Making Financial Sense Of Selling A Boat

Making Financial Sense Of Selling A Boat

Selling a boat isn’t easy. You have to worry about advertising, potential buyers, inspections and more. While some of those challenges are hard to avoid, we can help out by arming you with information before you decide to sell your boat.

Once you decide that it is finally time to let things go and sell your boat, you want the whole process to be as simple and painless as possible. There are a number of factors that can make selling a boat challenging, including potential buyers, selling price, logistical issues, and transfers of ownership. While some things simply can’t be avoided, making yourself aware and knowledgeable of the difficulties in selling a boat may help to alleviate concerns or roadblocks in the future. Follow our simple steps to make your boat transaction as easy and as painless as possible.

Sell at the Best Possible Condition

Even before you put your boat on the market, make sure that you put your boat in the best possible condition to be sold. No buyers want to take a look at your boat if it has a host of problems, or even one or two. If they find that the carpet is deteriorating, or the engine hasn’t been professionally serviced in two years, they might start wondering what other problems they would uncover once they bought your boat.

If there are problems with your boat that you can’t fix, or are simply too expensive to fix, list your boat at an appropriate price. Be completely up front with potential buyers from the start so they know exactly what they are looking at, and so they do not have to do any detective work to find the problem themselves.


For smaller boats, doing all of the advertising yourself is typically most cost effective. You want to keep advertising costs down, as the selling price of your boat is likely going to be on the lower side of the spectrum. To do that, spend some time listing your boat in cost effective ways. You can list it in your local newspaper or magazine, or post it online to sites like Craigslist or other free or relatively inexpensive boat forums. For larger boats, where the selling price can fluctuate in the thousands, it might be better to employ a broker to get you the best price possible. Much like a real estate agent, they can connect with a broader range of buyers, and will take a commission for their work.

Choosing a Broker

When deciding on a broker, make sure they have the ability to showcase your boat on a moment’s notice when a prospective buyer sees it and is interested in buying. That means that you should look local first when picking a broker, and should ask around to see if anyone you know would recommend someone in the local area. They should also be able to show that they have the resources that you don’t have to connect with buyers, and that they are knowledgeable about your specific boat, and related models of your boat. Having a history of selling similar boats, or having a current inventory of boats like yours on the market is always a bonus.

We’ve stated it already, but it’s particularly important. On the day someone comes to look at your boat, make sure you have everything out in the open and aren’t trying to hide any flaws. They will be discovered when the boat is surveyed by a professional, which will have a strong negative impact on the price, as the buyer will be much more nervous to make the deal. Best of luck, and happy boating!

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Mike Hall is an avid boater and enjoys providing boating advice and tips to the boating community. Mike works with Manitou Pontoon Boats, a leading manufacturer of high quality performance and luxury pontoon boats.