What is the difference between a boat dock and a boat slip?

There is a lot of terminology to learn as a new boat owner, and even the most experienced boaters can mix things up from time to time. Understanding the difference between a boat dock and a boat slip is important when it comes to storing your boat before and after use.

The first and most obvious difference between docks and slips are that slips are only open on one side, like an individual parking stall, whereas a boat dock is open on three sides.

There are many benefits to slips for longer-term storage. Many higher end marinas will feature a series of slips for boats. Slips provide more protection for your boat and can be custom built to accommodate your vessel. They can also accommodate a boat lift to bring the boat out of the water when conditions aren’t ideal or you want to let your boat dry.

Find a Florida dock near you

For new boaters, a boat slip can be a challenge to navigate into and it may take a few tries to get the angle just right to navigate in.

A boat dock, on the other hand, is the wood or metal pier where you park your boat. Docks are great for short-term parking as they are easy to navigate in and out of and make for quick stops. On the flipside, they aren’t secure for long-term boat storage.

Also read: How to find a boat ramp in Florida

Can you store your boat in a slip long-term?

The unfortunate answer is that it depends. There are a number of factors to consider. If you’re in a location that has inclement winter weather where you might expect freezing, it is best to get your boat in dry storage. If you use your boat regularly and have boat slip with a lift in a climate like we have here in Florida, there are no major concerns about storing your boat there year round. Of course, for some added peace of mind, it’s nice to have a backup plan.