How to Sell Your Boat – 9 Necessary Tips

At Sell My Car Colorado, we are experts at… Well… Selling cars. We have even published articles with tips about selling RVs, too. But what about boats? If selling a used car is hard enough, selling a boat must be borderline impossible. Fortunately, this is incorrect. Knowing how to sell your boat is just as simple as any other business transaction.

Henceforth, with the right tips and effort, selling your boat can be as easy as selling water to a fish! Well, actually. Don’t quote us on that.

1. Know Your Value Before You Sell Your Boat

Yes, we have said this multiple times. Knowing the value of the item you’re selling before selling it is crucial. Wordiness aside, know your worth. Entering a negotiation without knowing the baseline of profit is inexcusable. Not only do you look unprofessional as a seller, but you are liable to get ripped off, or even worse, no offers at all.

Know what the exact value of your personal boat or watercraft is. You can use sites like to give you a rough estimate of worth. Also, keep an eye on similar boats on marketplaces like Facebook and Craigslist. Get an idea of the market in your area. How much are comparable boats going for?

Who knew you’d become a market analyst, huh? But a little bit of effort will go a long way. If you want the best price for your used boat, you’ve got to dig a little into sales figures.

2. Know When to Sell

Believe it or not, there is a season for boat selling.

No one is attempting to scratch their boat itch in the winter. What good would come from buying a boat and keeping it in a garage? It’s just overall sales tactics. Don’t sell iced tea to a snowboarder (that’s my last awful analogy, I promise).

Best Boat Report has noted that the best time to sell your boat is between February and June. In fact, statistics show that you can expect three times the amount when selling a boat in the summer. The heat is on and people are dying to get on the water.

Secondly, remember your location. You are more likely to sell your boat in a place that’s surrounded by water (duh). If your boat is not selling in the heart of Nebraska, then you may need to stretch your selling radius. Weather and location are the most important factors in selling your water vehicle. Simply put, supply and demand.

3. Prepare Your Boat for Sale

Time to put in some elbow grease.

Look, no one wants to buy a dirty boat. Secondly, no one wants to make an investment with someone unwilling to clean the item for sale. Get it?

Clean the interior and exterior of your vehicle well. Sanitize all surfaces and make sure everything is as sparkling as possible. Sure, your vehicle is used, so there may be minor bumps and scrapes. This is inevitable, and no used buyer is looking for flawlessness. But, if some cosmetic issues are fixable, put the work in buffing them out. A great-looking boat is more likely to sell.

If there are mechanical problems that are worth fixing, repair them. An easy way to go about sunk cost fallacy is to calculate the amount it would cost to fix and subtract it from the amount you’re selling it for. If you deem a repair not worth it, pay close attention to the next tip.

Thirdly, make sure you have all of your paperwork in line. Have service records, titles and registration available (if applicable). This will make the process smooth. No one wants to be fumbling through junk drawers for paperwork.

All in all, selling a boat is not the same as a car. The market will always be less dire. While you may be able to overlook some issues with a used car and still find a suitor, the boat market is tougher. Your best bet is to make sure the boat is in the best condition possible.

4. Be Honest With Buyers About the Condition

As stated, the used boat market is a bit less competitive than that of cars. With that being said, being honest is the key to receiving the best possible deal.

If there are issues with your boat that you do not plan on fixing, be sure to mark them accordingly on your listing. Let potential buyers know about issues upfront. You do not want to be the person to rip someone off. Not only is it morally wrong, but it may also come back to bite you legally.

Overall, do not harbor an over-inflated worth on your boat. Sure, it may be sentimental to you, but not to the market. Keep a humble and keen eye on the sales of other boats in your area. Set a bottom-line that you are comfortable with making on your sale, and stick to it. If there are problems, make sure to temper your expectations correctly. Basically, be honest with buyers and honest with yourself.

This goes the other way, too. If you have done positive modifications on the boat, make sure to mention them. They may be able to increase the asking price. Don’t be too greedy, though. Remember that you are about to enter a negotiation. The chances of you making your top price may not be as high as you think. It takes two to tango, after all.

5. Take Great Pictures

So you’ve shined your boat up. You’ve put in the sweat and tears and now it is glistening in the sun. Here comes the fun part.

If you are listing your boat on a private selling website, remember that you are trying to convince people to buy it. You have to catch their eye. Sure, you do not have to be a photographer, but you should take great pictures. Make sure the location of the pictures is aesthetically pleasing.
The boat should be the main focus. There should not be any surrounding imagery that may give away your home’s location, either.

Avoid direct sunlight. Too much light can make your boat’s paint look harsh, even if it is not. Take pictures after it has been detailed and when the sun is right. If there are problems with the boat, make sure to show them. As we said, honesty is key.

Also, take pictures of the boat on the water, if possible. Not only does this look fantastic, but it shows that the boat actually functions.

6. How to Sell Your Boat and Avoid Fraud

Unfortunately, there are bad people in the world. Selling something privately can create the easiest path for someone to scam you. There are a few things to keep in mind when you’re selling your boat online.

  • Do not take personal checks. You never know if it is going to bounce. Cashier’s checks and money orders are okay but never accept a personal check. This is the quickest way to get ripped off.
  • Be wary of buyers in general. When receiving messages from potential customers, keep an eye out for any weird feelings. Trust your gut. There is someone out there that wants to buy your boat with honesty. If you feel a potential buyer is seedy, just ignore them.
  • Without a doubt, meet in a public place. This speaks for itself.
  • Avoid giving out as much personal information as possible. All the buyer will need from you is the vehicle itself. You should never have to give out any more information than that, especially not bank account information for payment.

7. How to Get Paid?

The easiest and most trustworthy way to get paid is outright cash. Unfortunately, this may not always be possible. Money sending apps like Venmo and Cash App are reliable, as well. They will not transfer the money unless the transaction goes through.

If a buyer wants to pay in a cashier’s check or money order, make sure they are legitimate. Be direct with the buyer on how you want to be paid. It may sound harsh, but being stern is better than being ripped off completely.

8. Think About Trading in to Dealerships

If the idea of going through a private sale seems exhausting, you can always trade your boat into a certified dealership. Let’s be honest; selling a boat privately can be a hassle. You have to respond to emails, meet with potential buyers and take test drives. Sometimes money isn’t the issue, you just want to get rid of the vehicle.

If you are planning on buying a new boat after selling your current one, trading in to a dealership may be your most efficient option. They will handle the sale paperwork for you and get you set up with a new boat. Sure, you may not make as much as you would selling it privately, but it will be easier.

9. Sell Your Boat With Us

Moreover, if you’re looking for a new alternative, consider selling your boat to a website like Sell My Car Colorado.

We will buy your boat for $100 more than the competition, regardless of its condition. We even buy junk vehicles, too. We will pick up the vehicle free of charge and give you cash in hand.

Skip all the nonsense. Sell your boat right from home.