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Making Financial Sense of Selling Your Boat

If you’re thinking about putting your boat up for sale, there are plenty of things to be worried about. The time it takes to sell your boat, the cost of advertising your boat, negotiating with buyers, and worrying if you’re getting the most value out of your boat – among many other factors. We’ll cover a few of the most time consuming and overlooked aspects of selling a boat that can lead you onto money and time savings.

Getting Help

One of the first and most important parts of selling your boat that you should determine is whether you should hire a broker to help sell your boat, or if you should sell it on your own. A broker will. All of this depends on the estimated value of your boat, and how quickly you want to sell the boat. A broker will likely be able to get your boat in front of more eyeballs and sell it in a short period of time. You also get the peace of mind that you aren’t making a big mistake on the selling price of your boat, and that you won’t be facing any liabilities down the road. Finally, most boat buyers shop on the weekends, which would require you to keep the boat in selling condition at all times and be ready to meet with potential buyers on the weekend.

On the flip side, hiring a broker brings a middle man into the deal, and he or she won’t be doing it for free. There are a variety of different types of agreements that can be made with brokers, but the majority set a bottom price on the boat where no commissions will be made, and then every dollar above that amount earns the broker money.


If you hire a broker, they will likely be able to handle all the advertising for you. However if you’re selling on your own, you’ll want to do a bit of homework on the best ways to go about selling your particular boat. If you have a widely manufactured boat, such as a Manitou, you can often rely on posting the listing on bulletins around marinas and boat launching sites, or posting ads on free websites like Craigslist. You’ll typically find enough buyers that will be interested in your boat, and you will spend very little time and money advertising your boat.

For boat owners with specific boat types and models, such as wooden boats, it’s better to find niche boating forums and communities to help advertise your boat. You may also want to consider signing up for a paid listing service to help accelerate the process. Whenever you post listings online, be sure to include plenty of photos and a lengthy description of your boat’s history and its current condition.

Making Repairs

Having a boat in need of repairs not only brings down the selling price of the boat, it deters many buyers from even making an offer. Many buyers are already nervous about buying a boat that is used, and won’t consider a boat that may have hidden issues that have not been fixed. While an inspector is often hired to find these issues, it’s a good idea for you to take care of them before the inspector finds them, and to provide proof that you took necessary steps for fixing up the boat – along with the cost of fixing up the boat.

Keeping It Clean

Just like selling a home, keeping your boat clean makes a huge difference when trying to sell it. First impressions are extremely important when selling anything, and you want a buyer to find your boat clean and in great visual condition when seeing your boat for the first time. For a few bucks, you can go to your local marina and buy some boat polish. Wash and vacuum your boat up, and apply a coating of boat polish to make your used boat look like a new one.

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Mike Hall
Mike Hall
Mike Hall enjoys providing financial information and advice to anyone interested in buying, selling, or promoting watercraft. Mike works with Manitou Pontoon Boats, a leading manufacturer of luxury and performance pontoons.
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