Why right now is a great time to buy — or sell — a boat


(BPT) - Whether you're looking to buy your first boat, upgrade your current boat or you simply want to sell, today's market for previously owned boats is seeing a lot of movement — with plenty of opportunities for buying as well as selling. While boat-buying peaked during the pandemic, when travel was limited and many sought ways to enjoy the outdoors safely with friends and family, the interest in having fun out on the open water hasn't slowed down, even as travel and other activities have resumed.

Nearly half of the pandemic boating boom buyers are here to stay. According to a study conducted by Boat Trader, over half of private sellers surveyed (56%) bought their current boat during the pandemic. What has happened since then? Out of all the private sellers who purchased boats during the pandemic, almost half (49%) have enjoyed the ride so much that they're looking for a bigger, better boat.

In fact, almost 40% of these current boat owners are looking to upgrade, which means the market is hot for selling larger boats. In addition, you can still get top dollar for smaller boats (under 35 feet), according to the current market index report from Boats Group. In other good news, higher interest rates are not affecting most buyers' boat purchase decisions, as the majority plan to purchase their next vessel with cash.

Who is buying and selling

The accelerated buying and selling of pre-owned boats today provides plenty of options for those looking to upgrade and those moving on to other pastimes. Millennials, who are now between 27 and 40 years old, are the largest generational group planning to upgrade their vessel after making a pandemic boat purchase — 40% of millennials who purchased a boat during the pandemic now plan to upgrade their vessel. As for baby boomers and older boat owners, one-third (33%) of those who bought during the pandemic also plan to upgrade. Among boat owners as a whole, Gen X and baby boomers are doing the most buying and selling overall.

Whether you're a buyer or a seller (or both, if you're upgrading) — what you really need is a great place to list and search.

List to sell fast

Did you know you can list your boat on BoatTrader.com in under three minutes? The site specializes in only boats, and they're the largest boating marketplace in the U.S. — meaning you'll reach the largest number of qualified, interested buyers possible. They have a 30-year history of helping people sell boats, along with dedicated customer service to help sellers at any time.

Because Boat Trader is where highly interested shoppers around the country go to look, you'll generate more leads and can list your boat for a higher price. The 2023 survey found that about 81% of boats listed for sale by owner on the site sell within 12 weeks.

Tips for the best listing include:

  • Take plenty of photos: Aim for 20 photos (as well as a video) of your clean boat, showing the overall look of the boat plus every feature important to buyers, including the engine. Capture all angles, from bow to stern, both in and out of the water.
  • List at an appropriate price: Research what comparable boats are selling for today. You can use Boat Trader's Price Checker Tool to learn the range of listed prices for your boat, including the average, lowest and highest prices.
  • Include lots of detail: Be specific. Use accurate boat builder's specs, minimum draft, exact dimensions, onboard equipment, engine hours, tank capacities, accessories, outfittings and brand names — plus information about maintenance.

You can find more tips and start selling today at BoatTrader.com/sell.

Find your dream boat

Looking to upgrade? Searching for your next vessel is easy and fun on Boat Trader. You can search by features including location, condition, size, type and price range to find the boat of your dreams. You'll be able to access detailed specs on each listing, along with photos and videos, plus information on financing if needed. It's also easy to use the platform to contact the seller during the process. Browse boats for sale, plus outboard motors and engines, boat trailers and more at BoatTrader.com/boats.

Ready to get started? Learn more at BoatTrader.com or download the Boat Trader app on the iOS App Store and Google Play.

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