The benefits of dry berthing your boat out of the water

Lee Pollock, boat yard manager, explains why dry berthing could be for you.

There is nothing new about marinas offering dry sailing for racing yachts and dry stacking for small motorboats and RIBs. While you might be one of the many owners who prefer to keep their boat in the water so that it is always ready to sail away, you may be missing out on some key advantages that will help keep your boat in tip top condition.

It is generally better for a boat to be kept out of the water. Less frequent or no antifouling coupled with replacing the anodes less often are immediate money savers, plus the fact that there is no need to pay for that mid-season lift and scrub that many leisure cruisers like to have as the hull will be clean each time you use it. Meanwhile, you can keep a constant eye on the condition of the hull.

Not only is it good for your boat, dry berthing is also secure, especially the dry stack for smaller boats which could otherwise be towed away by thieves from driveways, or driven away from a pontoon. As a result your insurance company may offer lower premiums.


Looking at the pricing versus staying on a berth is only part of the equation – lower maintenance and prolonging the good condition of the vessel will also result in considerable savings. If you own a motor cruiser, for instance, but you are limited in the number of times you can get out on the water dry berthing is a good solution.

The potential fuel saving can be significant, with no build-up of weed or fouling to slow it down. Not only is performance improved but so is boat handling and there will be less mechanical wear with no prolonged exposure of engine parts to salt water.

Similarly, a sailing cruiser that enters occasional races will be better prepared with a clean, faster hull.  This also improves passage times in normal use.

If you have got a racing yacht that is part of a big fleet all dry sailing from same location it is a no brainer.


You will need a correctly fitting cradle for the boat to rest in. The yard or the boat manufacturer can usually provide one.

If you like heading off in your RIB to the pub across the Solent at short notice in the summer evenings, marinas like Hamble Yacht Services only need one hour’s warning. Dry stacking also avoids the queues at public slipways on peak summer days.

Typically the yard’s hoist (for larger yachts), crane or forklift will put your boat in the water the day before you want it, and you will find it tied up on a holding pontoon when you arrive.

When you return to the dock it will be lifted, power-washed and returned to its stack or cradle. Most dry storage contract holders will plan ahead, but often one or two hours is enough notice.

Hamble Yacht Services offers a 12-round-trip contract for racing and larger cruising boats and, like other marinas, an unlimited launch and recovery contract for dry stack RIBS and small craft.

Whilst many owners will always prefer a permanent marina berth, especially if they like to tinker with their boat regularly, for others, including less frequent sailors, dry berthing can make a lot of sense.