If you own a boat, you will likely be looking at your storage options. If you don’t have a slip in a marina or your own personal dock, you might be looking for land storage when your boat is not in use.
Not everyone has access to indoor storage options so you might be wondering if you can keep your boat at home in your driveway or even your street.
You might also need to park it in your street or driveway merely temporarily between your storage option and launching it into the water.
Don’t worry, we have done the research for you and here are the rules for keeping your boat either on the street or in your driveway.
Rules For Parking Boats On Streets And Driveways
It is important to know the rules when it comes to parking your boat in your home. These rules can vary based on whether you belong to a homeowner’s association or what city you live in.
It is important to know what is allowed in your specific area, but here are a few general rules that we found.
Most communities prohibit overnight street parking of oversized vehicles in residential areas, which includes boats.
Some communities allow temporary on-street parking of oversized vehicles. This temporary on-street parking generally means you cannot have your vehicle parked for more than two consecutive days in any 7 day period.
Some communities might allow on-street parking for up to seven calendar days.
These temporary exceptions might require a permit.
Most communities will allow temporary on-street parking for the purpose of loading or unloading your vessel.
This can be highly monitored so if you are taking advantage of this opportunity, you will want to make sure that you do not abuse the privilege and you are keeping careful track of how long your boat spends on the street.
Issues with Street Parking:
One issue with parking your boat on the street can be the size of your boat versus the size of the street.
Depending on the width of the street in your residential area, boats being parked on the streets can make driving down the street very difficult and can disturb other residents.
Another major concern with on-street parking is visibility.
In most residential areas there can be a high concentration of children playing in yards, or even sometimes in the street itself.
If your boat is parked on the street, drivers might not be able to see a child or pet that could be coming from the other side of your vessel if they choose to run into the street for some reason.
This can be a safety concern for pet owners, parents, and other residents.
For these reasons, boats parked on the street for long periods of time can be highly discouraged.
Parking in a Driveway:
Parking in a driveway is generally allowed for longer than on-street parking but is still not often allowed for extended periods of time.
Like the on-street regulations, this can vary per community, but oftentimes boats are not allowed to stay in a driveway for longer than 72 hours.
In some communities, this can even be shortened to 48 hours.
Similar to on-street parking, parking in your driveway can be an eyesore and affect the neighborhood’s curb appeal.
In some situations, parking your boat in your driveway can mean that you have to park your vehicle in the street and this can be a similar issue to parking your boat in the street.
Parking at your Home:
Now that we have covered parking on your street and in your driveway, we can delve into parking your boat at your home.
If your community allows your boat to be stored at your home, it is often required that it be “sight-screened”.
This means that you need to have your boat parked either to the side or behind your residence where it cannot be seen from the street.
Like everything else, the specifics of these rules vary based on the community.
Some places allow your boat to be placed behind a parking structure or home where it cannot be seen.
Other places allow you to park your boat to the side of your residence so it is not quite as far forward or close to the street.
There are even some communities that restrict how many boats or trailers you are allowed to have in your yard or on your property at once, whether they can be seen or not.
There are even some communities where your boat is not able to be on your property at all for certain durations of time.
Parking in an Enclosed Space:
The most consistent rule about parking your boat on your property is that if it can fit in a garage, pole barn, or other enclosed space where it cannot be seen, it is allowed to be parked there.
This can be good news for those who plan to store their boat on their own property when they winterize it or even storage in between trips on the water.
If you do not have a storage building, you will likely have to have a slip in a marina, a private dock or a storage facility for boating season as well as a storage option if you have to winterize your boat.
If your community allows you to store your boat in a community space or behind your home in the summer, you still might want to look into possible storage options for winter for the safety and care of your boat in the winter.
Parking in a Commercial Venue:
Parking your boat in a commercial parking space is often only allowed for extremely short periods of time.
If you are headed to the grocery store for a few things before you head out or are stopping quickly at a fast-food restaurant, or even a gas station, as long as you park in the back and try to take up only the necessary space you will likely be okay.
However, if you intend to leave your vehicle and boat, or simply your vehicle and trailer in one of these spaces for the long term or even overnight, you will likely not be allowed to do so.
Boat launches or marinas will generally have a place for you to keep your vehicle and trailer while you are out on the water and they are aware that these spaces could be utilized for multiple hours.
But if you are looking for long term storage, you will have to find another place to do so.
Trailer regulations are very similar to boating regulations when it comes to parking.
In some communities, even an empty trailer must follow the same regulations whether there is a boat loaded onto it or not.
Some people still believe a trailer is an eyesore and they do not want to look at it or have it parked in their street.
There are some communities where the regulations are more relaxed about trailers that are not loaded with a boat.
You will want to make sure you know what if required of you in your specific community before you try to park an empty trailer as well.
With all the rules that most communities have in place, you might be wondering what your alternative options are.
This can vary from community to community, but you might be in luck.
Some communities that have a lot of people who own boats, large recreational vehicles, or are otherwise limited in parking might have a common area where they allow the parking of these types of vehicles.
These can include sectioned off areas or other storage areas.
You can also store your boat in commercial storage space. These can be ideally located next to your launch or marina and they often have the proper space for your boat and trailer.
However, these places do cost money and depending on where you are located these prices will vary.
Overall, the best advice is to go over your options and make sure you have a strong working knowledge of the rules and regulations in your area.
The Main Issue:
The main issue with parking your boat on the street or in your driveway is curb appeal.
Most local residents do not want a large bulky boat on their street or in front of someone’s home as it can look tacky or otherwise unappealing.
For this reason, most homeowner’s associations or city ordinances do not allow a boat to be parked long term in a driveway uncovered or in the street.
Some places will allow you to park your boat in your yard as long as it sits behind your home and is not viewable from the street.
If you have a pole barn, large garage, or other storage options that will hide your boat you will likely be okay to use those options.
Street parking is even less acceptable, and most places will take note of how long your boat has been there. Most places only allow the boat to be in the street for loading and unloading purposes.
Shelby Sullivan is our specialist when it comes to pontoon boats and recreational watercraft. She is often found sailing the freshwater lakes of Michigan. She is also a light-traveler who enjoys camping and traveling the world. Read more about Shelby here.