14 Smart Boat Storage Ideas to Keep Your Deck in Check

Nobody likes a cluttered boat. Whether you’re in your cabin cruiser, pontoon or deck boat, you don’t want items rolling around, getting in the way and flying out of the boat.


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But those things you bring on board usually have a purpose. You want them to be handy when you need them. I know I do.

With these thoughts in mind, here are a few boat storage ideas to keep everything, including your sanity, in its place.

Our Favorite Boat Storage Ideas

Cargo Netbtbtbl2-table__imageZilong Cargo Net Hammock
  • Large capacity
  • Stretchy for easy loading
  • Premium quality
Tackle Boxbtbtbl2-table__imageWakeman Fishing 2 Tray Tackle Box
  • Multifunctional
  • Can be adapted as a first aid kit
  • Plenty of storage
Trash Storagebtbtbl2-table__imageBoatmates Super Suction Trash Stasher
  • Has suction cups
  • Hinged cover
  • Use with kitchen trash bags
On-deck Storage Bagbtbtbl2-table__imageSurfmonkey Marine Storage Bags
  • Can be hung over the rail
  • Has velcro straps
  • Comes in three sizes
Document Storagebtbtbl2-table__imageSeattle Sports Dry Doc Bags
  • Waterproof
  • See-through
  • Available in a variety of size options
Hat and Towel Storagebtbtbl2-table__imageShineMe Clear Plastic Suction Cups
  • Made from high-quality materials
  • Best suited for non-porous surfaces
  • Easy to install
Folding Step Stoolbtbtbl2-table__imageAcko Folding Step Stool
  • Made of heavy duty plastic
  • Easily folds away
  • 300-lbs maximum load capacity
Collapsible Bucketbtbtbl2-table__imageSouthern Homewares Foldable Silicone Bucket
  • Made of non-porous silicone
  • Easy to stow-away
  • Holds up to 2.65 gallons or 10 liters
Plastic Storage Binbtbtbl2-table__imageSterilite Storage Bins
  • Multifunctional
  • Has holes on the side
  • Easy to clean
In-drawer Storagebtbtbl2-table__imageVelcro Brand Industrial Strength Tape
  • Industrial strength velcro
  • Comes in all kinds of strengths and styles
  • Easy installation

For the Deck

Boat decks often take on a lot of stuff—from water toys and fishing gear to life jackets, shoes, towels and paperwork like maps, charts and registrations. Sure, the paperwork will probably fit in a glove box, but what about the rest of it? Check out this list to conquer your boat storage stress.

Cargo Nets

ZILONG Cargo Net Hammock Cargo Trunk Storage Organizer Net Vehicle Storage with 4 Adjustable Hook Black
  • Keep your car organized: Great storage solution to help you drive organized & be clutter-free, keep loose items from getting thrown around in your hatch, you don’t have to worry about things rolling around while you are driving so save your time to find item under seats or somewhere in your car
  • Large capacity: It stretches around your stuff and you can cram even more things in it than ever before, make all the items secured in place without damaging them, it can be adjusted from about 35-43.5 inch in width and 12 inch in depth
  • Pretty handy: Envelope style with elastic polypropylene fabric pocket net, stretchy for easy loading and keep heavy items, make your life so much easier
  • Direct fit: Attach to mounting points in the rear cargo area with 4 self-locking hooks, all the mounting hardware is included for easy installation
  • Premium quality: Made out of durable polyester material to ensure longevity, thick and won’t tear or rip easily, universal fit for most cars, vans, trucks and SUVs

Recommended: Zilong Cargo Net Hammock (Check price on Amazon)

I love the cargo net in the trunk of my car. It keeps everything from rolling around. That same principle applies to a boat. Mount a cargo net back at the transom or along the sides of the deck, if you don’t have storage wells, and you can angle in wet lifejackets, inflatables and water toys.

They’ll dry off while you’re heading back to the dock or to the next swimming spot. You can also mount one by the helm to keep charts and maps handy.

Tackle Box

Wakeman Outdoors 2-Tray Fishing Tackle Box Craft Tool Chest and Art Supply Organizer with Lid Storage and 3 Removable Front Organizers – 18 Inch
  • MULTIFUNCTIONAL- Not only is this organizer great for fishermen to keep track of their lures, tackle and bait, it can also be used by artists, jewelry makers, woodworkers and other craftsman to keep their tools and supplies close at hand.
  • DURABLE- This tackle box and craft supply organizer is made of strong, durable plastic so it can hold up to rigorous use by fishermen or craftsmen.
  • COMPACT- The small size of this tackle box makes it ideal for use where space is limited like small boat decks, kayaks or for storing in a craft cupboard.
  • PLENTY OF STORAGE-Even though it’s small, this organizer chest still has plenty of space for all your tools and supplies. 2 trays and 31 total compartments, along with THREE BONUS removable organizer boxes and built-in tool slots.
  • PRODUCT DETAILS- Dimensions: 10.5”L x 9.5”H. Outside Width: 20”. Inside Width: 18”. Tray Depth: 1.25”. Bottom Compartment Depth: 5”.

