Sell Your Boat

How to Sell Your Boat

If you’re currently wondering ‘how do I sell my boat?’, then Boat Classified is here to help you ensure that the process runs as smoothly as possible. See below for our easy-to-follow ‘Boat Selling Guide’!

Before advertising your boat for sale

Decide whether you will be selling privately or through a broker

There are pros and cons to both, so use the pointers below to help you decide which way to go.

Pros of selling privately

  • The money you make from the sale of your used boat is all yours to keep.
  • The whole process can, potentially, be quicker as the buyer will come straight to you.
  • You know your boat better than anybody else.

Cons of selling privately

  • It can be difficult to determine the current value of your boat.
  • You will need a good understanding of surveys, sea trials and the legal administration.
  • You will need to take care of all the paperwork that accompanies the boat sale.
  • The process of selling your boat, from start to finish, can take up a lot of time.

Pros of using a broker

  • They will market your boat for you.
  • They will have in-depth knowledge of how to accurately price your boat.
  • They will negotiate with buyers and communicate with other parties, such as the buyer’s surveyor.
  • They will deal with all legal transactions.

Cons of using a broker

  • They charge a commission.
  • They generally only work with larger, high-value boats.

Ensure your boat is sale-worthy

  • De-clutter: remove anything that doesn’t need to be there or that isn’t for sale.
  • Give it a deep clean: remember the corners and cupboards and polish all surfaces.
  • Take care of any maintenance that needs doing inside or out: fix and paint, if necessary.

Consider its location

  • Potential buyers need to be able to see the boat easily, so if it is moored somewhere remote you might want to consider moving it to somewhere more convenient.

Think about your price

  • Consider getting an up-to-date survey, if you don’t have one already, to assist in determining the condition and value of your boat.
  • Take into account upgrades, the maintenance schedule, any defects, the boat’s location and the season you’re selling in.
  • Look at comparable boats on

When you’re ready to sell

If you decide to go down the route of selling privately, now is the time to capture its good points.
  • Take lots of high-resolution images, so potential buyers can see all aspects of your boat.
  • Write descriptive, error-free text for your advertisement, providing as much detail about your boat as you can.
  • Add your boat to BoatClassifieds , where our expert staff is on hand to manage your listings.

Responding to enquiries

It’s useful to have all the information about your boat’s specifications printed out and kept somewhere handy, so you’re ready to answer more detailed questions from perspective buyers, however they choose to contact you.
Here are a few other things you might be asked for once your boat is up for sale:
  • The history of your boat’s ownership.
  • In-depth details of the boat’s condition. Start by emphasising its best features but always be honest about any issues the boat may have.
  • More photographs of your boat.

Viewings and sea trials

  • Make potential buyers feel welcome: offer them a drink and let them get comfortable on board. 
  • Engage with the buyer: ask questions around their intended use for the boat and see if you are able to give them any further details which may not have been in your advertisement.
  • Your buyer may wish to take the boat out for a sea trial with a surveyor or marine engineer; ensure you are able to arrange this.
  • To avoid ending up out of pocket when providing a sea trial for a less-than-serious buyer: have a contract, with the agreed price, ready to sign and ensure a deposit amount has been paid before you sail.
  • If a buyer arranges for a survey on the boat, it is normal practice for them to pay for associated costs, such as bringing the boat onto land.
  • If issues that would cost over 10% of the boat’s value to fix are found during a buyer’s survey there are several ways to address this:
  • Return the deposit and end the transaction.
  • Adjust the selling price to reflect the work needed.
  • Arrange to have the work done yourself and then sell at the original price.

Legal issues and other paperwork

  • If your boat is registered on Part 1 of the UK Ship Register then you will have to use the Maritime and Coastguard Agency’s Bill of Sale to transfer ownership to your boat’s buyer.
  • If it is on the Small Ships Register, or not registered at all, then you can use the Royal Yachting Association’s Bill of Sale.
  • You will need to ensure the Bill of Sale has the following details:
  • Description of the boat.
  • Hull identification number.
  • Purchase date and price.
  • Signatures of both you and your buyer.

At the point of sale

  • When you complete the sale of your boat, you must pass over the maintenance records, a VAT invoice, the proof of compliance with the Regional Craft Directive and your warranty documentation.
  • If additional items are to be included in the sale then a receipt for these should be provided.
  • When the buyer’s payment has cleared in your account you will be able to cancel your boat insurance and the deal is complete.
Now that you have read this ‘Guide to Selling My Boat’ you should be ready to get started. If, however, you have any questions or, if you are now thinking ‘how can I sell my boat quickly?’ please contact us to see how we can help you.

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