously during the summer for 60 days or so, otherwise:

For the first 15 years, my boat was under covered moorage. It was great and deferred a lot of maintenance.

For the past 4 years, I have been in a boathouse. The difference in preservation is astounding.

I have a lot of painted surfaces, cabin, decks etc.
Under the covered moorage, cabin and decks were on a 2-3 year cycle

In the boathouse - it looks now like 5 years and counting.

The brightwork is greatly preserved as well.

Plus, side decks on both sides in the boathouse means any work done is quite easy to reach vs. doing acrobatics in the old slip on the away side of the finger pier.

There is something very satisfying about returning to the boat after a month and finding it exactly like it was when when you left it - possibly a tiny bit of dust more.


I would vote the boathouse
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Old 05-18-2021, 11:21 PM   #13
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Grateful!

Thanks again, everyone, for this input. I appreciate you sharing all of your experience and wisdom!
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Old 06-06-2021, 08:48 AM   #14
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Hi
We moored for three years at the Bremerton Marina than bought a boat house at the Port Orchard Yacht Club and joined the Yacht Club, there is no comparison. If you just look at the cost of moorage alone it’s a no brainer. The monthly dues are half of the $$ Plus you have a floating garage for your boat. Major projects become small when you have all your tools right there and you out of the weather. Our club have a few boat houses for sale
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Old 06-06-2021, 09:12 AM   #15
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Boat house/shed, birds like the shelter too. Nylon line and maybe a gauze sheeting hanging from the upper inside part of the boat house, will help keeping the droppings off the boat.
No way of determining if your swim platform will become home for some wildlife.

Canvas, lots of time to put on and take off plus storage of the canvas. Rodents and bird may really like to get out of the weather. Same problem with the swim platform.

My choice would still be a boat house. If you make allowances for high high tide plus.

You want the ultimate? A boat house, water tight gates, dewatering system and cradle. Your very own dry dock. Two of my uncles had that set up. They lived in Detroit so the boat wintered in their own boat garage sitting on the cradle.
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Old 06-09-2021, 05:55 PM   #16
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You can't beat a boathouse for protecting and preserving your boat, and even your hull will stay clear longer. That being said, having to drive an hour to your boat is a significant trade-off.

Our boat was kept in a boat by the last owners, and we looked into it for our boat. It's difficult to find even open moorage in our area. We found one boathouse for sale, but when we calculated the difference in moorage cost, we realized we could hire somebody to varnish our teak, etc for cheaper. The difference was over $7,000 per year.

We've decided to order a Lohman cover for less than a third of the cost of purchasing a boathouse. Keep in mind that a boathouse requires maintenance too.
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Old 06-09-2021, 06:44 PM   #17
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You can't beat a boathouse for protecting and preserving your boat, and even your hull will stay clear longer. That being said, having to drive an hour to your boat is a significant trade-off.

Our boat was kept in a boat by the last owners, and we looked into it for our boat. It's difficult to find even open moorage in our area. We found one boathouse for sale, but when we calculated the difference in moorage cost, we realized we could hire somebody to varnish our teak, etc for cheaper. The difference was over $7,000 per year.

We've decided to order a Lohman cover for less than a third of the cost of purchasing a boathouse. Keep in mind that a boathouse requires maintenance too.
I agree $7000 buys a lot of work.
I would be interested in cost of Lohman and boathouse being a third. I priced Lohman at about $6K, I have not found a boathouse for $18K.
The moorage at $7000 higher than about $6000 for outside?
I see you are in Nanaimo, several marinas, care to expand.
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Old 06-09-2021, 07:51 PM   #18
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I agree $7000 buys a lot of work.
I would be interested in cost of Lohman and boathouse being a third. I priced Lohman at about $6K, I have not found a boathouse for $18K.
The moorage at $7000 higher than about $6000 for outside?
I see you are in Nanaimo, several marinas, care to expand.

We pay $400/month ($4,800 annually) for our slip, while the boathouse we saw for sale at a nearby marina was for sale for $20,000 or $25,000, plus $1,000/month ($12,000 annually) moorage. Difference in moorage alone = $7,2000.
The rate at our marina is roughly $10/ft if paid annually, and our boat is in a 40 foot slip.
The Lohmann cover we ordered is $5,500 plus tax ($6,160 total), so definitely less than a third of the purchase price of the boathouses we found in our area.
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Old 06-09-2021, 08:20 PM   #19
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We pay $400/month ($4,800 annually) for our slip, while the boathouse we saw for sale at a nearby marina was for sale for $20,000 or $25,000, plus $1,000/month ($12,000 annually) moorage. Difference in moorage alone = $7,2000.
The rate at our marina is roughly $10/ft if paid annually, and our boat is in a 40 foot slip.
The Lohmann cover we ordered is $5,500 plus tax ($6,160 total), so definitely less than a third of the purchase price of the boathouses we found in our area.
Yup, that does calc out. you got me, I have not seen a boathouse under $50K worth considering. Is that a common price or a one off. Does not matter, I would not spend the extra $7200 either annually
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Old 06-09-2021, 08:49 PM   #20
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Of course the boathouse is the best option. But you have to weigh the cost into the equation. Full canvas is a good second choice, however full canvas for a 42 footer is also a huge commitment.

My least favorite chore about boating is putting on my mooring cover at night and it is only a five minute job, just covers the flybridge.

If you are looking at a full winter cover for your boat it will probably be made in three or four pieces zippered together. Probably weigh at least 100 pounds, maybe more. Pretty big job putting it on. It takes me and the Admiral most of the day. If it is windy, forget it.

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