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How to Sell Your Boat: a Step-by-Step Guide

If you’ve decided the time is right to sell your boat, then there are a whole host of things you can do make sure you sell it quickly, for a good price and make the whole process stress-free. Thankfully these days there are some top websites such as rightboat.com who are doing the hard work for you in spreading the word far and wide and showcasing your vessel to its fullest.

Now you can sell your boat on Rightboat.com for free, its quick and easy to do. Start now.  By selling a boat yourself you could save £1000's on broker commission fees.

We take a look at what exactly is involved in selling a boat.

Get Your Boat Ready for Sale 

First things first: to get interest and a fair price for your boat it will need to dazzle. Putting in some elbow grease, cleaning it thoroughly, emptying it of personal possessions and giving the engine a service are just some of the things you can do present a shiny boat to prospective buyers. Take some good quality photographs that show as much of the boat as possible. See our article on Getting Your Boat Ready for Sale for more tips. 

Which brings us on to setting a price. It is common to ask too much for a boat because of emotional attachment, but it is important not to deter buyers. Compare your boat’s model, age and condition with other similar ones (websites such as rightboat.com have hundreds listed) and price it competitively.

At this stage, you also want to be getting your ducks in order. And by ducks, we mean the arduous job of paperwork! This includes the Bills of Sale, evidence that the boat is VAT paid or exempt, registration documentation, Builders Certificate and service information for parts such as the engine, generator, water heater, and sails. Financial records, repair bills, RCD compliance and owner’s manuals are also helpful.

boat cleaning


Decide Whether to Sell it Yourself or Use a Broker

You have two choices at this stage; sell it yourself or use a broker. It has never been easier to sell a boat by yourself. The user-friendly boat selling websites such as rightboat.com hold your hand throughout the entire process, giving you a dedicated selling page where you can add photographs, detailed descriptions, and keywords. They will even create videos for you, or put you in touch with surveyors. 

Opting to use a broker can take some of the workloads off you with regards the paperwork and liaising with prospective buyers, as well as a lot of the worry. While they will advertise it far and wide, they too will list your boat on the top boat selling websites. If you are interested in using the services of a broker just email info@rightboat.com who will introduce you to recommended local brokers. Brokers charge between 6 and 10% for their services. 

boat for sale


Sea Trials and Surveys

After viewing your boat a buyer will make an offer which will be subject to survey and sea trial. Together you will agree on what is included in the price of the boat and create a detailed inventory list. At this stage, a Sale & Purchase Agreement will be drawn up which both parties sign. 

The buyer will almost certainly ask to have a survey completed on the vessel, and they foot the bill for this. Likewise, a sea trial may be requested (any lift or slipping fees are covered by the buyer). The buyer may want to renegotiate the price or ask for certain repairs to be undertaken at this stage based on any findings in the survey report. 

sea trial sailing

Closing the Sale

Once the buyer is happy to proceed it is time to seal the deal. Either you or your broker will draw up a Bill of Sale which, together with the documentation and keys, will be sent to the buyer when funds have cleared. If you are using a broker then this transaction will go through them, and they will deduct their commission. 

Updated 13/02/2023

For information: How to Buy a Boat

Written By: Samantha Wilson

Samantha Wilson has spent her entire life on and around boats, from tiny sailing dinghies all the way up to superyachts. She writes for many boating and yachting publications, top charter agencies, and some of the largest travel businesses in the industry, combining her knowledge and passion of boating, travel and writing to create topical, useful and engaging content.

More from: Samantha Wilson

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