When selling a boat, it’s vitally important to reach the most-qualified audience, otherwise you may be wasting your valuable time. You’ll need to find a strong marketplace of serious buyers and then create a well-crafted online advertisement with local, national, or even international reach.
Below we’ve put together a guide of the best places to sell your boat. The efficacy of these sites will depend on the kind of boat you are selling. For example, Craigslist may not be the best place to list a multi-million dollar yacht – though you can certainly try! Keep in mind that the best places to sell your boat are often the best places to buy your next boat.
Top websites for selling a boat online
Long before the Internet was even a thing, Boat Trader was the go-to place to sell a boat. Boat Trader reaches more than 6 million unique visitors per month, with powerful search tools for buyers, which, ultimately, benefits sellers. Listings start at $59, and the website delivers over 75,000 boat buyer leads each month – of which, 1 in 5 will ultimately purchase a boat.
Research shows that paid classified ads generally deliver 10 times the exposure of free ads because they offer more options for marketing your boat – including guaranteed exposure, longer run times, larger ads and photos and videos. Further, paid classifieds make it clear to potential buyers that the seller is serious about selling their boat, and as a result, consumers feel more confident in their shopping experience.
boats.com features more than 120,000 boats for sale in 146 countries around the globe — the biggest collection of boats online! Plus the site hosts thousands of boat reviews, how-to stories on maintenance, water sports, engine tech and entertainment – all of which attract qualified boat buyers. Classified listings start at just $30.
Many consider boats.com the leading authority for boat shoppers and owners, as it provides the largest global search engine in the recreational marine market. The website represents OEMs, dealers, and brokers worldwide and reaches 2 million boat shoppers per month, delivering over 20,000 leads.
On YachtWorld, nearly 3,000 international brokerages list more than 100,000 boats. YachtWorld provides a platform where you can sell your yacht thorough a broker, which makes it the premier site for buyers. Listings require that you list and sell your boat through a yacht broker.
The next group of web outlets for selling your boat are the second tier, the B team. Call them the also-rans. These sites might work for you because they have enough users to make it worthwhile, but they’re not specifically oriented toward selling boats.
Craigslist is notorious for attracting fraudulent buyers and sellers so beware and advertise your boat here with a healthy dose of caution and cynicism. The larger your boat, the lower your odds of selling it on a website like Craigslist. Craigslist is not necessarily the place for high-rollers looking for a nice big yacht to circumnavigate the globe. A 20-year-old runabout or a knackered Hobie Cat is another matter – those could potentially find a serious, well-intentioned boat buyer on Craigslist.
Nextdoor.com is a good place to post an ad for a lost cat or some old furniture you’d like to get rid of, so it might work for selling a boat. Now, Nextdoor is reeaallly local to where you live, so it doesn’t cast a wide net. But one never knows if your neighbor is looking for a boat.
That brings us to Facebook Marketplace, which I wouldn’t even recommend if it weren’t free. At least Billionaire CEO Mark Zuckerberg won’t collect a dime from your selling price. You can find all kinds of things on Facebook Marketplace and it does have a search function for buyers to find a boat – but that’s about as deep as it goes. Buyers cannot search by length or brand or by use, so filtering is limited and the experience often leaves much to be desired.
Remember, an old-fashioned “For Sale” sign should also accompany all of the above. Your boat is often in the presence of other boaters – whether it’s in the water, on the trailer or in storage. Boaters are in all of those places and there’s no telling which of them might like to own a boat just like yours.
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in March 2018 and updated in July 2019.
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