What affects the Value of a Used Boat?

If you plan to sell your boat, you may wonder how much it’s worth. Pricing a used boat isn’t an exact science, and numerous factors can influence it.

We have covered boat value calculators in another article, so in this article, we answer the question, “what affects the value of a used boat?” in more depth so you can better understand your boat’s estimated worth.

We have been in the boating industry for many years and can therefore guide you in a way that will make it easy to determine the cash value of your vessel.

What Determines the Value of a Boat?

Boats can be worth more or less based on many factors affecting the demand for that model and year among others. What is a valuation appraisal? It is the process of estimating what something is worth and is used in the finance industry analysis often.

Let’s take a look at what they are:

Vessel Age and Engine Hours

Similar to used cars, the age of a boat will significantly affect its value. It makes sense that older boats will be more susceptible to damage, wear and tear, and potential issues and are, therefore, less desirable compared to newer boats.

Having said that, an older boat that hasn’t been used much, is maintained well and has fewer engine hours could be worth much more than a newer boat with more engine hours and is used heavily.


Another important factor that will affect the value of a used boat is its type. Larger vessels with more powerful engines and amenities generally fetch a higher price. On the other hand, sailboats and smaller boats are relatively worth less in the used boat market. Pontoons are desired in certain areas of the country.

Customized boats are usually worth more due to the money and effort spent manufacturing them. They can make a big difference in determining your boat’s final value.

Brand and Model 

Certain brands and particular models are more valued than others. Generally, popular or award-winning models are highly sought-after since they guarantee superior quality and greater dependability.

Accessories and Electronics 

A well-equipped boat with modern gear and facilities can positively influence its value in a buyer’s mind. Keep in mind that electronics & equipment become outdated quickly and might lose their value over time. In such a case, they may only please a few customers. However, advanced technological features like boat navigators, fishfinders, AIS radios, and autopilot controllers can quickly raise the price of a used boat.

Look up your boat specifications here.

Current Condition 

The current condition of a boat makes a world of difference when determining its market value. Listed below are three categories that play a pivotal role in a boat’s value:


This covers the engine’s hours, the deck and hull’s physical appearance, etc. If your engine is outdated or the hull requires repairs, the overall value of your boat will plummet even if the boat has other attractive features.


Rigging comprises the system of cables, ropes, and chains supporting a sailboat’s masts, helping transport heavy loads of material from one place to another. Is your boat configured for blue water or coastal boating, saltwater or fresh fishing, commercial purposes, general pleasure, or other boating activities in the United States? Did your marine specialist align the rigging process per the manufacturer’s instructions? These questions will help assess the correct value of a used boat.


This category includes all the cosmetic aspects of a boat, such as canvas, trim, the shine of the metalwork, gel coating, etc., and can increase its value to a certain degree. Normally saltwater boats can suffer from corrosion and chipped paint compared to freshwater boats. To avoid this problem, you must maintain the hull and other components to retain their aesthetic and market value.

Historical Background of the vessel

The historical background of a boat can give potential buyers important information about it. If a celebrity previously owned a boat, a statesman or someone notable will greatly increase its value. Similarly, if the vessel won any famous races or was used in a movie or important event, that would also directly affect its price.

On the other hand, if the boat has a questionable past (for example, if it was involved in an accident or pollution incident), that information could show up in a HIN lookup and significantly hurt its sale price.

Are boats appreciating in value? | Is a boat a poor investment?

Asset appreciation is rare. In general, boats do not increase in value. The majority of boats depreciate over time, but you can control the rate at which your boat depreciates by doing regular maintenance and using it responsibly.

That doesn’t necessarily mean that boats are a poor investment choice. If you do your homework right and invest in a boat you can afford, nothing compares to the joy of cruising the waters with your friends and family. Other reasons that make boats a good investment include:

  • Boats can be used to generate income
  • Discover new destinations
  • Make memories with loved ones
  • Learn new skills and indulge in a fulfilling hobby

What do boat surveyors look for?

