Selling Your Boat: Making the Most of Online Price Range

So you’re getting ready for one of the two best days of a boater’s life: the day you sell your boat. First, you need to establish a value for the boat. If it was built in a fairly recent model year, you can find values on sites like BUCValu, NADA Guides and, of course,’s Price Checker. Those are solid references, but I like to check asking prices on, too. I think the sites that list values are good, but they often rely on formulas and algorithms to set prices, whereas the asking prices on are more of a “boots on the ground” approach that reflects the current market pretty well.

Online buyers usually choose price ranges when they look at boats. If you wanted to get $75,500 for your Boston Whaler 230 Dauntless, you could set a price up to $75,999 to give yourself more wiggle room in the 70K-80K range.

Online buyers usually choose price ranges when they look at boats. If you wanted to get $75,500 for your Boston Whaler 230 Dauntless, you could set a price up to $75,999 to give yourself more wiggle room in the 70K-80K range.

Zero in on the model years within a year or two of yours. If you’re selling a 2005 model year boat, check the pricing of 2004 and 2006 models too. Be aware of major model changes. A 2006 that was all-new that year will fetch more than your 2005. Be sure your apple compares with the other apples online. Compare the condition and equipment and set a price you’re comfortable with. If you’re willing to negotiate a bit, set it a bit high. Don’t go too high because it might scare off potential buyers.

Now, we all understand the psychology of pricing something at $5,999, but when selling a boat online, that “-99” is actually important in a mechanical way, as well.

True story: I was selling a boat and I wanted $6,500 for it — but no one called. So, I lowered it to $6,250. No one called. $6,100 produced the same results, and weeks passed. I really wanted to get six grand for it — and it was worth it — but I panicked and lowered it to $5,500. The first guy who came and looked at it bought it for the asking price.

So what happened? He was shopping by price. My boat didn’t show up in any of his earlier searches — and he was looking the whole time my boat was listed! It wasn’t until I lowered the price to within his search parameters that it came up. If I had listed it for $5,999, it would have showed up in his searches and I could have insisted on him spending an extra dollar and giving me what I wanted for it.

If your boat is priced above the median asking price for similar boats, you will sell it if it presents well. You may not get all the money out of it you want, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try.

When it’s time to sell, you can use BoatTrader’s For Sale By Owner program. Before plunging right in, though. it will pay to read How to Sell Your Used Boat, which gives time-honored advice on how to prepare both your boat and your online ad to maximize your chances of selling faster and more profitably.




  1. sabrina says:

    I have a 1960 victory sailboat fiberglass everything with it to sales needs a little paint does not have a trailer I want to sell it could you tell me the value

    • Boat Trader says:

      Hi Sabrina. Sorry, that boat is unfamiliar, and it will be hard to find in any value guide these days. Try doing an internet search for other owners to compare notes. Good luck.

  2. Nick says:

    Check with this company. Sometimes they can appraise boat quickly –

  3. Jimmie McCoy says:

    I have a 2009 Sea Ark VFX, in camo 24′ long with 72″ bottom. HD custom trailer with 175 hp Suzuki with jake plate. The boat and motor has less than 120 hrs. It has minor dings on it and I have had lift eyes installed. I have flare set, 9 life jackets, anchor, bumpers, and 36″ throwable. Please give me some idea of what my rig is worth. Thanks

    • Bill says:

      I have a 1999 30 foot donzi zf twin opti max mercurys 225 hp each. (Approximately 500 hours) it does need some electronic updating. Rewired in the last couple of years, new windless anchor system installed. I also have a boat trailer that would go with the sale. Everything for $32,000

  4. Bret Ranalli says:

    Looking for a Donzi 22ft runabout in good shape

  5. Perry says:

    I have a 19 foot Searay Pleasure boat that I would like to sell, along with the trailer. It has a 265 hp inboard/outboard motor. Approximately 140 hours on the motor and it was tuned and cleaned at
    100 hours. It runs really good, handles great and is ideal for tubing, skiing or swimming. It has
    seating for 8. The boat has a cover and the trailer is in good condition except that the runners need
    new carpet. Can you give me an idea of its worth

  6. Al Hart says:

    We tried using the different guidelines you recommended. We have a 1997 Eliminator Eagle 236 with beautiful blues, red, gray paint with a hull. It is has over 700 hours on it and may start to need work. We keep in in Boulder City, Nevada and it has been regularly maintained by Dunsmore Marine so it runs very well. There are a couple small dock dings and the trailer is somewhat road pitted. The trailer is dual axel with chrome wheels and new tires (last year). It has never been in salt water. What would you consider the worth? Should we put the money into the motor etc. when the time comes or upgrade? We would appreciate your ideas.

  7. I have a 14 ft Stauter Built boat that my late husband and I restored. it is in perfect shape and has a fully restored Wizard all original little motor on it. We bought it in Mobile but I have since moved to AR. I was wondering what I could get for it and how to go about selling it. I also have a matching trailer for it.