Outdoors - 13 min read

8 Best Places to Buy Used Boats (Sailing Clubs, Marinas & More!)

Betty Nelson

Betty Nelson, Updated October 8, 2022

With a boat, you can undertake many fun activities. You can go cruising, tubing, fishing, diving, swimming, and even overnight camping. However, purchasing a boat can be relatively expensive.

You can spend less on purchasing a boat if you opt for a used one. While you have many options, you should only consider the best places to buy used boats. Sailing clubs, boat yards, marinas, and Craigslist are some of the best options you have. You’ll find various boat types to choose from in these places.

A new 20-inch boat could cost as much as $40,000 to $60,000, depending on the manufacturer. On the other hand, you can get a used boat of the same size for around $10,000 to $20,000.

Since price is always the determining factor when making such a purchase, it’s understandable why you’d want to opt for a used boat. Hence, price is the main advantage of purchasing a used boat over a new one.

However, the primary disadvantage of getting a used boat is that you’re not always sure of what you’re getting. You won’t know what the boat was previously used for. To lessen this risk, you should only buy from trusted places.

1. Boatyards

If you’re more comfortable making an offline purchase than an online one, you can visit a boatyard. In fact, it’s the safest option for purchasing a used boat, which is why it’s number one on this list.

Boatyards typically offer exterior and interior boat repairs. They handle refitting, refinishing, refurbishment, and restoration services, to name a few. Most of the time, the owners who bring their boats for such repairs want to sell them afterward.

You can do research to figure out the best boatyards in your area that you can visit. They are all over the United States. A quick Google search should provide you with a list of boatyards near you.

Buying from a boatyard is one of the safest options because you get to meet experts. Surely, anyone who repairs boats will know a lot about how they operate. Hence, they can advise you on which make and model is suitable for what you have in mind.

Furthermore, some boatyards have online websites where you can find used boats for sale. Usually, you’ll have to select your price range, boat length, and any other advanced feature you want the boat to have.

Note that if you’re purchasing a used boat from a boatyard, confirm that the boat owner is aware of the sale. You can request a bill of sale, for example, unless the boat belongs to the boatyard.

2. Sailing Clubs

Sailing clubs are another ideal spot for purchasing used boats. It’s easier and more convenient if you’re a member of the club. Notably, you should consider big sailing clubs if you want to explore more options.

While some sailing clubs are relatively small groups, others are full organizations with a clubhouse. From time to time, they organize activities like cruiser, sheltered harbor sailing, dinghy hire, and keelboat and dinghy racing.

With this, you should expect to find large boats – like live-in boats – when you visit a sailing club to buy a used boat. Also, you’ll usually be doing business with the boat owner directly. As a result, you could spend a lot cheaper as there’s no middleman.

If the boat owner has made up his or her mind to sell their boat, they’ll readily accept a lower-than-market price. However, doing business directly with a private seller can be risky as you have no warranty should something go wrong.

Nevertheless, you can avoid this by asking the right questions. Sailing clubs often have their clubhouse at the harbor where the boats are parked. You can talk to the harbor master to have an idea of boats in the best condition for purchase.

3. Marinas

Marinas are similar to sailing clubs. However, anyone can visit a marina as a client or tenant. On the other hand, sailing clubs require membership. Nevertheless, you can purchase used boats from either in alike fashion.

When you visit a marina, you’ll find some boat owners who want to sell their boats. You can also find used boats for sale if you visit the marina’s website. However, you’ll ultimately still need to visit the marina.

You can easily spot the boats for sale at the marina with their notice boards in the parking garage. You can negotiate with the owner of the marina or the private seller, depending on who’s in charge of the sale.

Marinas are one of the best places to buy used boats because you can negotiate a deal on the spot. Also, you may not need to move the boat anywhere. You can simply pay a small additional fee for a parking spot.

Furthermore, you can test the boat before you make the purchase. Some marinas will allow you to rent boats for different activities. Hence, you can try the boat a couple of times to confirm it’s what you want.

4. Craigslist

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Craigslist is an advertising website where you can purchase almost anything, including used boats. You’ll find ads for relatively affordable boats when you browse the website or use the mobile app.

You can buy used boats on Craigslist, irrespective of your location. By default, the website will load to show only items in your region. For example, if you’re in New York, you’ll be redirected to newyork.craigslist.com when you visit the website.

You can simply find the type of boat you want to buy using the search bar. You can search for queries like “cruiser boat,” “yacht,” and others. Once you see what you’re looking for, click on the add to visit the product page.

You’ll find all the necessary information about the used boat on the product page. Importantly, you should check the boat’s condition, manufacturer, model, and year to be sure they match.

If you opt to buy a used boat on Craigslist, avoid making a payment over the internet. You should buy from a seller close to you and visit them to examine the product before concluding the sale.

Craigslist doesn’t back any transaction on the website, so you are solely responsible if anything goes wrong.

5. Facebook Marketplace

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Facebook remains the most used social media platform. The platform launched a native marketplace in 2016, which has now become a go-to for many of its users.

If you have a Facebook account, you can start searching for a good used boat to buy on the marketplace right away. One of the advantages of this option is that it’s easy to use.

You can access the Facebook marketplace directly from the Facebook app. Afterward, simply search for “used boats,” and you’ll get a plethora of options. You can filter the options to only show offers in your locality for the best results.

Other available filters include price, date listed, type, year, make, body style, fuel type, mileage, and other vehicle features. With all of these, you can easily get the exact type of boat you need.

All sellers on the Facebook marketplace have Facebook accounts. Therefore, you can message them and begin negotiations with a single click. Usually, there’s an option for you to send a quick offer to the seller.

