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Best Places to Sell Your Boat: Exploring Your Options

You might be considering selling your boat for a whole host of reasons. It might be time to upsize your boat for something bigger or faster to suit your growing family. Or perhaps it’s time for a newer, lower-maintenance vessel, or one that offers you different opportunities and activities. Families, jobs, locations, and other circumstances change. Whatever your reason for selling, there will come a time that you need to figure out the best place to sell a boat. Thankfully there are many choices out there, and here we take a look at your options. 


Ways of Selling a Boat

If you’ve asked yourself the question, “Where can I list a boat to sell?” then the answer is “a lot of places!” The size of your boat will have some bearing on the options available to you when it comes to selling it. Mid-size and larger yachts will normally be sold through a yacht broker who will advertise your boat via their network, managing the viewings, legalities, and paperwork on your behalf. At the other end of the size scale, however, a small towable boat can be listed for sale in your local classifieds, with a sign on your driveway, on selling sites such as Craigslist, in your local club or marina, or on dedicated online boat-selling sites. For all boats in between, it’s important to consider your own time and capabilities before deciding whether to work with a yacht broker or manage the selling process yourself.


sailboat on the water

If you want to sell your boat, it’s important to consider your own time and capabilities before deciding whether to work with a yacht broker or manage the selling process yourself.


Advantages of Selling Through a Professional Yacht Broker

When you choose to appoint a professional yacht broker to sell your yacht, you will be partnering with an experienced advisor who will assist you through the process in a multitude of ways. Done well, this will save you time and quite possibly save you money too. In exchange, you can expect to pay a commission of between 6% and 10% of the final sale price. Here is what the right broker will do for the money: 


  • Setting the price: A key benefit of working with a professional broker is gaining their advice on setting a realistic listing price based on their knowledge of the current marketplace—the recent selling prices of similar boats and how much inventory is on the market today. A professional broker can also readily judge how your boat measures up in terms of its features, condition, maintenance record, available paperwork, recent upgrades, etc., and will present their findings to youc 
  • Accessing potential buyers: Through existing customers, the broker's website, digital platforms on which the brokerage advertises, and strong working relationships with other brokerages, a broker will provide you with immediate access to a wider network of potential buyers. If you decide to sell your boat on your own, it’s up to you to decide which options will work best and you may need to list your boat in several places to get your boat seen widely and sold. 
  • Saving you time: A yacht broker will handle negotiations, manage the paperwork, and coordinate appointments, attend sea trials, manage surveys, negotiate the closing process, and handle the proceeds. Depending on the size of your boat, the complexity of the sale, and the value of your own time, this may well be the biggest advantage of all in working with a professional broker.
  • Saving you money: Offsetting the commission that you pay a professional broker, you will more than likely save money based on a broker’s guidance on how to prepare the boat—what to fix and what to leave in its current condition given what you’re likely to make in the final sale. 
  • A faster sale: Once you’ve decided to sell your boat, how long are you willing to wait for it to be gone? Selling with a yacht broker will typically convert to a quicker sale, which almost always means more money for you because the longer a boat stays on the market, the lower the final selling price.
  • Lower stress: Sharing the sale process with an experienced yacht broker as your partner reduces stress on you, how much you’ll need to worry about all the details, and how to handle challenging situations that can come up with potential buyers.


Advantages of Selling Online

Online boat sales website are the primary way to sell almost any boat, and many sites are of course used by yacht brokers as well as private sellers. Dedicated boat-selling and boat-buying marketplaces in particular offer lots of the tools needed to sell a boat fast. So what are the advantages of selling a boat online? 


  • Greater exposure: The main advantage is the huge exposure that selling online gives you compared to traditional sales methods. Your boat sales listing can be viewed hundreds of times by motivated buyers in your area, who can peruse the description, specifications, photos, and videos in their own time. 
  • Quick and easy: Setting up your listing, whether on FaceBook Marketplace, Craigslist or a customized boat selling marketplace, you are in control of the listing and can make changes easily, which isn’t possible with print advertisements. That being said, if you list your boat as a private sale on several sites, you’ll have to make subsequent changes on all the sites, while a broker will typically take advantage of a “feed” from a central site to others, so changes need only be made in one place.
  • Security: Using a dedicated boat sales platform or working with a broker who is doing the same thing is the best way to be assured that enquiries are from verified, motivated buyers via a secure email system. 

Selling a boat online is a straightforward process, and with intuitive platforms and sales tools you can have a listing up and running in a few minutes. But before you get to that point, it’s important to do your prep work. Putting in a bit of effort now will go a long way to helping you to get the best price for your boat, and selling it quickly. 


Man on a boat with a laptop

Dedicated boat-selling and boat-buying marketplaces offer lots of the tools needed to sell a boat fast.


How to Sell a Boat Online

  • Prepare Your Boat: Clean your boat from top to bottom, clear out all personal items and service the engine. Check out our guide to Getting Your Boat Ready for Sale for more advice. 
  • Take Good Quality Photos and Videos: You want your boat to attract prospective buyers, so be sure to take good images and videos which show it off to its best. Take them from all angles, and with your boat out of the water if possible. Take photos of the engine, electronics, interior and offer as much detail as possible. For more tips check out our guide on How to Take Photos and Videos that Will Sell Your Boat.
  • Decide on a Price: Check out our guide on How to Price Your Boat for Sale
  • Gather Your Paperwork: Ensure you have all paperwork to hand before listing your boat for sale otherwise you might slow the sales process down. You’ll need the Bill of Sale, registration documentation, builder’s 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.
  • Create Your Listing: After registering on your chosen selling site, you can choose which sales package you want. For a risk free experience, Rightboat offers 4 weeks free to list your boat. Create your listing using as much detail as possible and upload the images you have taken. 
  • Be Clear and Descriptive: The better the description of your boat, the more traffic and interest it will generate. Try to include a long, detailed description including the builder’s specifications and measurements, what equipment there is on board, the engine hours, accessories, maintenance schedule, tank sizes, or new items that have been installed recently.
  • Create your listing: After lining up your photos and writing the description of your boat, register on your chosen selling site and choose the sales package you want, taking note of visibility offered, duration the listing will be posted, and terms of renewals if the boat hasn’t sold yet.   


This article was published in February 2023 and updated in December 2023.

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.

Get in touch:Linkedin

More from: Samantha Wilson

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