Best Step by Step guide to selling your Boat (How to sell a used boat)

If you’re reading this article, we’ve got a reasonably good idea of what you’ll be handling immediately. As boat owners, we all love our boats but sometimes it is time to “abandon ship”. Whether you’re buying a replacement boat and must first sell your old boat, or simply able to cash in on your investment, please take this opportunity to do it right. This boat selling process doesn’t need to be painful. This comprehensive for-sale-by-owner (FSBO) boat selling guide is meant to supply Boat-Alert customers and visitors with information and hopefully assist you with all the steps. Let’s take a deeper dive into each step.


  1. Prepare your boat for sale (de-clutter and clean it)
  2. Take on-the-water photos and videos (avoid on-trailer-images)
  3. Set your price according to your market research and boat value calculator .
  4. Get a boat survey done or obtain a boat history lookup.
  5. Advertise your boat to your audience (list it on classifieds websites)
  6. Show your boat in-person or via virtual boat tours (offer an optional sea trial if possible)
  7. Sell your boat with a bill of sale, title and documentation
  8. Get help from a ship dealer or yacht broker (optional; has fees)
  9. Sell the used boat on a trailer
Best step by step guide to selling your boat (how to sell a used boat) from

“Sell my boat” are three words no boat owner likes to mention. But they are often necessary, once you want to mention “buying a replacement boat.”

    1. Once you’ve decided to sell your boat, you’ll definitely need to do some preparation because there could be quirks and mechanical issues that you’ve lived with for many years and got so accustomed to that you don’t notice anymore. These familiar issues could chase away interested buyers if they are picky. That rattle within the genset, the hatch that sticks on one side, and therefore the door secured open with a bungee could seem fine to you, but you’ll bet that they’ll make your boat significantly less attractive to everyone else. Get these things fixed, before you show the boat to any potential buyers.
    2. Clutter is another way to lower your chances of a quick sale. You may feel the throw-pillows, potted plants, and nautical sculptures make your cabin feel “homey,” but to a buyer, things like this just make the cabin appear smaller. On runabouts and center consoles, also look out for clutter in stowage compartments. Yes, it’ll hurt to tug the water skis and tow-toys out of that box up the only , but removing as many items as possible is the right move. Just leave the basic required safety items in place, and if any of the other gear is being included in the sale, show it to the buyer separately.

Clean the yacht cabin before showing to buyers:

A very clean and uncluttered Boat cabin will simply look bigger.
Plain old dirt also will lower any provide you with might receive. Just ask any car salesman how important it is to make sure that everything is clean and glossy when a buyer comes along. And remember, boats are bought with emotion, not reason and logic. It has to look sharp.

Infographic: Boat selling guide
Infographic: Boat selling guide
Boat Alert History Report · Best Step by step guide to selling your Boat

So before listing your boat, get some elbow grease going and clean the boat. Give your boat the shine of its life—you’ll find yourself selling it faster and for a better price.

Boat Photos before listing a boat for sale

Once you’ve got your boat in tip-top shape, it is time to take some on-the-water photos and videos. If you must take a photo in the city, make sure it is in a nice area with nice houses behind it. backdrop is everything. Remember that the primary impression is that the most vital. Avoid photos of the boat while it is placed on a trailer behind your shed and bad lighting or cluttered backgrounds. Listings with videos tend to sell better than those without, so if you’ll shoot some video it’s worthwhile.

  • Include a smart phone video of your boat

Shooting a vessel video together with your smartphone will speed up the sale. A boat listed with a video sells ~20% faster than one listed without. The same applies to listings with a Boat-Alert History Check link in the posting.

choose the right price for your boat for sale

Place a For-Sale sign on your boat requires that you know the market value. Prior to making any big decisions, read up on the best ways to Price your Boat. has a boat value calculator that you can use as a starting point. Finally, decide if you ought to have a survey done. Although this is often commonly considered the buyer’s responsibility if you’ve got one done before time it can speed up the time to selling the boat and help uncover any common issues that are you would be better of addressing ahead of time.


Think about the places you usually shop for a used boat. Consider some of the bigger websites like craigslist, and boat-trader.

Selling your Boat - Step by Step
Selling your Boat – Step by Step and taking photos

Hopefully, the advertisements will generate many calls and emails inquiring about your boat. Now, it is time to start showing it to potential buyers. This could involve anything from virtual tours via video chats to arranging in-person sea trials. You need to be prepared to answer questions on the model, condition and key features. Brush up on the add-ons you’ve installed over the years. Again, there are bound to be tons of questions, so have your sales talk down. We have written another article on selling privately with 20 tips and tricks to 20 Ways to Sell your boat faster on Craigslist

You should expect many not-so-serious buyers to waste your time but think of it as practice. Beware of people that will claim to be a buyer just to go for a boat ride and beware of common scams on Craigslist involving fake checks or upfront payments.


Time to check that the paperwork is in order and that the maintenance records and invoices can be provided as proof that you took good care of the boat.

And remember, if you are feeling overwhelmed with private selling, reach out to a knowledgeable boat broker for help in selling the boat

You can download the PDF article here

Or if you prefer a power point presentation:

Categories: To learn more about History Reports for used boats and boat id lookup visit:

Boat Alert History Reports© exists to aggregate boat databases so that shoppers can search and buy a used boat safely while saving time and money researching a used boat's history. We began in 2015 and constantly adding more boat hull identification data for USA and Canada to ensure that your boat has a clean history. We are happy to offer a 60-day money back guarantee and proud to have served more than 15,000 customers with their boat HIN Search History needs. free boat hull number lookup ©. Two percent of all proceeds go to charity. We value fair treatment of employees, customer satisfaction, having the most databases possible, and fast customer service at the core of our brand. View our LinkTree.

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