The Three types of Boat Surveys

  1. Marine surveys, also referred to as Condition and Valuation surveys,  normally inspect the hull to check for water intrusion and soundness, electronics, running gear, plumbing, electrical system, heat and air conditioning, and all other components of the boat.
  2. A mechanical survey is done to comprehensively determine the health of the generator, engine, and other mechanical systems. Even though the surveyor will not inspect the engine’s insides in-depth, they will take oil samples for evaluation. Fuel/oil samples are critical for understanding the engine’s internal condition.
  3. Lastly, a rig survey is performed by an experienced rigger to check the entire rig, including standing rigging, mast, sails, running rigging, and the overall structural integrity of the rig.

In addition to the things listed above, surveyors also look for the following:

  • Accurate Identity: When surveying used boats, one of the main things a surveyor does is confirm their identity by checking the hull identification number (HIN) and state/federal registration number. If the details don’t match, you could get into trouble. For this reason, it is important to keep your vessel’s documents updated and handy in case you have to prove its legitimacy.
  • Moisture damage: A boat surveyor uses moisture meters and other tools to inspect for even the smallest symptoms of water damage throughout a boat. This means checking every accessible area and component on the interior and exterior.
  • Obvious signs of damage: Finally, a boat surveyor will check for any other evident signs of damage. This can include all the furniture, interior spaces, and anything that needs to be personally examined. 

Tips to Get the Best Value for your Used Boat 

  • Stay on top of vessel maintenance. Use your boat responsibly, and conduct regular checks, upgrades, and repairs of the engine and other important components.
  • Check the validity of your vessel certificate and renew it as needed. Certified boats hold resale value more compared to non-certified boats.
  • Get a boat history report from boat-alert.com to show potential buyers that the HIN is valid and the boat has no questionable background.
  • Visit boat clearance sales or check listings online on sites like BoatTrader, eBay, and Kijiji. This will help you check other boats for sale and compare their features, prices, etc., with your boat.
  • Contact a boat broker or dealer who will be able to not only guide you regarding the boat’s market value but also give suggestions on how to increase it.
  • Get your vessel’s inspection and maintenance records to show to potential buyers

What increases the value of a boat?

The exterior of a boat plays a major role in making a lasting impression on the buyer. For this reason, fixing things like hull damage, deck wear, and tear, or erosion is important. Repainting, cleaning, or repairing the hull will have it appear brand new.

Cleaning and repairing the deck is another way to increase the value of a boat. Upgrading a boat’s electronics is also a quick way to increase its market value. A few important things to focus on include the autopilot, lighting, Wi-Fi, and fridge/coolers.

What is the most reliable boat brand?

Several boat brands are reliable and reputable in the boating industry. Some of the most highly respected boat manufacturers include Mako Boats, Boston Whaler, Bayliner, Sea Ray, Grady White, and Yamaha.

Boat Value calculators & market value data

With the information discussed above, you should now have a pretty good idea of what affects the value of a used boat. However, it doesn’t hurt to get a second opinion. Here is a list of the top 10 boat value calculators you need to know before pricing your used boat.

Remember that boats lose value over time, so it’s best to be aware of the current market price rather than relying on old information. You can also have a professional appraise your boat in person and give you an estimated sale value.


In this article, we expanded on the topic of what affects the value of a used boat. We also discussed what boat surveyors look for when assessing the condition of a vessel so you can make the arrangements accordingly.

Lastly, we offered some tips to help increase the resale value of your used boat so you can make the most out of the transaction.

#FactorsAffectingUsedBoatValue #UsedBoatResaleValue #IncreaseBoatValue #boat #value

Categories: To learn more about Boat-Alert.com History Reports for used boats and hin lookup visit: www.Boat-Alert.com

About Boat-Alert.com®
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 id 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. hull numbers ©. 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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