How to Sell Your Boat

How to Sell Your Boat?

Whether you are looking quick cash or just move on, there are many different options to choose from!

  • Pricing
  • Exposure
  • Sales Method
  • Wholesale

Whether you are looking to put some cash in your pocket, want to upgrade or downsize your boat, or just move on from boating altogether- there are a plethora of options when it comes to selling your boat. Due to the nature of boats being a large investment that is typically kept for a significant stretch of time, it can take months to find the right buyer for your boat. By digging into some different options laid out below you can improve the timeframe and direction of your sale. 

Pricing is Key

A price too high will scare off potential buyers, a price too low will indicate unseen issues. To avoid these mishaps there are some easy steps you can take to be sure you are listing at the right price.First, you should check out some popular listing sites like Yachtworld and Boat Trader for boats that are comparable to yours. Keep in mind features, accessories, hours, and overall condition play a huge role in properly pricing your vessel. Second, you should contact some brokers that have a boat listed that is similar to yours and ask them some questions about what is keeping the boat from selling. Questions asking what they think your boat is worth, what it would take to get their listed boat to sell, and anything else eluding to an easier sale of the boat. Checking out the value on NADA and BUC can never hurt, but keep in mind that these estimates often do not line up with the actual market value of a boat. After collecting this information you must figure what it will cost to hold onto your boat for a few months. Once determining this it is time to list your boat to sell by putting it towards the bottom of the pack as far as the price is concerned. This will encourage potential buyers to contact you and offer far more opportunity to unload your boat.

Preparing Your Boat to Sell

Having your boat properly prepared to sell will not only improve the speed in which it sells but also commands a higher price due to the utility it offers to the purchasing party. General cleanliness of your boat can play a major role in the attention it gets. By cleaning off dirt, stains, and debris before photographing and showing your boat your chances of selling increase as well as the price your boat will command due to buyers knowing it cleans up well. Going above and beyond this by either compounding and waxing your boat or hiring a detailer will provide the same type of results but on a higher level. Taking your personal belongings off of your boat is a small task, but one that can largely influence the sale of your boat. This is not to say that you cannot use your boat while in the sales process, but it’s a good idea to remove personal belongings before photographing or showing your boat. Possessing a wealth of knowledge about your boat will ensure buyer confidence. This is not to say you must be as knowledgeable as a professional, but the ability to describe the state of different systems on the boat such as propulsion, electronics, and any work that has been done. Consider having a survey done. If the buyer is going to be unable to see your boat before buying, then having a survey to present to serious buyers will be a major selling point- plus it can inform you of any problems you should fix that you were unaware of.

Exposing Your Boat to Potential Buyers (for those selling their own boat)

This requires more than just posting pictures of your boat on the facebook marketplace. While Facebook marketplace is a great place to post your boat, it also should be posted on craigslist along with other boating forums that have members/viewers who may be interested in your boat. In addition to an internet presence, placing your boat in a highly trafficked area can cause many people to show interest in the boat. This means placing your boat near a major roadway or popular destination. 

Choosing Your Sales Method

The first option is to sell it yourself. By selling your boat yourself you are sure to spend more time and energy attempting to make the sale. However, this method offers the greatest chance of getting the full value of your boat into your pocket- though it will be much more difficult to find the right buyer. Additionally, the ability or connection to handle financing, surveys, repairs, sea trials, accept trades, and final paperwork is important and not everyone has the time or ability to do these tasks. With this being said, if you are up for a challenge and potentially waiting longer to make a sale, selling your boat on your own may be the right choice for you. The second options is to hiring a dealer or broker. Hiring a dealer or broker to sell your boat is a popular option especially with larger vessels. In this method you hire someone to advertise and sell your boat for you, and pay them based on commission (typically 10%) to compensate for their time and effort. However, the market is flooded with many different options so it is important to do your research and ask questions before making a selection. This thoroughness ensures that your boat is in the right hands to sell for the most money in the shortest time. There are many ways to narrow your search down but some that seem to work particularly well are:

Ask one of your boating and fishing buddies. Look to a forum such as The Hull Truth. Ask prospective sellers about their experience marketing used boats. Inquire about the company’s location and how it will work to your advantage. Have the seller in mind do pricing research and then discuss how it was performed and its relevance. Make sure these prospective sellers will take a trade-in on your boat- if not that will drive away many buyers who have a boat now they would need to sell in order to buy the new one. Ensure this company or individual has time and energy to focus on your boat rather than just posting it and waiting for a buyer to come to them. Decide on a particular person you think would be a good fit for you and your vessel at the dealership or brokerage you choose- the right individual can make all the difference.


If you are ready to sell your boat and move on quicker than the other methods, which can take months- then wholesale might be the choice for you. In this option, a company will pay cash for your boat after inspecting the vessel. This can be done with boats and yachts of any size. The only foreseeable problem here is that the wholesaler must pay under market value in order to make it worth their while. However, once accounting for the brokerage fees and cost of ownership for several months, wholesale can result in about the same amount of money going into your pocket, but in a much more timely manner. The key to selling your boat to a wholesaler is to do your research and find a reputable and ethical company. A company like this will not be trying to take advantage of you, but rather make the deal worthwhile for both parties, sellers, and buyers.

To conclude, there is no “right” way to sell your boat but there are advantages and disadvantages to each method which have been explained to you in order to help you with selling your current boat. If you have any questions or concerns feel free to reach out to us!

Have any question for us?

Don’t hesitate to contact us and get your questions answered.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I sell my boat quickly?

You can call us or use our online form. Our local We Buy Boats representative will set up an appointment to meet you and see your boat. Often on smaller boats, you’ll receive a cash offer on the spot, sight unseen and we can close as quick as one week.

What type of boats do you buy?

We buy cruisers, powerboats, bowriders, center consoles, sport fish, bay boats, performance, ski, wakeboard and rigid inflatables. We accept powerboats that are valued at $50,000 to $5MM and years 2000 and up. We do not buy Sailboats or any other non power boats.

How long is the offer good for?

Our price is good for 7 days, with no pressure to sell.

How does the boat buying process work?

We follow a quick and simple process that makes selling easy! First, we need a little information about your boat. You can give us that information by calling our number or filling out one of our contact forms on the website. Next, receive a quick CASH offer. Our We Buy Boats representative will contact you to arrange a time for a local representative to visit the boat. If the condition of the boat checks out you’ll will receive a cash offer for your boat. You are under no obligation to accept our cash offer. Lastly, if you do want to move forward we’ll set up a closing time that works for you, so you can get your cash and move on as quickly as possible. Learn More

Will We Buy Boats come pick up my boat?

Yes. You can sell your boat entirely online and have it safely picked up contact-free anywhere in the North Atlantic or Pacific Ocean.

When do I get paid for my boat?

Once the boat checks out and our purchase and sales agreement has been signed we can wire you the money or send you a check via mail with the tracking information.

What if there is lien on my boat?

If you have a lien/mortgage on your vessel/trailer, provide us with your bank's information using our Payoff Verification form so we can pay off the vessel(s) and the title will be sent to us after payment. We will then disburse the remaining funds to you after closing (if any).

How it works

See what we specialize in and how we do it

Why Wholesale?

Wholesaling is the fastest way to receive quick cash for your boat. Why wait? Eliminate the costs and the headaches now!

Boat Wholesale Process

We want to make the wholesaling process as seamless as possible.