Drawer Units

Some boats lack enough storage to keep all your boating or fishing accessories safely stowed. Drawer unit storage boxes provide ample storage in areas that may have been previously unused. » Read More

Boat Drawer Units: Extra Storage & Organization

It seems like boats can never have enough storage. Whether you’re a fisherman packing enough gear to troll, deep drop, and kite fish in the same day, or a pleasure craft cruiser looking to entertain your guests on the sandbar, storage is always desired. Drawer storage boxes not only provide bulk dry storage but also provide an easy way to keep your storage organized and consolidated.

For example, one drawer can hold trolling lures, while another holds jigs, and the bottom holds weights. This is much better than a bulk storage box or bin that gets cluttered and leads to scrounging for gear through a console door. For the pleasure cruiser, these drawers can hold towels, masks, and even cell phones and personal belongings. 

Inset-Mount Storage and Drawer Units

Most drawer storage boxes are inset units, meaning they mount in a cutout made in a vertical surface, with most of the box hidden behind the mounting surface. They are suited for every vessel from an offshore center console to a pontoon boat. These storage boxes range from a single slide out drawer gloves box to a six drawer unit complete with a trash can. There are also specially designed units made to hold dog bowls for your four-legged friends.

Inset storage is a great way to capitalize on unused space. Any unused “dead space” can be used, provided it doesn’t impede access you may need to do basic maintenance. There are a few important measurements to consider when you’re looking at the feasibility of inset storage. Not only do these units need length and width, but they need depth as well to provide ample room for the drawers.

The Best Material for Boat Storage Boxes

The best material for marine drawer storage is King Starboard, which is a marine-grade high-density polyethylene (HDPE) sheet. It has been stabilized to withstand the harshest conditions and will not rust, rot or delaminate regardless of the conditions.

Starboard is used to fabricate the drawers themselves as well as the frame used to attach the drawer unit to the mounting surface. Starboard is available in 10 different whites, off whites, tans, browns, gray, and black to match or compliment the interior of virtually any recreational boat.

Marine Drawer Unit Mounting Considerations

Most inset storage boxes and drawer units are supplied with pre-drilled mounting holes. There are two primary mounting styles: face mounting for Starboard-framed units and inside mounting for aluminum-framed units. Inside mounting provides a cleaner look with no fastener heads visible, but is somewhat more involved than face mounting.

Inside mounting requires a mounting surface at least 3/4” thick unless modifications are made. Typically, this isn’t an issue on most cored fiberglass walls. If your mounting surface isn’t 3/4” or thicker, you will need to add material on the backside of your mounting surface. This can be done with any marine-grade material such as Starboard or marine-grade lumber. Some marine materials may not hold a screw as well as lumber or Starboard.

Before cutting a hole in your mounting surface, trace the outside shape of your storage part. This will allow you to picture it and confirm that it will fit. Then mark the required cutout, which will be smaller than outside dimensions. Before cutting, be sure that there is nothing behind the panel that you might cut through, whether it be wires, hoses, steering cables, or other important equipment.

Once the hole is cut out, set the storage unit in to test fit. It might require a bit of sanding for the perfect fit. Be sure to support the back end of any storage unit over 15 pounds, as the mounting lip may not be able to support the weight. Drill pilot holes through the existing holes in the unit’s frame and follow that with fasteners. Use appropriate-size fasteners. Although optional, it’s a good idea to run a bead of marine-grade sealer around the hole cutout before final installation; this will help keep your box secure and repel water. 

Freestanding Drawer Units and Storage Boxes

Although many drawer-based storage systems are designed to mount inside of a leaning post, console, or other vertical surface, some of them are designed to be freestanding. Typically, freestanding storage units are simply fastened through the box directly to the deck. If possible, through-bolting is desired, but screws can be used if needed. It’s important to seal any penetrations you make in your deck. Moisture seeping through the fasteners and into your coring can cause huge issues down the road with soft spots and delamination. 

The Pontoon Tackle Storage Unit with Ruler Countertop is a good example of a freestanding unit. It features 4 rod holders with bungees and can hold 3-3700 Plano tray tackle boxes and 4-3730 Plano tray tackle boxes. The open top has two tray divots that will keep your belongings from rolling off of the top in any sea state. The unit is 39.77” wide and 23.33” deep and 30” tall.

Another freestanding option is the Robalo Free Standing 3 Drawer Plano Tackle Tray Unit. It can contain 12 Plano tackle boxes and still has 3 drawers and an integrated tool holder. The unit is designed specifically for the Robalo 246 Cayman, but, because it is freestanding, it can be installed in many other boats too.

For engine room storage on larger boats, the Engine Room Free Standing Tool Chest provides storage for all of your tools and engine accessories. This unit could also be used on the deck.

Finally, remember that if you can’t find a storage unit that fits your exact needs, you can always have one custom-built. Simply specify your height, width, and depth, and Boat Outfitters can build to your specifications. Boat Outfitters also offers multiple color and locking options. 

Boat Storage Drawers can change your boat from a cluttered mess to a well-laid-out fishing and entertaining machine for years to come. 

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