Preparing a Boat for Sale

Necessities Before Selling a Boat: a Guide to Prepare a Boat for Sale

You won’t be able to sell your boat at a good price without being prepared to. That’s exactly why a guide to prepare a boat for sale (i.e. the article you’re reading right now!) can come in handy before sailing to sale. Here, you are supposed to learn what-to-dos along with how-to-dos when it comes to selling a boat.

1-try to fix issues before pricing
2-let the buyer know about issues
3-do not hide anything
4-clean it up
5-omit not-included and indicate not-free stuff
6-use local promotions
7-have an online presence


Necessities Before Selling a Boat: a Guide to Prepare a Boat for Sale

Following is a guide on preparing for boat sale with simple — meanwhile vital — steps. Before we start off, I need you to know that selling a boat is a time consuming process and according to statistics, a boat sale may take place anywhere between 300 days or more. Thus, be patience and try not to rush for finding a buyer. Now, read on and try to follow up with instructions below to prepare for a boat sale.

Buyers Are Not Interested in Defects

Buyers Are Not Interested in Defects

Although all buyers know that a used boat wouldn’t work like a new one and defects are unavoidable, none of them would be interested in a wrecked and useless boat. For this reason, you have to care about technical and mechanical issues before put it on a sale. You may want to spend some extra money to repair major problems before starting the process of selling a boat. You can also inform the buyers that your boat contains some defects and let them to take it into consideration.

The second method (i.e. letting buyers to consider issues when surveying the boat) is not recommended. Since mechanical defects can have major impacts on the price and would lessen the attention to your boat, it’s best to solve all issues —or at least most of them — prior to sale.

• try to fix issues before pricing:

As mentioned above, the best way of reducing further problems with possible buyers is to fix all/most mechanical issues your boat is having now. Spending some money for that would worth it, because it will enable you to give higher quote for the boat.


If selling your boat through a broker, it’s a good choice to let them take care of fixing parts too. Most brokers know where to find a trustworthy shipwright who is capable of solving your boat’s issues. Moreover, they can ask for discounts — which is a great way of saving money and increasing the profit.

• let the buyer know about issues:

A not-really-recommended way to handle the situation with issued boats is to be open and honest about it and let the buyers decide whether they want it or not. Trying to sell an issued boat needs some serious effort and it’s more like telling the buyers:  “love me as I am” (which I’m not sure if it would work).

However, you can always be optimistic and wait for the best thing to happen, right? Just bear in mind that after clueing all the issues on your advertisement and/or description, not plenty of brilliant offers will expect you.

let the buyer know about issues

Note: informing buyers about all the issues on the boat is something that can not be neglected. What I meant to say was emphasizing the priority of fixing issues over letting them remain the same.

• do not hide anything:

Hiding mechanical issues along with any other defects may cause serious legal problems for you. A buyer can even file lawsuit against you when some information about the boat (or any sold means) is proven to be kept hidden by the seller.  For this reason, you must not plan to give misinformation to potential buyers.

do not hide anything

It’s better to make list of mechanical issues before starting the sale process. Better yet, ask a professional surveyor to check the boat and give you a written report. You can also use that report to prove that everything mentioned about your boat is correct.

Appearance Speaks First

Preparing for a boat sale is not just about mechanical issues, defects and descriptions. Actually, there’s something that has priority over those stuff when it comes to selling a boat. Yes, appearance is something to take into consideration more than anything else — okay, that’s a bit too much. However, since your potential buyers are more likely to judge your boat based on its appearance at the first glance, you must try to pay attention to that.

Appearance Speaks First

There are some tips on how to prepare the appearance of your boat for a sale. Cleaning it up, for instance, is the first and most important one. A dirty and cluttered boat would not draw any attention, and on the contrary will make the potential buyers feel less likely to start a negotiation.

• clean it up:

If you want to show your possible customers that the boat of interest is worth it to buy, the first step would be starting a heavy and practical clean-up process. People may make some important decisions just by looking at something. That is, scrolling down and ignoring a dirty cluttered boat is way much easier than doing the same to a good-looking and clean one.

clean it up

Thus, try to make sure your boat is de-cluttered before heading to the sale journey of yours.

