Safer Glass Storage on Boats

This simple DIY project will help you safely store glass bottles on a sailboat.

With a few lengths of PVC pipe and some cushioning, you can keep glassware from breaking while underway.Carolyn Shearlock

Worried about having glass bottles on your boat? Quickly and easily create an upright wine rack from PVC pipe to safely store bottles of wine, liquor, olive oil, vinegar, olives, barbecue sauce, hot sauce and anything else that comes in glass. I use the same technique to create safe storage for glassware as well, including stemmed wineglasses.

For wine bottles and glasses, cut 4-inch PVC pipe to fit upright into a locker or storage bin. Use smaller or larger diameter pipe for other bottles, as necessary. The lengths of pipe do not have to come to the top of the locker, or even the top of the bottle, because the space between the necks of bottles can be used to store soft items such as bags of nuts, tea, coffee and drink mixes.

Either tightly fit the PVC into the locker or bin, or glue the pieces together with PVC glue so they won’t shift with the motion of the boat. When the glue is cured, put the bottles in tube socks and slide into the slots. You can use the gaps between the pieces of PVC for small bottles such as hot sauce. Short bottles and jars can be stacked on top of one another, with the socks acting as padding between them.

Once you have the supplies, this project takes about an hour, including fitting and cutting the PVC, gluing it, and putting the bottles in place. If you have one, a pull saw makes cutting the PVC much quicker than using a hacksaw. Absolutely no special skills are needed.

In over 11,000 miles of sometimes-boisterous sailing conditions, numerous squalls, and even two direct hits by hurricanes (admittedly in good hurricane holes), I’ve never had a glass bottle or wineglass break that was protected this way.