When the time comes to sell a boat, many choose to handle the sale themselves. Before going this route, make sure you are properly educated about the process and you have considered the other options available.

Boats for sale by owner

For Sale By Owner has increased in popularity over the years. Here are some pros and cons to handling your own sale:


  • More money in your own pocket (no commission or fees)

  • Quick turnaround with fewer people involved

  • You maintain control of the process

  • No one knows your boat as well as you do

  • With proper planning and the help of this guide, it can be easy and satisfying


  • The process of selling a boat can be time consuming

  • You must educate yourself about the boat market

  • You will need to complete all the sales paperwork

  • You will need to learn the processes, such as sea-trials and surveys

If you want help selling your boat, here is some information about your alternatives.

Boat brokers

From listing the first ad to closing the sale, a professional broker earns a commission in exchange for handling the details. The right broker may be able to get you a better price, especially if he or she specialises in your type of boat. And your time and aggravation will certainly be reduced, since viewings, sea trials, and communication with other professionals (like surveyors) will all be handled by the broker. Commissions may be as much as 10 percent; this can vary depending on your boat and your location.

Small boats are rarely sold by brokers, since they produce too little income for the amount of time required to make the sale. Large boats often involve complex negotiations (documentation, etc.) that are simplified by yacht brokers.

Find a broker in your area.

Boat dealers

Your local boat dealer may also be willing to help you sell your used boat. If the dealer’s location is more visible than your own yard, ask what it would cost to store your boat on the property with a prominent for-sale sign. Also ask if it’s possible to include your boat in the dealer’s advertising; you may be able to get a more visible (or more cost-effective) ad listing than you could get on your own. While not necessarily making money on the actual sale, a dealer will be trying to build a relationship with you, increasing the opportunity that you buy your next boat from the dealer who sold last boat.

Make your decision
Whether dealing with brokers or dealers, make sure your arrangement is clear from the beginning and agreed in a written contract. A signed contract can reduce the chances of a misunderstanding.

If you decide to sell your own boat, approach the entire sale in a professional manner. This guide is designed to help you achieve this.

Advertise your boat for sale.

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