With boat show season in full swing, many people will soon be thinking about adding a new boat to the family. But what about ‘Ol Faithful? You may choose to work with a broker to sell it, trade it in, or forego both and sell it yourself. If you choose the latter, be sure to follow these dos and don’ts.

Selling 101

Do: Take new photos

They don’t say a picture is worth a thousand words for nothing! The photos you choose can make or break the buyer’s decision to contact you to check out the boat in person. This doesn’t mean you need to invest in professional quality photos, but the blurry photos from 2001 probably aren’t going to do the trick. Just think about the kind of photos you find most helpful when shopping for a boat, and snap away.

Don’t: Forget the elbow grease

The folks at Discover Boating agree, don’t neglect key areas of sale prep like cleaning the carpets and giving the engine some basic maintenance attention. Be sure to remove items that won’t be included in the sale, especially any personal items that may be stowed away in cabinets and drawers.

Do: Go where the buyers are

The newspaper may not the best place to advertise your boat like it used to be. Check out sites like similar to Craigslist, boats.com, Boat Trader, or YachtWorld. Even posting a for sale sign on your boat can be an easy, effective tactic—just make sure your marina allows this first.

Don’t: Wait too long

When it comes to selling your boat quickly, putting your boat up for sale right around boat show season (so, right now!) is a great time to pique the interest of prospective buyers.

Unsellable Boats

Do: Find it a good home

If she’s past her prime altogether, posting it for a small price or even free will likely draw the interest of someone willing to take it off your hands. DIY projects are becoming more and more popular, so don’t think there isn’t someone out there who would take an interest. There are also many nonprofits who will take a boat donation no matter the shape it’s in.

Don’t: Dump it

Abandoned boats create legal headaches that can easily be avoided.  A great alternative is to take it to the Lee Hendry County landfill. If you’re coming from Lee County it costs $75.45 per ton and if you are coming from Hendry County it is $72.45 per ton. Be sure to remove all the gas lines, motors, septic tanks and anything else hazardous. They also accept trailers as long as you remove the wheels.

Don’t: Let it sink

If you allow a damaged boat to sink, the hazardous oils and materials onboard can wreak havoc on the environment and the boat itself can become a serious waterway obstruction.

After the Sale

Do: Complete All the Paperwork

After you have the cash in hand and the new owner drives away, you may think you’ve washed your hands of it but, if the new owner doesn’t fill out the proper documentation you could potentially wind up with a nightmare. Boat buying and selling transactions require submitting an HSMV 82050 form with the tax collector’s office. According to Florida Statutes Section 319.22(2), doing so within 30 days of the sale helps you avoid civil liability for the operation of the vessel.

Do: Notarize the bill of sale

A common misconception is that a bill of sale is considered enough documentation to get you off the hook in a legal situation. If you do use a bill of sale during your sale transaction, the DMV recommends getting it notarized. Following the guidelines from the DMV is, of course, the most proper way to ensure they have the most accurate information in their database. The DMV also recommends keeping copies of your form, bill of sale, or any other documentation.

Do: Register your new boat

As if all of this doesn’t give boat owners enough nightmares, not registering a boat in the state of Florida after 30 days of ownership is a second-degree misdemeanor! Legal matters can be a little confusing, so click here for more information to ensure you aren’t accidentally breaking any laws.

Back on the Water Again

Selling your boat can be a chore, but if you spend the time upfront and cover all your bases, you’re more likely to get back out on the water faster! Be sure to check out our Member’s Directory for a vast list of companies that can assist you in whatever stage of the boat selling or buying process you may be in.

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