What to Do Before Selling Your Boat


So you’ve decided to sell your boat and contacted your local brokers to get it listed. But how do you plan to make your boat irresistible to potential buyers? 

Well, the secret to selling your used boat quickly and at a good price is proper preparation

As someone who’s selling his boat, you should make sure that your boat is in the best condition possible before placing the “for sale” sign on it.

So, whether you’re selling a yacht or a dinghy, here are some of the easiest, fastest, and most cost-effective things you can do to make your boat more appealing to buyers. Let’s get started!

Stage the boat

Think about how used car dealers try to present their vehicles in the best possible light. When listed on a platform like Grays, your boat must also make a good impression on potential buyers to ensure that it sails past all the competitors in the used boat market. 

This means it’s important to make the boat look as un-lived in as possible by getting rid of everything but the essentials. Your magazine-littered bathroom may be fine for you, but it may and most probably will put off buyers. 

Removing all clutter can also make it ready for quick possession and help prospective buyers better imagine the boat as their own.

If you want to make an excellent first impression, consider turning on the lights, playing some music, starting the A/C, and setting up burgees or stern flags before giving potential buyers a tour. 

Give your boat a thorough clean

First impressions are the last. If the deck isn’t cleaned properly and the boat is untidy, buyers may extend their first impressions to the boat as a whole. They may assume the vessel to be uncared for in general.

At the bare minimum, give the entire vessel a good scrub down and put your waxing or polishing skills to use to make your boat shine. 

Be sure to get into every nook and cranny during the cleaning process. Drains under hatches, scuppers, outboard wells, and stowage areas under your center console units are all places that tend to get messy and should be properly cleaned.

The goal is to make your vessel look new and remove all pieces of evidence about your past fishing trips and any unwanted seagull visits.

Fix minor cosmetic problems

Investing in a few cheap cosmetic repairs will go a long way in making your vessel look more desirable. Worn-out deck carpets, tears in the seat upholstery, broken canvas zippers, and tears are all easy to fix and will make a massive difference to a buyer’s perception of your vessel.

Organize your boat’s maintenance records

The vessel’s maintenance records can be a good sales tool and make the buyer feel more confident moving forward with the deal. 

It’s always a good idea to keep all records and receipts for any boat maintenance work in a binder because every prospective buyer asks about what’s been done to the boat and will be particularly interested in engine maintenance records.

You can even have a tech come to your vessel if it’s been ages since your boat was last serviced. Allow the tech to bring your boat up to date service-wise and do necessary engine maintenance like changing the engine oil and filters. 

That’s because the last thing you want a potential buyer to do is to take out the dipstick from the inboard and have it come out with dirty oil. 

Additionally, consider having a pre-sale boat survey performed to speed up the sales process by showing prospective buyers that everything checks out and is in good shape.

Repair your boat trailer

If your vessel is a trailerable one, make sure that your trailer is in good shape before listing it for sale. Just think about it: no one is going to desire your boat if the trailer underneath it is full of rust spots, has broken lights, or rotting tires.

You can quickly bring your trailer back into tip-top shape by doing a few inexpensive fixes. Refinishing and removal of rust aren’t as hard as they seem. All you need is a wire brush, a bit of metal primer, and spray paint to fix up the nasty spots on the frame. 

Rusted emergency hooks, chains, and worn-out rollers should be replaced with new ones. And last but not the least, make sure all of your trailer’s lights are working properly.

Check to see if all equipment is working properly

Have you been carrying a list of all the minor nuisances you’ve meant to fix around your boat for a long time? Well, this is an excellent opportunity to fix them. 

Whether it’s a rusty gas-assist strut, that leaky hatch under the V-berth, or a broken knob on the radio, fixing these minor annoyances can go a long way in ensuring that your boat sells at the maximum price.

To ensure you haven’t missed anything, go for a walk around the vessel and check everything thoroughly. Check all ports and hatches, see if all lights are functioning, and flush the head. 

If something isn’t perfect, it’s time to fix it. Because if you won’t, potential buyers will probably spot an issue. Many buyers use such flaws as bargaining chips to reduce your asking price if you haven’t paid attention to them!