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  1. Tips for Trading In or Selling a Boat
July 11, 2022

Tips for Trading In or Selling a Boat

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You’ve gotten the most out of your boat and built memories that will last a lifetime. Maybe it is time for you to upgrade. Maybe your family has outgrown your current boat. Or maybe you’re ready to slow the pace a little and go from watersports to cruising. Are you ready to start the next chapter in your boating adventure? This guide will help you understand your options, whether you want to sell or trade in your boat.


Selling vs Trading In a Boat – Which is Right For You?


Whether you want to sell your boat to get the cash to invest in your next boat or you want to trade in your current boat with a dealer to put the value towards your next purchase, there are a number of considerations for you to keep in mind.


Selling a Boat


Selling a boat can be as simple as listing it on one of the many websites or social media platforms, setting the price, finding a buyer and handing over the keys. Or you can work with a dealer and let them handle everything. If you decide to sell your boat yourself you will save on any commission costs, but you may find that those costs make up for the hassle of deciding on a fair price, doing any work that needs to be done to make the boat sale worthy and handling any paperwork.


Trading In a Boat


Trading in a boat is an option that many owners chose for the simplicity of the process. You bring it to a dealer, they draw from their experience to know exactly what the boat is worth and they apply that to the cost of your new boat. Depending on the state you live in there may also be tax benefits to trading in your boat and boat dealers are typically savvy when it comes to maneuvering through any confusing financing issues, offering tremendous peace of mind.


Finding Your Boat’s Value


Regardless of whether you are going to sell your boat or trade it in, the first question you have to ask yourself is ‘how much is my boat worth’? Getting the most from either your sale or trade is going to depend on determining a fair value.


Boat Resale Value


Unfortunately, while cars can be fairly valued by make, model, age and mileage, there is no easy way to show just how hard a boat has been used. Sure signs of wear like fading or fiberglass damage may be easy to spot, and engine hours can give you a general idea of how much longer your engine may last, but a thorough inspection will be needed by both seller and buyer to agree on a fair value.


Boat Trade In Value


When you are trading in your boat, the dealer you are trading it in to will determine the trade in value based on what they think they will be able to make reselling it. That being said, having an idea of what your boat is worth will help you decide if trading in with this dealer, going to another dealer or just selling it outright is your best course of action.


How To Sell/Trade In Boat


Once you have determined whether you want to sell or trade in your boat and have an idea of the value of the boat, the next step is to start the process.


With Boat Dealer


Working with a dealer to sell or trade in your boat eliminates a lot of the hassle. If you have established a relationship with a dealer already, then you are well on your way. If you need to find a boat dealer near you, many manufacturers have easy to navigate portals to help you find one that provides the services you are looking for.




You can also list your boat for sale online. There are a number of sites that provide listing services and your favorite social media platforms usually have local marketplaces to connect you with buyers in your area. Be sure to know what fees are involved in any listing. Also, take your time taking good pictures of your boat to make it interesting to potential buyers.


Through Boat Broker


Boat brokers are another resource you can take advantage of when selling your boat. Unlike a dealer who also provides service for boat owners, brokers specialize in selling boats and can help you get your boat sold quickly. Make sure you are aware of commissions that the broker charges as this will cut in to your profits.


On Boat Consignment


Similar to boat brokers who work for a percentage of the sale, boat consignment will sell a boat for you, but for a specific fee and a previously specified price. This eliminates the agent having to act as a middleman between the seller and the buyer during negotiations.