How To Prepare A Boat For Sale

How To Prepare A Boat For Sale

Fixing up a boat after you decide to sell is a very important first step toward getting the most value out of your investment. “Quirks” that you’ve lived with for years will drive away interested buyers, so here are some tips to make sure your boat will appeal to anyone who comes to look at it.

working on the engine
Any mechanical problems should be fixed before you place your boat on the market.


First of all, mechanical issues can be a turn-off even for a buyer who likes to tinker. If a light doesn’t work properly (on either trailer or boat), a handrail is loose, or something else isn’t quite right, fix it. You can probably take care of most of these details yourself, and a little bit of extra effort can yield big value once the buyers appear.


Next, make sure the boat is free of clutter. Remove everything not included in the sale, both to increase perceived space and to eliminate any confusion as to what is included. Spare tools, old tie down lines, that bucket of cleaning supplies in the trailer box… take it all away. Any boat will seem more spacious with empty lockers and open countertops.


Once the clutter is gone, the next step is a deep clean. Regardless of how well-maintained the boat is, all surfaces will benefit from some attention. Clean and polish the hull to bring out the shine. Nonskid should be scrubbed with a bleach solution or the special cleaner available at your local marine store. And if your stainless hardware doesn’t shine, polish that too. Replace rusty or missing screws and any other hardware or parts that have disappeared over time.

Carpet should be cleaned and dried thoroughly, or removed if beyond cleaning. Cushion covers can also be removed and washed. Make sure glass surfaces such as portlights are spotless. Mildew stains should be removed with an appropriate cleanser. Sweep up loose dirt and wipe down the entire galley area, even inside lockers. Pay particular attention to the engine compartment.


If your boat is large or complicated, consider investing in a marine survey before you list the boat. That will give you a chance to address problems up front that might otherwise interfere with a sale. A survey is relatively inexpensive and will pay off for you when it comes time to negotiate.

When it’s time to show your boat to potential buyers, a little elbow grease goes a long way. Your hard work will help buyers form a good first impression, which will not only help you get a better price but might also make for an easier sale.