Ten Top Tips for preparing to list your boat

The decision to listing your boat for sale can be quite an emotional experience. Your boat is a major asset, and it is important that any decision to sell is accompanied by a good plan to represent the boat in the best possible way.

Whether as a buyer or a seller, you want to ensure that you are making the right decision.

First impressions are critical

A prospective buyer will make a lot of assumptions about your boat within the first few minutes of their contact. If a boat looks untidy, cluttered, and dirty. Many buyers will assume that this can be a reflection as to how the critical systems on the boat have been maintained

Poor maintenance on a boat, either actual or perceived, can lead to significant costs and the impression that a boat hasn’t been well maintained can be a major turnoff for a buyer. Alternately, a well-prepared boat can give a buyer confidence from the start. This is ideal.


boats are full of great hiding holes and bench spaces to store the many things that help us make our home away from home. However, clutter takes up space. It makes the boat seem smaller and however tidy we think we are, nothing looks tidier than a clean and clear surface. It opens up the boat and gives an impression of extra space.

Cupboards that are full, tend to look like there is limited storage space. Again, if it looks too full, it provides the impression that you will struggle with storage. The best presentation is a completely clear boat. If that’s not possible, try to take as much off the boat as you can so it looks like there is plenty of room and that what is there is neat and tidy. A well-ordered boat looks well kept.

Make sure things work

You can’t hide things that don’t work. 99 percent of buyers will have a marine survey which will be VERY detailed. Structural and functional. Nothing kills a sale quicker than a negative survey report that looks like there is lots of maintenance required. Many jobs are simple maintenance and can be inexpensive to resolve.

Try and get these done before the boat comes on the market, so when a report does get done, you are only dealing with a few lines. Make sure you try everything. A simple review like checking that all the seacocks can be opened and closed, can identify a challenge which may be fixed with maintenance. Left unattended, it may give the impression that the boat will need to be slipped. These are better resolved in advance. Every surveyor will pick up these types of faults.

Engine Rooms preparation

A clean engine room sends the message that a boat is well maintained. A dirty bilge with oil splashing around, sends warning signals that engine problems could be just around the corner. It will not only be an omen of engine problems, but send the message that all systems, gensets, aircon units, watermakers etc are unlikely to have been well maintained, even if they have been regularly serviced.

Be Ready to present the boat

In real estate, they talk about having flowers on the table and bread cooking in the oven, or a fire set in the fireplace in winter. The equivalent in a boat is ensuring the boat is open, bright and inviting. Your broker should have a procedure to be at your boat well ahead of the prospective buyer. Any window shades drawn back to create maximum light. Windows, hatches and doors open, to make sure the air is fresh and there are no lingering “boat smells”.

If you can stage the boat with some flowers and appropriate decorative pieces that adds value. Beds made with a throw to dress them and maybe a rolled-up towel gives an impression of care and attention.

Subtle scented oil sticks in a bathroom or potpourri can takeaway an otherwise musty smell. Again, try and ventilate bathrooms well.

Good staging really helps make a boat look like your new home.

Consolidate your Manuals, Maintenance Records and Receipts

Your new buyer will want to know that your boat has been maintained. Try and keep service records together with receipts so they can easily audit any work done, giving confidence to the purchaser, and a way to determine when work, especially any major services is likely to be due.

Photography, Video and 3D Walkthroughs

These are strong digital assets for the sale of your boat. A good broker will know how to leverage websites, social media and advanced database tools to get your boat digitally in front of the widest possible audience. That journey will start digitally. Great photography and video content such as 3D walkthroughs, can make you stand out against other listings. A great feature shot will highlight your boat and get immediate attraction.

List your inventory

As part of your listing process your broker will help you list your inventory so your buyer knows what comes with the boat and what is of a personal nature and not included. Dinghies, cutlery and glassware etc are examples of items that may or may not be included in an inventory as they may be transitioning to your next boat. You need to make that clear and ideally, if items aren’t being sold with the boat, then remove them so they don’t become a point of conflict which could interfere with the negotiation.

Choose a good partner/broker

Your Spectrum Marine broker can help guide you through the process and help you maximise your reach and return for your investment. Your broker is not just a tour guide to show your boat. He or she will understand the market for your boat and the best way to access that market to let them know you are there.

Well maintained databases, digital tools and social strategies can rapidly extend your reach. They can also advise on statutory requirements and compliances for a sale and if necessary, recommend trades to resolve issues that need to be rectified on your boat.

They will also help you understand the current market and discuss pricing strategies which balance your desire for the best return.

It starts with a phone call

If you are looking to sell your vessel, place your confidence in someone you can trust. At Spectrum Marine, we can take the worry out of selling boat. Our extensive knowledge of the marine industry will enable us to give you the right advice on how to maximise your return.

The demand for quality vessels is still strong and we are looking for boats to sell at premium prices. Take the unnecessary stress out of selling your boat and let our expert team handle it. We will come up with a solution to ensure best resale value for your boat. And we will guide you with advice to effectively present your boat to potential buyers for optimal results.

Email Spectrum Marine today or call 1300 872 006 for more information.