Recommended: Wakeman Fishing 2-Tray Tackle Box (Check price on Amazon)

Sure, you can use a tackle box for actual tackle, but you can also adapt it for first aid and other small items. All of those little compartments make great storage for bandages, tubes of Neosporin and hand sanitizer.

Insider Tip: Purchase a brand new one. They’re not that expensive, and your bandages won’t smell fishy.

Trash Storage

Boatmates Super Suction Trash Stasher
  • Keep the cockpit or cabin in shipshape condition
  • Quickly mounts on any smooth surface with 3 suction cups
  • Hinged cover to keep contents from spilling out and insects from creeping in
  • Use with kitchen trash bags
  • 12 x 5-1/2 x 3 inches

Recommended: Boatmates Super Suction Trash Stasher (Check price on Amazon)

Trash storage always seems to get forgotten about until it’s needed. I know that’s how it is on my boat. I just discovered this handy little device called the Boatmates Trash Stasher.

It’s basically just a hinged lid mechanism that gets attached to a plastic bag. Then, you can stick it on any smooth surface via suction cups. The hinged cover keeps everything in the bag, making it less likely to spill or blow out of the boat. You’ll have to remember to bring plastic bags.

Insider Tip: When you’re purchasing your snacks and drinks at the marina store, and the cashier asks if you want a bag, take it. There’s your bag!

On-deck Storage Bags

Double Pocket Boat Organizer (Burgundy)
  • Organizes All Your Boating Gear
  • Hang over rail, never have to reenter boat for supplies
  • Water Resistant, Rot and Mildew Resistant
  • Made in the USA

Recommended: Surfmonkey Marine Storage Bags (Check price on Amazon)

Surfmonkey Marine Storage Bags can be hung over the rail to keep cleaning products or sunscreen close at hand. The loops have Velcro straps that keep it in place. It comes in three sizes—one pocket, two pockets or three pockets. My favorite aspect, besides the bright color, is that the fabric is mold and mildew resistant.

Document Storage

Seattle Sports Dry Doc Digi XL Waterproof Case
  • Protect your electronics, documents and gear
  • Eco-friendly PVC Free punture proof film
  • Protect from Sand, Water and Dust
  • Dual-Ziploc-style closure for secure, simple everyday use

Recommended: Seattle Sports Dry Doc Bags (Check price on Amazon)

Important paperwork like boat registration, ID, license and passports really need to be kept safe and dry. Seattle Sports Dry Doc bags are waterproof, and the clear vinyl makes it easy to see what’s inside. There are several sizes to choose from, including ones that will hold a phone and other small electronic devices.

For the Cabin

I realize not every boat has a cabin. But if yours does, here ya go. Even if you don’t have a cabin, many of these ideas can be used in other areas of your deck or pontoon boat.

Hat and Towel Storage

ShineMe Suction Cup Hooks for Shower Windows Clear Plastic Heavy Duty Strong Vacuum Traceless Coats Hook Smooth Wall Kitchen Bathroom Towels Caps Holder (2pcs)
  • 【HIGH-QUALITY MATERIAL】: The suction cup hook adopts high-quality ABS, high transparency, crystal glass texture, simple and beautiful.
  • 【HIGH-QUALITY SUCTION CUP】: The design of the double suction cup makes the adsorption function more powerful and firmer, and can withstand the weight of 2.6LB.
  • 【SUITABLE FOR A WIDE RANGE OF SCENES】: Suction hooks are best suited for tiles, glass, mirrors, granite, stainless steel, acrylic, laminate and any non-porous surface, glossy finishes.
  • 【EASY TO INSTALL】: Simply lift, push and lock. No screws, no nails, no glue, no tools! Convenient to organize and store in the apartment, school dorm, and office.
  • 【OUR AFTER-SALES SERVICE】: We will provide good after-sales service. If you receive the defective or damaged hook, please contact us in time, we will provide you with a replacement or refund for free.

Recommended: ShineMe Clear Plastic Suction Cups (Check price on Amazon)

You know those things Grandma uses to hang her suncatchers on the window? Well, they make a great receptacle to hang hats, towels, bathing suits and other lightweight items.

