How To Fit A Boat In Your Garage? (What You Need To Know!)

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As a boat owner you might start worrying a bit as winter approaches. It is unlikely that you will be using your fishing boat much during the winter. The lake is likely going to freeze anyway. Where do you store your boat? Can you fit your boat in your garage?

Actually you can and it may be the best solution!

Fishing or Sail Boats in Class A will fit into a standard one car garage. A medium length Bass Boat or a Bowrider in Class I will fit into a standard two car garage. Larger Class II boats can fit in a standard three car garage, but you may have to keep it at an angle.

Most personal boats, even larger ones, can fit in custom designed garages or kept in carports. There is always a solution, but you need to find the perfect fit between the boat length and the garage depth.

I strongly believe that a boat is worth a lot more than the price you paid for it. Try to keep it close to home when it is not in the water. In this post I examine various scenarios and try to help you find that perfect match between your boat and your garage. 

How To Fit A Boat in Your Garage?

How do you Fit a Boat to a Garage?

When it comes to whether a boat will fit in a garage or not, the two critical measurements are:

  • The length of the boat
  • The depth of the garage 

The garage width becomes important when storing your boat at an angle. The height of the garage door can also come into play. You may need to make some adjustment to the boat and the way you back up the boat in the garage.

The depth of a typical garage depends on whether the garage is for one, two or three cars.

Number of CarsTypical Depth RangeTypical Width Range
One18’-20’10’-12’
Two20’-24’20’-24’
Three22’-26’32’-36’

The boat length depends on the Class of the boat as under:

Boat ClassBoat Length
Class ALess than 16’
Class I16’-26’
Class II26’-40’
Class III40’-65’

Personal boats for a family of four generally fall in Class A or Class I. Boats with lengths ranging from 16’-22’ are quite suitable for fishing, cruising or water sports. 

A 16’ flat bottom or semi-vee aluminum boat is fine for use on small protected lakes for bass fishing or casual weekend cruising. It is light, can be towed even by a small car and fits nicely into your garage, even a one car garage. 

If you are a serious angler, you may have a 20’ fiberglass deep vee bottom boat. To fit this type of boat in your garage, you would certainly need to have a two or three car garage with sufficient depth.

How much Length does a Trailer add to a Boat?

Of course it is not just about the boat length. When the boat is out of the water, it will be sitting on a trailer. The trailer adds another 2’-3’ to the length.

The outboard motor adds another 2′ to the length of the boat. So you need to factor that in your calculations.

However, using a swing or removable trailer tongue can shave off 2’ from the trailer length once the boat is in the garage and unhitched. That can make a huge difference. So make sure that your trailer has a swing tongue if you are dealing with a tight fit.

What is the Standard Width of a Boat Trailer?

As per traffic regulations in most states the trailer width can not exceed 102”. Anything more and you have to comply with a whole lot of regulations related to “wide load”

It is one of the reasons that personal boats, that need to be towed on a trailer, are never wider than 8’ 6”. This width works fine for a standard two car garage door which is 16’ wide. 

For example TARGA V-19WT has a length of 19′ and a beam of 8’ 6”. This will fit in comfortably in a 22’ deep two car garage.

A single car garage door however is only 8’ wide. So, you will need a narrower boat and trailer to fit into a single car garage.

BASS TRACKER CLASSIC XL is an example of a narrow fishing boat. It has a length of 16’ 8” and a beam of 6’ 5”. This will be a snug fit in a 22’ deep one car garage.

TRACKER BOATS is a leading manufacturer of aluminum fishing boats for personal use. 

I am not an affiliate or an employee of the company. I will not get any financial benefit if you buy a product from them. I am using information on their brochure purely to illustrate and inform my readers.

How Much Height Does a Boat Trailer add?

The trailer will add 2’-2’ 6” to the height of the boat. A standard garage door is 7’ high. At a stretch it might be 7’ 6” or even 8’. So getting your boat through the garage door is another challenge you have to deal with.

If your boat has a hard top then it will need a garage with a taller than standard garage door. However, if you have a bay boat with a fold down windshield and handrail then it will slide in under a 7’ garage door.

You must keep in mind that even then it is not as simple as it sounds. The height of the outboard motor can scrape the garage door bottom seal.

Let me go back to my example of BASS TRACKER CLASSIC XL. This boat has a length of 16’ 8” and a beam of 6’ 5”. 

On a trailer the dimensions are:

  • Length w/ trimmed down outboard: 20’ 1”
  • Width: 6’ 8”
  • Height: 6’’ 

This boat will fit in quite nicely in a 22’ deep one car garage with a 8’ wide and 7’ high garage door.

BASS TRACKER CLASSIC XL on Trailer
PHOTO CREDIT: TRACKER BOATS

How do you Back a Boat Trailer into a Garage?

Backing a boat trailer into a garage, especially if it is a tight fit can be quite tricky. There are a few simple rules that will ensure you do not damage your boat in the process.

  1. Slow & Sure is always Better: Backup to a point where you are comfortable. Unhitch the trailer from your vehicle and push back the trailer manually.
  2. Use Help: Never try to backup right to the garage end without some help. Ask your partner to keep a watch on the rear end and shout out directions or give hand signals.
  3. A Little Practice Never Hurt: Have the exact dimension of your garage marked out on the driveway. Practice backing up in this space, till you are pretty confident, before backing up in the garage.
  4. Install Tire Stops: After you have successfully backed up your boat in your garage, place a 2X4 or a 2X6 stud against the trailer tires. Anchor it to the concrete garage floor. Now you can be sure that your boat will never bump against the back wall of your garage.

Bottom Line

The bottom line is that many personal boats used for fishing, cruising or water sports can fit into a garage. The key of course is getting a match between the length, width and height of the boat (on the trailer) with the garage depth and the garage door width & height.

There are many advantages to keeping your boat in your garage during winter:

  • You have peace of mind that the boat is safe from vandals
  • The boat is protected from snow, hailstorms and any other inclement weather
  • You can do regular maintenance and cleaning
  • It does not cost a dime

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Thank you very much for reading the post. I do hope you found it informative and useful.

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