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How to Sell a Boat in BC


Calibre Yacht Sales is in the business of selling boats. However, not all boat owners want to contract with a yacht broker to sell their boat, and we understand that.

We work with both sellers and buyers similarly to how realtors work with their clients. If we can help you sell your boat, we hope to help you find your new one. With this in mind, we have created this “How to Sell Your Boat” outline. On it, you will find the steps required to execute the sale of your boat successfully.

First, let’s remember that boats are an emotional buy, so you want to appeal to people’s feelings when they step aboard your boat. Ideally, you want your potential buyers to feel, “Wow, we just have to have this boat!”

So here we go.

10 Steps To Selling a Boat in BC

1: Determine the price

Understand that the market establishes the value of your boat, not what you think you should get for it.

  • The best way to do this is to review boats currently for sale on Yacht World, that are the same make, model, and year
  • If possible, provide a ten-year comparison of realized prices—asking price versus sold price—in multiple markets.
  • Also check out craigslist using the same process.
  • Between these two and other marketplace platforms (e.g., boatdealers.ca, marketplace, used.com, etc.), you should get a good idea of Fair Market Value (FMV) for your boat.

— Establish your negotiation margin

  • People always like to negotiate, so we recommend listing your boat at 10% over what you would like to make. Going higher than FMV +10%, people may often dismiss it, concluding that you will be hard to work with and move on to the next listing.

2: Clean and prepare the boat

— Remove all personal belongings

  • When people are viewing your boat, they want the feeling of being on their boat. If they see too many of your belongings, there may be a sense of intruding, which is not welcoming.

— Clear the galley countertops of all appliances

  • Nothing on the counters at all. It’s OK to have items in cupboards and lockers. They’ll just imagine it’s their belongings in there.
  • It is strongly recommended to have a vase of flowers somewhere in the salon.
  • Set the table with a full setting for two, placemats, nice dinner wear, cutlery, and crystal glasses and a small vase with one or two flowers in it.

— Prepare the sleeping quarters with clean, taught covers

  • A nice duvet and accenting throw cushions will help considerably.
  • Make sure that the port lights and hatches are open (unless you’re in a hurricane).

— Clean the head(s) and shower(s)

  • Make sure that the heads sparkle.
  • If there is any odor at all, that is a deal killer. Empty the holding tank and treat with vinegar.

— Put clean hand towels and new toilet paper in the head, ensuring that they are nicely folded and preferably new. You can afford them since you’re not paying exorbitant broker fees.

— Clean and polish windows and chrome, and why not oil the teak while you’re at it. Remember, boats are an emotional buy. Looking show room clean and smelling wonderful will go a long way to a successful offer.

— Hull and Deck need to be organized and clean:

  • Make sure that the fenders are clean, especially the bottoms that may be hanging in the water. You don’t want your buyers thinking that you’re in the mussel farming business (unless, of course, you are).
  • Make sure that the decks are clear of all clutter. Everything in its place.
  • It is imperative that the engine space sparkles. An untidy and dirty engine space reflects poor maintenance. If they can see the lack of maintenance, they will question what’s going on with what they can’t see.

— Prepare the boat to a ‘ready to leave the dock’ status

  • We suggest that you don’t even start the engines until you have an accepted written offer. A written offer with a deposit reflects intent and commitment. Now you can start the engines, and even take them for a sea trial.
  • Oh yes, when you get to that point, make sure that the engines start, and when they do, they’re not going to engulf them in smoke.

3: Photography and video

— Shoot photography and upload it to the selling platforms (details following)

  • Shoot from low angles
  • Make sure that you have lots of light for the photoshoot and bring additional lighting if needed.
  • Be careful about catching yourself taking the picture in mirrors.
  • Shoot video and upload it in workable formats for the selling platforms.
  • The higher the quality of photography and video, the higher value perception of your boat.

4: Upload onto digital platforms

— Marketplace
— Craigslist
— Kijiji
— Used Victoria, Vancouver, Nanaimo, etc.

5: Respond to enquiries

— The faster, the better
— Walk buyers through the boat
— Ensure everything is in proper working order

6: Inspections

— For your legal protection, the buyer should arrange a survey with the surveyor of their choice
— A mechanical inspection should be carried out
— An oil analysis is recommended
— A dry land inspection should be carried out

7: Offer

— Have a written offer produced, so both parties are clear on the terms
— Counter the offer if necessary—similar to a real estate negotiation
— Agree to the price and terms and prepare a sales agreement
— Agree to the method of payment
— Agree to fuel status upon transfer of ownership

8: Legal

— Upon receipt of payment, transfer ownership of the vessel through Transport Canada or Ships Registry

9: Moorage

— Know the status of your moorage for potential buyers—can you transfer it?
— Know the cost of your moorage for potential buyers

10: Prepare the boat for transfer

— Remove all personal belongings
— Clean the boat to the level it was while showing it
— Execute fuel requirements as agreed to

For more information, or to learn more about our services selling and buying boats, please feel free to
contact us at:
Phone: 250 716 2022
Email: info@calibreyachts.com