Whether we’re sittin’ on the dock of the bay or rollin’ on the river, we boaters can always use more storage space for all of our boating baggage.
So, what’s a well-organized boater to do? Invest in a dock box, that’s what!
What Is a Dock Box?
A dock box is that big box (similar to a cooler) that sits on a lake dock or marina walkway usually right in front of the boat slip.
It’s used to stow items you don’t need while you’re out on the boat or have gone home. You can use it for life jackets, fishing gear, watersports gear, electronics and most anything else you can fit in there.
Technically, you could even use a dock box on the actual boat itself.
Smart Features of the Best Dock Boxes
You might be thinking “Why do I need to buy a dock box? I already have a big plastic Rubbermaid that could work perfectly.”
Well, that Rubbermaid storage box just won’t cut it for very long. You need something that’s durable and strong, but most importantly, water and weatherproof.
Water and Weatherproof
The best dock boxes are water and weather proof.
This dock box is going to be sitting outside in rain, wind, heat and humidity. Maybe snow, possibly salt air and definitely other elemental circumstances. You’ll want something that can withstand the outdoor environment.
Come to think of it, add animal-proof in there as well. Marine critters can be pesky!
As discussed, the weather is a big factor in choosing a dock box.
Find something with a protective UV gelcoat that will save the dock box from sun damage and harsh weather.
Stainless Steel Latches
When there’s water around, stainless steel is the best for durability and rust-resistance.
Gas Shock Lid Lifts
Gas shock lid lifts are the best invention ever, in my opinion. They help keep the lid open on swaying docks and boats.
If you’ve ever had a lid fall closed on your hand, you won’t even consider buying anything else.
Fiberglass or Marine-Grade Polyethylene
Boats are made out of fiberglass for a reason. This material holds up well and is extremely durable.
Smooth Interior Finish
While fiberglass is certainly strong and durable, it’s not friendly to hands.
You’ll want something with a smooth interior finish so that you don’t end up with splinters from sprayed-in fiberglass, which is found in many dock boxes.
You’ll appreciate that extra time spent on shopping just for the lack of splinters when retrieving your life jackets and floats.
Not every dock box is lockable, but it’s a nice feature to have if you ever keep valuable electronics or navigation equipment in your dock box.
The Brinks Marine Lock (check price on Amazon) is a great choice if you’re ever in need of extra security. It’s made out of die-cast zinc and stainless steel for durability in water-based environments.
Sizes and Styles of Dock Boxes
- Standard Dock Box — This is your typical rectangular dock box that can be seen while walking around the marina. You’ll usually see quite big ones near the charter fishing boats.
- Low-Profile Dock Box — This long and narrow dock box is similar to the standard one. It just has more of a rectangular shape and is a good choice for narrow docks. It could be used to hold fishing poles or kayak paddles.
- Triangular Dock Box — This unique version is triangular in shape and fits in a corner, which keeps it out of the way of foot traffic on the dock.
- Seat Top/Bench Dock Boxes — One of my favorites as it gives extra seating when you’re hanging out on the dock. The rest of it is the same as a standard dock box.
- Upright Storage Lockers — Upright “locker” type boxes are great for storing fishing rods, wakeboards and other gear as well as to hang wetsuits, towels or jackets. They’re typically found beneath a covered slip where there’s more room.
The 6 Best Dock Boxes to Stow Your Boat Gear
Whether you hoard inflatable boat toys or store expensive fishfinders and GPS electronics, here are several dock boxes that just might suit your boating storage needs.
Lifetime 130-Gallon Deck Box
The Lifetime 130-Gallon Deck Box is large enough to store cushions, life jackets and other necessities.
It’s made of high-density polyethylene with powder-coated steel hinges and molded handles.
There’s a lockable lid with spring hinges for easy closing. The lid also opens to more than 90 degrees, which is an awesome feature when you have lots of stuff to put in or take out.
It’s also sturdy and big enough to be used as a bench.
- Type: Standard
- Material: Polyethylene
- Dimensions: 57” L x 20.75” W x 23.75” H
Rubbermaid Vertical Storage Cabinet
If you live aboard your boat and have a covered slip, this is the ultimate storage dock box for you!
With 21 cubic feet of storage space, you can store tools, equipment, pantry items and much much more in this Rubbermaid 72-inch Vertical Storage Cabinet. It’s made of high-density rust and dent-resistant polyethylene.
The doors are lockable (locks not included) for extra security.
- Type: Upright storage locker
- Material: Polyethylene
- Dimensions: 36” L x 18” W x 72” H
Suncast Resin Vertical Storage Box
The Suncast Resin Vertical Storage Box is a stylish option for storing seat cushions and other larger items.
It’s made of durable and water-resistant double-wall resin to resist fading. It has a gas shock lid to prevent finger pinches. You can even use a padlock (not included) to keep it secure.
I think this is something I would use in a covered slip (or somewhere with a bit of overhead protection) rather than sitting out on an exposed dock.
- Type: Upright storage box
- Material: Double-wall resin
- Dimensions: 30.25” L x 48” W x 41.25” H
Taylor Made Stow ‘N Go Poly Dock Box
The Taylor Made Products Taylor N A Stow ‘N Go Poly Dock Box is made of durable UV-resistant polyethylene.
Weatherproof features include a double-walled lid and stainless steel latches.
It’s a nice standard size that’s perfect for stowing life jackets and other boating gear.
- Type: Standard
- Material: UV-resistant polyethylene
- Dimensions: 40” L x 24” W x 26” H
Taylor Made Stow ‘N Go Dock Box with 3 Rod Holders
Extra large in size, the Taylor Made Products Stow ‘N Go Dock Box has three rod holders installed under the lid, making it the perfect companion for anglers who need safe storage space for their fishing gear.
One consideration is that it’s quite long, so you’ll need a large surface area on your dock to set it.
It has a stainless steel lockable latch, gas-spring hardware, a UV gelcoat finish and a smooth interior finish for easy cleaning.
Holes can be drilled into the bottom to attach it to the dock or other surfaces.
- Type: Low profile
- Material: Fiberglass
- Dimensions: 95” L x 24” W x 22″ H
Taylor Made Stow ‘N Go Triangle Dock Box
Taylor Made’s Stow ‘N Go Triangle Dock Box is one of my favorites. I just love that handy triangle shape (and filling up unused space is always high on my list).
If your boat’s docked near a corner (or if you just don’t have enough space in front of the boat), this is the way to go.
It’s made of fiberglass with a UV gelcoat finish and has gas shock hardware, stainless steel lockable latches and a smooth interior that prevents splinters.
- Type: Triangle
- Material: Fiberglass with a UV gelcoat finish
- Dimensions: 54” L x 33” W x 27.5” H
Found Your Perfect Dock Box?
Whether you have your own personal dock or rent a slip at a marina, a dock box can save multiple trips to retrieve life vests and boat toys back at the house or truck.
But more importantly, a dock box offers a sense of security.
Hopefully this has helped answer some of your questions and narrow down the choices just a bit.
Sandy Allen is a freelance writer based in Richmond, Virginia. Her specialties range from hotels, islands and yacht charters to theme parks and family fun. She enjoys boating, snorkeling and jet-skiing along the waterways of Virginia, Florida and North Carolina’s Outer Banks. Follow her adventures at Somewhere in the Sand.