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Selling Your Boat

There are a variety of reasons why you might decide to sell your boat, but the most exciting is because you are upgrading. There’s something amazing and wonderful about being out on the water and enjoying the fresh air and sun. Having the right boat for all of your needs can make the trip that much better. Thus, if you find that you are ready to get rid of your old boat, there are some ways to accomplish that task.

How Much Is Your Boat Worth

The first step in the selling process is determining how much your boat is worth. When researching this price, remember that sentimental value doesn’t play a part in what you’re asking. You no doubt have some great memories about times spent on that boat, and that could make you believe that it’s worth more. However, buyers aren’t going to see those memories or know how much fun you had. They are only going to see the boat as a commodity.

There are many places available that can help you determine how much your boat is worth, including sites online. Here is a great boat pricing tool from Boat Trader that I use all the time. Another great resource for getting a real-world value for your boat is

You can also do some research on other boats for sale that are similar to yours and see how much those sellers are asking. You may even consider talking to a boat dealer to find out how much they would sell it for.

Looking at these various places will give you an idea of what the market is for your boat. Other things you’ll have to take into consideration include how old it is, the shape it’s in, and what you think is a fair price. You can go above or below the average prices you find during your research. At the end of the day, as the boat’s owner, you have the ability to ask whatever you want for your property. Of course, you’ll need to keep in mind that you may not get that, so being flexible will be in your best interest.

Have All the Necessary PaperworkHave your paperwork ready

Whether you sell your boat to a dealership or to an individual, you will need to make sure you have the necessary paperwork. This will include the title, registration, bill of sale, use logs, and HIN. Some other items you might consider including are the maintenance records. This will let potential buyers know that you took care of the boat and kept up on its service.

Having all of this handy will ensure that the sale goes quickly. You don’t want to make the buyers wait while you gather this information. It could give them enough time to change their minds. Besides, you don’t want to have to deal with the hassle, so have everything ready before you put your boat up for sale.

Get Your Boat Ready

Clean your boat to help sell it faster
Clean your boat to help sell it faster

Getting your boat ready for sale means making it look good. Remove any personal items so that potential buyers have the ability to see themselves in the vessel. Take your time cleaning out the inside of the boat and making the outside sparkle. If there are any repairs that you want to do, now is the time to take care of these.

Of course, you don’t have to make repairs if you don’t want to. Some people like to make repairs on their own, so they will look for good deals on boats that they can fix. If you decide to sell your boat as-is, keep in mind that this could impact whether or not someone wants to buy it. You may also be required by law to divulge any problems that the boat might have. Before putting your boat up for sale, check your local laws to see what is required when it comes to boat issues.

Once you have cleaned your boat, you might consider adding some wax and polish. You want to make sure everything shines. The better your boat looks, the better your chances of attracting a buyer. This is also a good time to take pictures if you plan on selling the boat yourself.

Taking Pictures of Your Boat

When it comes to taking photos of your boat, you want to make sure it looks as good as it possibly can. For many people, this will be the first impression they get of the vessel, so make it enticing. You can take these photos yourself, and if you have an up-to-date mobile phone, the camera should be just what you need to take high-quality pictures.

Take photos of the outside of the boat from a variety of different angles so buyers can see it from every side. Make sure to get an overview of the interior, as well as closeup shots of the controls, engine, and anything else you think a buyer might want to see. The more pictures you can take, the better. This will give buyers the ability to see every aspect of the boat and help them decide if they want to take a closer look or not.

Boat Photograph - Dull Hydra Sport - Hero Shot
Does this photo inspire you to buy a boat? The Hero Shot: Try to take a photo that shows the entire boat in action.

If you are planning on placing your boat for sale online, you might also consider taking a video of it. Many platforms now support this medium, and it can be a great way to entice people to buy your boat. You can do a walk around and take them on a tour. You can also show the boat on the water, which makes it look better than being on a trailer in your driveway.

Learn how to sell your boat for the highest price from the experts at

Sell Your Boat at the Right Time

There are times of the year when you will be more successful selling your boat, and this is often when people are thinking about boating. Thus, putting your boat up for sale in the spring or summer will give you the best chances of finding a buyer.

Some other things you’ll need to consider when selling your boat is the economy and fuel prices. If people are getting laid off from their jobs and having to move to a different city, you probably won’t have a lot of luck in selling your boat. These are often viewed as luxury items, and if someone is worried about paying their bills, they won’t be open to buying a boat.

Fuel prices also play a big role in the best time to sell your boat. Not only does the boat take fuel, but the vehicle to move it from one place to another does as well. If fuel prices are incredibly high, most people won’t be willing to buy something that could end up costing them a lot in the long run.