Choose a heavy-duty version with a long hook and stick to windows, shower stalls, galley walls or any smooth surface. The only issue will be convincing the kids that stuff goes there and not on the floor. Good luck with that!

Folding Step Stools

Acko Folding Step Stool 16 inch Plastic Foldable Step Stool for Adults Non Slip Stepping Stool,Kitchen Step Stool,Garden Folding Stool (Blue)
  • Safe Upgrade Folding Stepping Stool: Features improved the folding bar, which can prevent it from collapse inward while standing on it. Acko has designed a safety stop gap feature that allows the foldable stool to prevent being squashed. Four round corner super safe protects your body from crashing. All of this design is put user safe first.
  • Premium Quality - Our fold-up step stool is made of tough & durable heavy-duty plastic for long-lasting durability and has been approved by EN 14183 Certificate. The maximum load capacity of the folding stool is 300lbs, which safe for adults.
  • Space Saving Foldable Stool: This foldable step stool is super convenient. It's quickly and easily folds away for convenient storage so you can open with one flip of the hand. Its foldable nature makes it super compact (only 1.5" wide). Store it virtually anywhere and it’s ready to give you a 16-inch boost or seat!!!
  • Portable Folding Stool: Lightweight folding stool great for in the kitchen, bathroom, RV's, and more. When you go out for a picnic, are you worried about is there not enough room for a place stool? Carry this quick-fold step stool wherever you go.
  • Quality Guarantee: Keep using quality materials to ensure the best quality.Sweet satisfaction with half of Year comprehensive warranty. Note: For For safety's sake, make sure the stool is fully open before use. The step stool must be used on a dry and flat surface. Mustn't place the product in the environment above 30℃ and below﹣5℃ more than 5 hours."

Recommended: Acko Folding Step Stool (Check price on Amazon)

A step stool is always handy for vertically-challenged boaters such as myself. Storing it onboard the boat can be an added challenge, though. That’s why I like this folding step stool so much. You can get to those hard-to-reach places like the Bimini top or hardtop without standing on the rails and falling in the water. Then, just fold it up and stow in a drawer or closet.

Collapsible Buckets

Southern Homewares Silicone Collapsible 2.65 Folding Gallon Bucket Blue
  • EASY TO TRANSPORT: Carrying handle allows you to easily grab the bucket when needed. When emptied, bucket becomes compact and folds into itself which makes it easy to store.
  • LARGE CAPACITY! - Holds up to 2.65 gallons / 10 liters - perfect for watering plants, washing vehicles, taking with you when fishing, or anything else imaginable!
  • COMPACT! - Push down on bucket to make it more than 75% smaller than when it’s fully expanded!
  • DURABLE SILICONE! - Heavy duty non-porous silicone makes for the perfect collapsible storage bucket.
  • DIMENSIONS - Expanded: 13” wide at top by 10” tall / Collapsed: 13” wide at top by 2” tall.

Recommended: Southern Homewares Foldable Silicone Bucket (Check price on Amazon)

Even if you’re just using it to keep soda cans icy cold, every boat needs a bucket. But they can be tricky to store. That’s what’s so great about this product. When you’re done using it, just collapse to down and stow it in that handy cargo net mentioned above.

Plastic Storage Bins

Sterilite Medium Ultra Basket Plastic Storage Bin Organizer - White
  • Sterilite #16248006 Medium White Ultra Basket
  • Contoured handles for comfortable transporting
  • Smooth finish is easy to clean
  • For organizing drawers, shelf space or counter tops
  • Product Dimensions: 14 X 11 X 5 inches

Recommended: Sterilite Storage Bins (Check price on Amazon)

Plastic storage bins can be used in so many ways. I like Sterilite’s simple box-style bin to store and carry shampoo and other toiletries to restrooms/shower facilities at marinas. They come in a variety of sizes and colors, and some styles even have handles. For boat use, I prefer the ones with the ventilated sides. If water does get in it, all you have to do is tip it over to drain it.

For the Galley

Obviously, not every boat has a below-deck gallery. Some of these ideas can be used on the deck as well as below, especially if your pontoon boat has a galley area.

