How to Sell a Boat

by Contributor

Selling a boat can seem like a fairly complicated undertaking, and it is just as complex (or as easy) as selling a car. There are a number of routes you can take to sell your boat, but there are certain commonalities to each of these.

Decide if you want to sell your boat independently or through a broker or dealer. There are pros and cons to each approach. If you decide to sell it through a dealer, in many cases, all you will have to do is get the paperwork together, provide the boat and some information, and the professional will find the market. Selling it yourself will save you money, but it may end up being a hassle.

If you decide to sell it yourself, the Internet is probably your best bet, although you can also take out a listing in your local paper. There are also local boating trade magazines (similar to car magazines) that you can find in spots like gas stations and marina offices, or in areas where boating has a large following. Pick one up for contact and listing information. Boat Trader is the largest and most well known.

List your boat on any one of dozens of Web sites. Some sites will allow you to list your boat for free, while others will charge you to list. Most boat specific Web sites will charge you to list. Consider listing on local classified sites if you want to list for free.

Make your listing as detailed as possible. Take and post lots of pictures. Determine the sale price by looking around at different sites to get an idea of what your boat is worth.

Answer interested parties as quickly as possible. While this may take up a lot of time (you may get one truly interested party for every 10 or 20 phone calls or emails), but when you get the right person contacting you, your prompt response will go a long way to completing the deal.

When you sell the boat, be certain everything is legal. This is when a broker and a dealer is worth the expense. You will need to have everything notarized, take care of the financial transfer (don't accept a check from strangers without verifying it). Have your title in hand.


  • check Get your boat in great shape before you take pictures and sell it.
  • check Spend time examining various Web sites before you commit to one.
  • check It never hurts to mention to your harbor master that your boat is for sale.

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