Had a good summer sailing and want to upgrade next year? Or circumstances have changed and you need to downsize? Whatever the reason you need to sell, now is the time to prepare your boat to achieve the price you want in a reasonable time scale

There are 3 key principles to selling your boat:

  • Promotion of the boat to the widest possible audience·
  • A realistic price
  • Good presentation

Promotion of the boat to the widest possible audience

Advertising needs to be seen by as many people in your target market as possible – a good way to achieve this is by placing the details of your boat on one of the small number of specialist boat brokerage websites that have high traffic. Boatshed.com currently has in excess of 600,000 customers registered on their website, so is a good place to start!

It is also important to ensure that your boat sale is visible locally. Brokers are often where potential buyers look first and this is where Boatshed Falmouth comes in – although Boatshed is fundamentally an online brokerage based in Falmouth, I have the advantage of being mobile and have a presence in several sailing venues around the Cornish coast. These include Helford, Falmouth, Mylor, St Mawes and Fowey on the South Coast, as well as Rock on the North coast! I can provide the local brokerage expertise giving hands on personalised service, placing adverts in strategic local sites and listing and viewing all the boats.

Before you sell your boat you need to provide evidence that the boat is actually yours to sell, ideally by showing buyers a complete trail of bills of sale leading back to when the boat was new, including a VAT receipt. In addition, the boat must be sold free of encumbrances – unpaid charges and bills such as repairs carried out by a boatyard and mooring fees.

In addition if your boat was new after June 1998, it must comply with the Recreational Craft Directive (RCD) and should have a compliance folder and operating manual. It should also be marked with a CE plate, usually in the cockpit near the transom.

I can help you with these details and keep an electronic record of them to show potential buyers. This can help to give buyers confidence as, since I follow the standard BMF process, it will make for a safe sale with no comebacks, including a secure transfer of funds.

A realistic price

Many boat owners make the mistake of trying to achieve too high a price. Unfortunately the longer a boat takes to sell the more the boat will incur mooring, insurance and maintenance costs. A quick sale eliminates these costs.

Brokers have a better understanding of the market than anyone and have data to base it upon. Falmouth Boatshed has access to Boatshed's global records spanning a decade of boat sales worldwide - their knowledge of the prices that boats achieve is unparalleled; don't ignore your brokers’ advice on this!

A boat that is advertised at a fair price will attract the all-important flow of viewings from the outset. It could also ensure a sale pretty close to the asking price, whereas an optimistic price is eventually heavily discounted resulting in a disappointing end value.


This is really up to you and now is the time to start sprucing up your decks! First impressions are vital – if decks are dirty and the boat untidy, buyers will extend their initial assessment to the boat as a whole, assuming it has not been cared for in general.

It is much more difficult to attract a buyer with these types of images and your boat is likely to remain for sale, often allowing it to further deteriorate and loose value.

When I list your boat I will take up to 80 photos (and possibly a 30 second video), and I will try and portray her in the best way possible but I do need to offer buyers a completely accurate portrayal. It is up to you to prepare your boat to stand out from the crowd! If you don’t have time to do it yourself, a decent valet will recover its cost several times over. This is something that I can also advise on.

So now you have it – it's the first week of September – 6 weeks to sort her out before laying up!

Contact Chris Fuller at Boatshed Falmouth (or phone me on 07961782997) for more information on valuing or selling you boat

This article has been written by Chris Fuller, the owner of Falmouth Boatshed covering the Cornwall area within the Boatshed Global network.