A Seller’s Market: Why Boats Are A Hot Commodity Right Now

The best time of year to sell a boat fast – and for the most money possible – is traditionally before the height of the boating season. Granted, any time when demand for boats is strong and supply is low there will be great resale value. Right now is one of those times, which means if you’re looking for cash and you have a used boat that you’re willing to sell, now is a really great time to get top dollar.

2021 Caymas 341

Above: Friends enjoy a sunset cruise aboard a 2021 Caymas 341 center console boat – an outdoor activity that has seen a serious spike since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo by Caymas via North Point Yacht Sales in Annapolis, MD.

According to Boat Trader’s recent boating marketplace data, sales of used boats remain on the rise nationwide in 2021 after the pandemic set in motion a wave of new enthusiasts buying boats. Early spring transactions for used boats under 36 feet jumped 41% over the same period last year. And this is likely to continue into the summer months of 2021 and beyond.

Boat Inventory Issues

However, because of how fast boats are selling, this year’s boat buyer is facing record-low inventory in many areas. Inquiries sent to sellers through the platform offer one way to measure increased demand for boats, and the number of leads submitted per boat shopper has grown by 64% over 2020. Experts say the dramatic rise indicates competition is fierce among consumers and will last beyond summer.

For some shoppers, squeezed selection makes decision-making quick and easy, but for others, it keeps the boat search dragging on until more boats become available. What has helped relieve some of the supply strain is current boat owners recognizing the opportunity for a quick payday and privately listing their boats for sale.

When it comes to selling a boat online, people are drawn to the fast and efficient way to cash in on their boat’s worth. However, listings that are positioned properly get the best price.

List Your Boat For Sale Where The Fish Will Bite!

A selling platform’s geographical scope is a key determining factor in ensuring that your boat will get as much coverage as possible. Regardless of whether you want the convenience of a local buyer, the more people that view your ad, the more likely you are to find the right buyer.

Long before the world relied on Google, Boat Trader magazine was the go-to place to sell a boat. In 2008, the magazine successfully shifted from print to digital media, and today Boat Trader reaches more than 10 million visitors per month.

Boat Trader’s search filters let sellers reach interested shoppers who are able to find and locate the vessels they’re looking for within a range of specified geo-targeted locations. When you list a boat as a seller, local buyers get notified if the boat matches their criteria, helping you sell your boat faster.

Since COVID, there’s been a swift consumer shift to the ease of mobile shopping. Creating and managing an online boat listing from Boat Trader’s mobile app is the company’s top time-saving tip for sellers because uploading boat photos taken from your phone is instant. Listings can be built in three minutes or less with added help from the autofill data feature that provides a boat description and the model specs from the manufacturer.

Sell Your Boat Online on Boat Trader

Listing Tips That Have The Biggest Impact

There are many tips for writing a great boat listing, but here are three quick, tested tips to help you sell your boat quickly:

  1. List your boat on the right platform by considering boating marketplaces first
  2. Add a detailed description, including engine hours, electronics, upgrades, trailer, and regular maintenance performed
  3. Include high-definition photos and include a video to enhance your listing

Check out more listing tips in our 7 tips to help sellers close a deal article.

When considering selling platforms, social marketplaces may sound convenient, but they are often less focused, with a diluted boating audience. These sites have a lot of yard sale noise and are less likely to have serious boat buyers. As stated by Boat Trader, the portal’s rate of overall lead conversion is 19.4%, meaning that 1 out of every 5 leads converts to a boat sale.

High-quality images are really important when selling a boat, so include many photos or videos at many different angles. In addition, consider offering live video walk-throughs with potential buyers, and try to schedule video chats back-to-back to save yourself time.

Why Sell A Boat Now?

In summary, demand for used boats is very high, but supply is low. You can reach the largest audience by selling on a specialized targeted website, keeping in mind that boat searches on Boat Trader are up 55% over last year, where an impressive 75% of privately listed boats sell within 12 weeks. Learn more at www.boattrader.com/sell/.

Written by: Jennifer Burkett

Jenny is an avid boater who has worked in the marine industry for years. She developed a fondness for trawlers during her tenure at Kadey-Krogen Yachts and has an affinity for life-on-the-water, contributing articles regularly to Boat Trader, YachtWorld and boats.com. Originally from Chicago, she made her way to Maryland to escape the bone-chilling winter temperatures of the Midwest and to be close to the coastline. She's made Kent Island her home—a location that makes enjoying the Chesapeake Bay a part of her daily life.


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