Keeping an eye on all of these factors will ensure that you find the best time to sell your boat so that you can be successful in your endeavor.

Best Places to Sell Your Boat

When it comes to selling your used boat, you have several options. You can use it as a trade-in for your new boat, having it function as a down payment, or you can sell it yourself. There are pros and cons to both processes, so the decision will come down to personal preference.

Selling Your Boat to a DealerSell your boat to Dealership

If you decide to sell it through a dealer, you may find that they won’t give you as much for the boat as you were hoping for. Often, this is because they have to keep their overhead costs in mind, as well as consider how much they think they can get for it when they sell it. They are in the business to make a profit, so they will be fair, but they will also make sure they make money on the deal.

One of the good things about selling it to a dealer is that you can get rid of it quickly. You won’t have to answer questions about your boat or wait for a buyer to come along. There will be less hassle if you decide to go this route.

Selling Your Boat on Your Own

If you decide you want to get as much money as possible out of your boat, then you have the option of selling it on your own. Again, you will need to remember that you can ask whatever you want for your boat, but that may not be what you get. Being flexible in the price can be beneficial. You can also decide that you don’t want to go below a certain amount, and that’s certainly within your rights.

To let people know that you have a boat for sale, there are several ways you can advertise.There are several online options for selling your boat.

  1. Boat Trader:  This website bills itself as the largest marketplace for selling used boats. The way it works is you buy a classified listing and potential buyers find your boat by using their search feature. The cost of a classified varies from $59 for a 2 week listing with two photos to $199 for a 12 week listing with unlimited photos.
  2. iNautia: This is another great place to sell your boat. One unique feature of this website is their international popularity which attracts potential buyers from Europe. If you’re willing to sell to someone outside the US, this can help you get more money for your boat.
  3. Craigslist: Craigslist is a free online forum where you can sell virtually anything, including boats. You list your boat in the geographic region where you live, and prospective buyers searching for a boat like yours will contact you.  As with any online forum, use caution when responding to inquiries and don’t allow anyone to come to your house to see your boat.
  4. Instagram: For a small fee, you can hire an Instagram influencer to hawk your boat to their followers. Some influencers have over 100,000 followers – that’s a lot of eyeballs looking at your boat!

You can post online on sites such as Craigslist or other selling sites. You can also put an ad in boat magazines or your local newspaper. There is also the option of putting a sign on your boat and parking it in a place where people can see it. If you’re so inclined, you can do all of these things.

If you are selling the boat on your own, make sure to include your phone number so interested parties can call if they have questions or are interested in your used boat. You may also decide to post the price and the year. Try to keep the ad short and sweet. If it’s too long, people may ignore it and move on. Giving them the facts and adding some photos should be enough to spark people’s interest.

Some Additional Advice

While selling your boat on your own can ensure that you get as much out of it as possible, it also comes with a lot of considerations. You will be responsible for paying for any fees that come with advertising your boat. The more places you put the ad, the more chances you will have of attracting a buyer. However, that endeavor can also get expensive. You’ll need to consider how much you are willing to spend to sell your boat.

You’ll also need to keep in mind that when selling on your own, it could take a while before you find the right buyer. This could mean days, weeks, or even months. If you can hang onto the boat for that long, then this route may be worth taking.

When you sell your boat on your own, you’ll also need to take any calls and answer any questions that potential buyers might have. This could mean getting random phone calls throughout the day and answering the same questions over and over. You will also have to make time to show the boat to potential buyers. This means taking time out of your day for people to go over every inch of the vessel.

Should a buyer decide that they want the boat, you will be responsible for taking the payment and getting the paperwork taken care of. When it comes to payment, you get to decide how you want it. If you’re only willing to take cash, make sure the buyer knows this ahead of time. If you are willing to take checks, including cashier’s checks or personal checks, you’ll have to be cautious.

Cashier’s checks can be forged, which means that when you try to cash it, you won’t get your money. People can put stop payments on their personal checks. Thus, if you decide to take these as payment, it’s in your best interest not to turn over the title for the boat until the check clears. Not everyone in the world is underhanded and sneaky, but there are a few who are. Don’t lose your boat and not get your money. Protect yourself and your belongings.

Good Luck Selling Your Boat!Conclusion - Sold

No matter what reason you have for getting rid of your used boat, it’s a good one. There are many things you have to do to get your boat ready for sale, but its worth the time and effort to ensure you are getting what the boat is worth. There are both pros and cons to selling to a dealer or to an individual, and you have to decide which one works best for you.

John Allen

With more than a decade of experience cruising the lakes in my Crestliner Grand Cayman pontoon boat and my Boston Whaler, I now want to share everything I've learned with my community here at Boating Hub.