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Top tips for selling your boat

Whether you’re selling your boat to help fund an upgrade or it’s time to part company with a long-cherished vessel, there’s a lot to consider before the deal is done. From setting the price and marketing to insurance, here are our top tips for selling your boat.

1.     Get the price right

Setting the right sale price for your boat isn’t as easy as you might think, and quite often this is where boat owners go wrong. Before putting a price tag on your boat, it’s advisable to to do some research; speak to a local boat broker or dealer and check for similar boats in classified ads to get a good benchmark. 

Overprice your boat and you’ll struggle to attract interest, but set the price too low and you could stand to lose out. Similar to selling your home or a car, it’s a balancing act. The key is to not let vanity cloud your perception of value.

Insurance tip: Advise your insurer what the sale price is. This will be reflected in your sum insured and ensure you’re not under or over insured.

2.     Decide on where, when and how to sell

It goes without saying that you’ll need to advertise the fact your boat is up for sale, but in a digital age there are a lot more options available. Consider placing an ad at your marina or yacht club, as well as placing a classified ad online or in a trusted boat trading magazine, but be careful to not overspend on costly ads.

The size and value of your boat might help make part of the marketing decision for you. Larger boats tend to have a more complex set of sales negotiations and legal documentation that goes with it so boat brokers can help to simplify the process, although they will take a cut of the eventual sale price. Smaller boats are easier to sell yourself, and you’ll stand to earn more from the sale once you find a buyer.

Where possible it’s best to sell your boat at the beginning of the season when you’ll attract the most interest from potential buyers.

Insurance tip: If you move your boat from its normal mooring location in order to sell it, the insurer will need to be advised of the new location.

3.     Get your boat ship shape

Dress to impress. A few hours spent scrubbing the deck, covers, surfaces and furniture can go a long way to making a good impression on your potential buyer. A musty and damp smelling boat will suggest rot and decay, so be sure to clean the bilge and change the oil to demonstrate good maintenance.

When it comes to the interior, there’s nothing wrong with dressing things up and making the environment more inviting. Take a look at some boat magazines or brochures for inspiration. Another good idea is to prepare a sales pack for the potential owner, including photos of the boat in use, copies of the original brochure, a history of the boat and an itinerary of the equipment that’s included in the sale.

Insurance tip: While you’re waiting for the boat to sell, it could be laid up or you may wish to continue using it. Whatever your intended level of use, you should let your insurer know. For example, even if the boat is laid up, the boat broker might need to sea trial it so the insurance will need to be extended in order for cover to use the vessel afloat.


If you think the boat is going to sell shortly after your renewal, but the sale falls through, it’s much harder to get a new policy. The cancellation conditions are also much less attractive on new policies compared with existing, so do discuss your options with the insurer before your cover lapses.

The advice is simple, if you’re selling your boat; talk to the insurer to make sure the right cover is in place until the boat is sold.