If you are a boat owner the two happiest days of your life, according to the saying, are the day you buy and the day you sell your boat. This detailed guide is intended to help maximise your happiness as a seller—though our advice will also help you become a savvier buyer.

Selling your boat guide

Where you found your boat advertised may well be the best place to sell it again.

Before You Sell Your Boat

First of all, decide whether to sell the boat yourself. Your available time, knowledge, and sales skills are all important considerations. Brokers earn their commission by taking over most of the legwork. And local dealers may be willing to put your boat on their lot or add it to their listings, hoping you buy a new boat once your used boat is sold.

Do you remember where you found your boat advertised? That may well be the best place to sell it again. As well as on websites, vessels can also be inspected and purchased at boat shows and specialist festivals such as the Wooden Boat Festival on biannually in Hobart, Tasmania.

An eye-catching ad with quality photos and a well-written description will encourage potential buyers to ask for more detail. As one broker puts it, “We’re not selling boats, we’re selling dreams.” Once a buyer visualises a day on the water at the helm of your boat, a sale is much more likely.

Do your homework to determine a realistic price. While car sales in Australia are tied to the Red Book, boat prices can vary widely depending on upgrades and maintenance schedules. Be realistic, but leave yourself room for negotiation.

Show Your Boat

When it’s time to show your boat, make sure it is clean and uncluttered for a positive first impression. And beware; your well-written ad might attract someone without concrete plans or purchasing power.

While you can’t control the weather, you can choose a protected area for the sea trial to show your boat at its best, unless specifically asked for an open water trial.

Sell Your Boat

Any serious buyer will quickly make an offer, probably below the intended price. Treating a lowball bid as an insult will create bad feeling and possibly cost you the sale; instead, politely counter-offer closer to asking price. During this negotiation keep your rock bottom sale price in mind.

Once the price is established you must exchange some paperwork to complete the transaction, including a receipt of funds. Remember to cancel your insurance once the boat is no longer yours and remove all ads.

One final note: beware of phishing, money-back scams, and other online fraud schemes. If an offer looks too good to be true, it probably is, especially if you haven’t met the “buyer” anywhere but online.

Your Boat Is Sold!

Fiberglass has a very long life, and there are many used boats available. By educating yourself with our detailed sales guide you will maximise your happiness as a boat seller—and maybe learn something that will help make your next boat purchase happier as well.

Written by: Carol Cronin
Carol Cronin has published several novels about the Olympics, sailing, hurricanes, time travel, and old schooners. She spends as much time on the water as possible, in a variety of boats, though most have sails.