You can type in the particular amount you wish to buy the boat or select a percentage reduction. Note that Facebook doesn’t allow payment on the marketplace. As a result, you would need to discuss a preferred payment method with the seller.

Before making payment, don’t forget to confirm that the boat is in good condition.

6. Boattrader / Yachtworld

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Boattrader is a popular online marketplace for purchasing used boats. You can access it via the web or download the mobile app.

You’ll find different types of boats up for sale on the website. These include bay boats, cruisers, dive boats, jet boats, kayaks, mega yachts, and motor yachts, to name a few. Likewise, you’ll find boats from different manufacturers.

By default, Boattrader reads your location and lists used boats for sale close to you. When you find the right boat, you can call the seller or drop them a message via a contact form. Boattrader also lists the seller’s address should you want to pay them a visit.

Another popular website where you can purchase used boats is Yachtworld. Yachtworld boasts the largest database of boats and yachts for sale. Hence, you’ll find any type of used boat you want on the website.

Like Boattrader, Yachtworld is also available as a mobile app. You’ll find all the necessary details you need to know about the boat and the seller on the website. As a result, purchasing used boats on Yachtworld is straightforward.

7. Classified Ads

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Used boats classified ads are all over the internet. However, this option specifically refers to Classifiedads.com – a website where you’ll find an abundance of classified ads.

Classified Ads is open to everyone. Anyone can sign up on the website and post ads. However, you don’t need an account to buy used boats on the website.

All you have to do is visit the website and search for the type of boat you require. Afterward, go through the list of ads until you find a suitable deal. Alternatively, you can select “Boat & Watercraft” from the filter options.

Note that Classified Ads don’t sell used boats. The website will only redirect you to the seller’s website, where you’ll make all necessary negotiations. Therefore, the purchasing process after searching for ads will vary.

Nevertheless, most of the ads on Classified Ads link to marketplaces, with simple purchasing processes. You’ll find all details about the used boat when you switch to the seller’s website.

8. Dealers

In the US, you’ll find lots of boat dealers. These dealers can help you purchase your dream used boat for the right price. By extension, you can also seek the services of yacht brokers if you need a yacht.

With a quick search on Google, you can find boat dealers and yacht brokers close to you. They can be a company or an individual. However, most often than not, boat dealers are companies, even if not large-scale ones.

Some have online listings where you can check for available boat types. Otherwise, you’ll have to contact the dealer. Typically, you’ll get the boat dealers’ address, phone number, and email from your Google Search.

With this contact information, you can reach the dealer or broker and reach a deal. Most of these dealers offer in-shop pick-up and shopping. Therefore, you’ll ultimately need to visit their store to inspect and purchase the used boat.

Like the other places on this list, you should only make payment after confirming the used boat is in good condition.

Can you Find a Cheaper Boat Overseas?

Many people consider used boats in the US to be expensive. Hence, they check for cheaper options in other countries. In truth, there are some places where you can purchase cheaper used boats other than the US, especially in European countries.

However, you’re at risk of paying more on transportation fees to ship the boats into the US. Shipping a boat is always expensive, even if you use the major shipping ports.

Nevertheless, if you’re bent on it, here are some top oversea countries you may want to consider.

Croatia

Croatia may not be an extremely popular country compared to the likes of France, Spain, and the UK. However, it’s a more affordable country, and you can find some cheap used boat deals in the country.

According to Yachtworld, you can purchase boats in Croatia for as low as $15,665. However, you can get even cheaper options. For example, you can get a yacht line boat for under $8,000, while a SlimJets seller for a little higher.

You can browse for cheap used boats in Croatia on not only Yachtworld but also Boattrader and other similar websites.

Greece

There’s a wide range of used boat prices in Greece, including some unbelievably cheap ones. You can find such cheap offers on websites like Boat24, TheYachtMarket, and YachtWorld.

However, note that the Greek used boat market has mainly high-end boats. You may not be able to purchase smaller boats like kayaks. Most of the available options are sailboats and powerboats.

On the other hand, the cheapest boats you’ll find in the local American market are kayaks and deck boats. Nevertheless, you’ll find boats from popular manufacturers like Crownline, Glastron, Vancouver 27, and Gallat, to name a few, in the Greek market. You can purchase these boats at affordable prices under $10,000.

What is the Cheapest Month to Buy a Boat?

Like those in other industries, boat costs tend to drop in the winter and autumn months. During this period, manufacturers often release new boat models. As a result, they offer attractive discounts, which people rush to purchase.

Consequently, people who purchase new months during this period will want to sell off their used boats. As a result, whether you’re looking for a new or used boat, you usually get the finest deals in the fall. 

Furthermore, if you purchase a boat in the autumn, you may utilize the whole off-season to equip it with all the features you want. Another benefit is having plenty of time to prepare the boat for the upcoming boating season.

Nevertheless, you should still be careful during this period. Not all “great offers” are great. It is usually if the boat price seems too good to be true. The bottom line is that there is no bad time to purchase a boat. The perfect time is whenever you’re up for some exciting water-based activities. 

So, Where’s the Best Place to Buy a Used Boat?

Buying a pre-owned boat can help you save money. Even though there will be a lot of locations to choose from, you should narrow your search to the top used boat dealers.

The article explains that the best places to buy used boats are boat yards, sailing clubs, marinas, Craigslist, Facebook marketplace, and Boattrader or Yachtworld. You can also buy from oversea countries like Croatia, Greece, Turkey, and St. Martin.

Furthermore, you may find cheaper options outside the country. However, purchasing your used boat in the US is often a better idea. That way, you can easily confirm that the boat works before paying. Also, you’ll save yourself extra costs incurred by shipping and clearing.

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