New or Pre-Owned

Trade-In or Sell Your Boat

Trade In or Sell your Boat

So it’s time to sell your boat or trade it in. Few people own just one boat in a lifetime and we can’t keep them all. For most of us, the more we go boating, the more we want to go and the more boats we have, the more boat we want. It’s all part of the fun. Here are some approaches and tips to trading-in or selling your boat so that you can get your next one.

Do It Yourself

You know the boat, can field questions and like talking to people, especially about boats. You don’t mind negotiation and are willing to arrange sea trials. You like putting all the money in your pocket.

Tell the world. Advertising has advanced beyond newspaper classified ads, although they can still draw local boat shoppers. You can also advertise through generalized services like Craigslist and specialized venues like Boat Trader, and Write your ad carefully, double-checking spelling and stats. Imagine and answer in advance a reader’s questions. Make sure photos sparkle. Set a reasonable price, with a bit of haggling room.

Consider finalizing the transaction at your bank or credit union, where funds can be verified. Then, before handing over the title, move to a secretary of state’s office or local license bureau, where title and registration paperwork can be processed. Handing over an open title doesn’t get the boat off your registration docket and maybe your liability wheelhouse until the buyer registers it. Be careful of all-internet sales — fraud is an ever-present danger.

Go For Broker

A broker does the legwork of drafting and placing ads, arranging sea trials, negotiating, and handling the money, all for a percentage of the sale. Mainly interested in larger boats, they’re established within the boating community and have access to customers you don’t. You can start at the Yacht Brokers Association of America or

education and training

The Certified Professional Yacht Broker (CPYB) designation is earned by eligible yacht sales professionals, who, after serving a minimum of three years as a full-time professional, have successfully completed a written examination. 

Dealer Me In

Trading in a boat at your dealer can be the simplest solution. After all, he or she probably has customers actively looking. If there’s a thing or two that needs sprucing up, the dealer’s got the staff and stuff to take care of it. There are tax advantages to trading in, too. In most states, you only pay sales tax on the new boat price less the value of the trade-in.

Sale-Making Tips

Do (and gather) your homework. Have the title or documentation ready to avoid a sale-time scramble. Find the owner’s manuals and organize maintenance records. The shopper will appreciate how you’ve cared for what may be his or her next boat! Selling a larger or more complicated boat? Consider hiring a marine surveyor to provide an assessment. Your buyer likely will hire his own surveyor, but a clean report could make him more willing to dig deeper!