In a world where wooden boats are less common, it can be hard to know what the proper method is for storing a wooden boat (as opposed to a plastic, metal, or fiberglass vessel). Wooden boats can last for decades if they are treated well, but neglect and poor storage will greatly shorten their lifespans. Here are some tips to help you keep your wooden boat seaworthy. 

Keep it dry in the right places.

Maintaining the correct moisture content in the wood is essential, as wood that is too wet will be more susceptible to dry rot. You should strike the perfect balance of in-water use and off-water dryness. You can store a wooden boat in the water because the water-resistant wood and finish will not dry rot if there is no oxygen—any wood submerged on the hull of the boat will be safe. It's keeping the water out of the bilge that is the most essential. Take special care to ventilate and dry cabins or any closed-off areas of the boat (stage spaces, cargo rooms, and so forth) as they can trap humidity and start the cancer of dry rot.

When you pull the boat out for dry storage, take the time to completely dry the inside and outside of the boat. Open doors to rooms and cupboards to let the boat ventilate when it is being stored on land. Don't rely entirely on wood oil or varnish to protect wooden surfaces, as standing water can erode the finish over long-term storage. 

Invest in a quality canvas cover.

Canvas boat covers can be lifesavers, especially if you are storing your boat on the water. You're not concerned about water exposure below the surface, but rain and wind can constantly threaten your boat's other surfaces. Proper marine canvas solves this issue; when the canvas is dry, it allows ventilation to the boat's surfaces, keeping water vapor from getting trapped beneath the cover. But, when the canvas gets wet, the natural fibers of the cover expand, making it waterproof. A properly fitted canvas cover is essential for successful on-water or outdoor off-water storage.

However, not even a canvas cover is entirely foolproof. After rainstorms or similar wet conditions, check the cover for areas where water has begun to pool. These should be emptied, as the prolonged wetness of the cover can lead to rot below the surface. 

For more information on correctly storing a wooden boat, contact a boat-storage facility such as Riverside Marina in your area.