In-drawer Storage

VELCRO Brand Industrial Strength Fasteners | Stick-On Adhesive | Professional Grade Heavy Duty Strength Holds up to 10 lbs on Smooth Surfaces | Indoor Outdoor Use | 15ft x 2in Tape, White
  • PROFESSIONAL GRADE ADHESIVE FASTENERS: These industrial strength hook and loop fasteners provide strong holding power designed for heavy-duty applications; safely holds up to 10 pounds
  • WATER RESISTANCE PROVIDES UNMATCHED VERSATILITY: With heavy-duty strength, these fasteners make the ultimate organization tool for mounting, hanging, storing, or securing items indoors or outdoors; adheres to most surfaces in the house and garage
  • LONG LASTING DURABILITY: Easy stick-on application is ideal for a broad range of surfaces and applications; special sticky back adhesive provides a secure and long-lasting hold
  • DESIGNED FOR TOUGH APPLICATIONS: Super strong, superior holding power allow these adhesives to securely fasten to smooth surfaces including plastic, glass, metal, and painted wallboard
  • NO TOOLS REQUIRED: No hammer, drilling, nails, or epoxy necessary, hook and loop industrial strength fasteners feature an easy peel and stick application, it’s the simple solution to organize on many surfaces without putting holes in the wall

Recommended: Velcro Brand Industrial Strength Tape (Check price on Amazon)

Whether you’re using plastic or wooden boxes and bins to store items, you probably want them to stay in place. There’s no greater invention, besides duct tape, than that sticky hook and loop system known as Velcro. Purchase a package of industrial strength or marine-grade Velcro and stick that stuff to everything. Not literally, of course, but you know what I mean.

A couple pieces stuck to the bottom of those boxes and bins, and its corresponding piece stuck to the bottom of the drawer, will keep them from tipping over and spilling your spices all over the place. This magical material comes in all kinds of strengths and styles that adhere to plastic, brick and even concrete.

Dishware Storage

Rubbermaid Techfile Plastic Magazine File, 3 x 9 5/8 x 11 5/8 Inches, Black (40406ROS)
  • Use horizontally or vertically
  • Finger hole at back for easy removal from shelf
  • 3" Wide by 9 5/8" wide by 11 5/8" tall

Recommended: Plastic Magazine File (Check price on Amazon)

Magazine holders make a great place to keep plates, plastic wrap, foil and other slim items. Then just store it vertically or horizontally under the sink, in a cabinet or on the counter. If the holder is wide enough, you may even be able to fit fruits and vegetables in there. I recommend the ones with the ventilated holes if you’re planning to do that.

Cabinet Storage

Whitmor Hanging Shoe Shelves - 10 Section - Closet Organizer - Java
  • Neatly stores and organizes 10 pairs of shoes without taking up any additional floor space
  • Perfect for organizing bedrooms, closets, laundry room, play room, college dorm rooms
  • Made to last; strong yet breathable fabric; reinforced seams for additional strength and support
  • Dimensions: 9.5 x 12 x 12.25 inches
  • Quick set up; metal hooks hang from closet rod or garment rack

Recommended: Whitmore Hanging Shoe Shelves (Check price on Amazon)

Forget hanging—though you’re welcome to use that method if you like—and cut these babies down into small sections that fit into a drawer. Make sure the open end is facing up. Line side-by-side in a cabinet or drawer and insert paper towel rolls, cleaning products, toilet paper, etc.

If you haven’t filled the whole drawer up, you may want to use some of that Velcro to attach each piece to the drawer. Another option would be to hang in a cabinet.

Food Storage

Prodyne Under Cabinet Veggie Hammock, One Size
  • Solid 14-inch hardwood rod conveniently mounts under kitchen cabinet
  • Open weave net gently supports fruit, resists crushing and reduces bruising and soft spots
  • Complete air circulation allows fruit to breathe and encourages better ripening and less spoiling
  • High capacity net hand washes easily with mild soap
  • Includes 2 brass plated hooks and extender rope for higher cabinets

Recommended: Under-Cabinet Fruit and Veggie Hammock (Check price on Amazon)

Mount this super cool hammock from the ceiling, or even under a cabinet, to hold fruit, bread and other small items. This would also work in a closet for things like toilet paper, extra sunscreen and what-not.

My Favorite Storage Idea: Ziploc Bags

Ziploc Freezer Bags - 1 qt - 19 ct
  • Freeze Guard Seal is an extra thick layer of plastic around the seal
  • Lock freshness in
  • Freeze meats, fish, vegetables or anything else

Recommended: Ziploc Freezer Quart Bags (Check price on Amazon)

What’s the one storage item I can’t live without? I can’t say enough about those simple little re-closeable sandwich bags. Well, I probably could, but I won’t. I love them that much. In addition to your PB&J, they keep phones, iPods, seashells, jewelry and all sorts of other items safe, secure and drip-free.

I recommend the kind designed for the freezer, as they’re made out of a heavier plastic. I also use them for individual portion snack bags, which I’ve found is an excellent way to keep crackers off the deck of the boat.

Hopefully, you’ve found a few boat storage ideas for your own boat.