• omit not-included and indicate not-free stuff:

Buyers may feel disappointed if they see any differences between the real boat and its photos — which have seen prior to on-site consultation. For this reason, omit all the additional stuff that would not be sold on boat, before taking pictures. Also, make sure to indicate on description if any not-free equipments are available and/or seen on pictures.

omit not-included and indicate not-free stuff:

As mentioned earlier, people may make some important decisions only based on visual information. So when they see a difference between photos that have made them enthusiastic about your boat and the real appearance of it, become disappointed and are more likely to stop negotiations right away.

Advertising Can Change the Game

A professional boat sale should involve a good advertising section which is totally planned prior to showcasing phases. However, if you’re not capable of planning and performing advertising necessities for your boat sale, it’s better to ask a broker join you and help you with all the hard work. Working with a broker is a great way of saying time and energy while being able to act like a pro!

Advertising Can Change the Game

The only problem about brokers is that they won’t work for free (not surprising, right?). The approximate cost of hiring a broker is 8 to 10% of the sale contract. But it would worth it to try, because they are professionals of this industry and have the capacity for being a knowledgeable go-to.

• use local promotions:

A local newspaper is a good choice for those who want to act old-school and give it a try. Although a boat sale take place in a long term (usually in 300 days or so), a shot at local newspaper readers wouldn’t hurt anybody. If you have enough budget to repeat the advertisement on the newspaper, it’s best to do it on fall and spring.

 use local promotions

People are more likely to buy a boat on these seasons. A common believe is that spring is the best time to sell a boat, but that’s not necessarily true. Since it would cost you more money to maintain the boat through the winter and then clean it up again for a sale, waiting till spring would cause more harm than good. Thus, plan your sale on fall to get rid of maintenance fees and eventually have more profit.

• have an online presence:

Online advertising perhaps is the most important phase of promoting your boat. You will be less likely to have phone calls and visits from buyers of the online presence is neglected. A good description of your vessel along with professional (and realistic) photos would create a great combination for your online appearance.

have an online presence

Make sure to find best websites to work with and promote your boat. There are several well-known websites such as that can offer you the opportunity to showcase the boat you want to sell and meet up with potential buyers.

• keep the track of boat shows:

Not all, but some boat shows can give you a place to promote your boat for visitors in order to find potential buyers. Of course, that’s not a good idea when you’re trying to sell a small boat — since they would not lend you a place for free and there will be transportation fees too. However, if you have enough budget and think it would worth it to try a boat show, you can keep the track of them through their websites and/or local media.

Paperworks Will Be Waiting for You

Paperworks Will Be Waiting for You

Once you’re done with all above instructions, it’s time to wait for a buyer’s offer to start the negotiations and finally sell the boat. However, it’s not going to be an easy part either! If you’re planning to get some rest during the process of waiting, you better think again.

Selling a boat is not something to do with your eyes closed. You must be cautious and well-prepared for the paperworks and legal processes. If it’s your first attempt to sell a boat, I recommend to get some professional help from a broker. Bit if you’re interested in handling all the hard work by your own, then try to keep these stuff in your mind.

• prove that the boat is yours:

To legally sell a boat, you must first prove that it’s yours. A VAT receipt may be needed to do so, but there are some other ways of proving ownership too. A broker can take care of all legal stages of the sale including this part.

• be aware of 14-day trial process:

When selling a yacht, the buyer can use a 14-day of trial period to see if there’s anything wrong with the boat or not. If something goes wrong during this period, it’s up to you to cancel the contract and give their money back, or fix all the issues before completion of the contract or just let the buyer have a discount for that!

• cancel the insurance after sale:

One thing to remember when selling a boat is that you must cancel the insurance on the boat after signing a deal and transferring the ownership to someone else. Otherwise you may be charged for extra fees.

Reference (s):

1. Holmes Rupert | 2018 | How to prepare a boat for sale | Boats |boats

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