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Tips For Post-Ride Boat Maintenance

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6 Tips for Selling Your Used Boat to a Dealer

6 Tips for Selling Your Used Boat to a Dealer

You love your boat, but eventually a time will come when you’re ready to sell and upgrade to a new boat. When that happens, you’ll have several options to choose from to turn your pre-owned vessel into profit, but which is right for you? If you want to sell your boat fast and avoid going back and forth with prospective buyers, consider selling to a dealership. Boatline has six helpful tips for selling your used boat to a dealer.

1. Discover Your Boat’s Value

Before you start researching boat dealers, you should first get an idea of how much your used boat is worth. Learning your vessel’s approximate value can give you some leverage when it’s time to speak to a dealer.

To find out how much your boat is worth, use an online resource, such as J.D. Power. You can find valuations for power boats, sailboats, and personal watercraft, as well as outboard motors and boat trailers.

2. Determine If You Want to Trade In or Sell Your Boat

If you decide to reach out to a dealership, you’ll have the choice to either sell or trade in your used boat. Selling gives you the opportunity to make a profit off your boat on the spot, which is a great option if you need money quickly. 

However, if you plan on getting a new boat, you can trade in your current vessel to a dealership. Instead of getting the money upfront, the profit for your for-sale boat will go towards the cost of your new watercraft.

3. Make Your Boat Shine

While a dealership might not be as critical about the condition of your boat as a typical buyer, you should still make sure your watercraft is in good shape. If you really want to impress a dealer, take some time to clean your boat. Give your vessel a quick wash so it’s more appealing when a dealer sees it. For tips on washing your boat, read our previous article. 

If your boat has been in storage for a while, take it out on the water to make sure it still runs properly. While you don’t want to make any costly repairs before you sell your vessel, a few minor mechanical and cosmetic touch ups can make a difference in how much you get for your for-sale boat.

4. Speak with Multiple Dealers

When you buy a boat, you shop around at multiple dealerships for the best deal. You should do the same when you’re selling your watercraft. Speak with different dealerships and ask what type of boats they’re looking for now. Depending on the dealership’s inventory needs, your for-sale boat could be just what they’re looking for, which could earn you the best offer. To find a dealership near you, use Boatline’s Dealer Directory.

5. Negotiate for the Best Deal

Just because you’re selling to a dealership doesn’t mean you have to accept their initial offer for your used boat. While discussing price with an experienced dealer can seem intimidating, you can still negotiate for a higher offer.

To better negotiate with a dealer, start by determining the lowest amount you’ll accept for your for-sale boat. As we discussed above, knowing your vessel’s estimated value can give you some negotiating power. This can also help you choose a lowest acceptable offer price. If a dealership offers an amount below this price, and they don’t want to negotiate, then you know it’s time to walk away and move on to another dealership.

You can also give yourself more negotiating power by showing proof that your boat is a quality vessel. It can help to bring proof of any upgrades or regular maintenance to show that you’ve cared for your boat during your time of ownership. Read our previous article for more tips on setting and negotiating price.

6. Get Ready to Close on the Spot

Depending on the dealership, and if you’re selling an in-demand type of boat, you could be in the position to accept an offer right on the spot. If that happens, be ready to close so you don’t miss out on a great deal.

Make sure you’re prepared before walking into the dealership by bringing any necessary paperwork to complete the sale and close the deal. Your boat’s title will be the most important thing. If you’re selling a boat trailer, you’ll need both the title and registration.

Selling your boat to a dealership can be a quick way to get a great offer on your used watercraft. By following these tips, you’ll be ready to speak with dealers and hopefully make the most profit on your boat. Once you sell your used boat, shop for a new vessel on the nationwide online marketplace at Don’t forget, you can also list your boat on our marketplace by visiting


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Arielle Patterson
Arielle Patterson

Other Resources

Tips For Post-Ride Boat Maintenance

7 Red Flags to Avoid When Buying a Boat Online

9 Tips For Deep-Sea Fishing From Your Boat

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