Selling your boat may sound like a hassle, but we encourage you not to delay. Boats, like cars, lose their value every year. The longer you wait to sell your classic boat, the less money you can expect to receive in exchange, even if your boat is still in great shape. Fortunately, when you work with an experienced listing broker like Absolute Classics, selling your boat quickly and for a fair price may not be as challenging as you think. Then you can put that money towards an even better boat or anything else you like.

Absolute Classics is the prime place to list your boat where true boat lovers can find it. Those most passionate about boats are also those most likely to pay top dollar for your craft. Our site can help you quickly find or sell classic, vintage, and luxury boats for great prices. We sell many quality brands, including Century and Chris Craft. Let us list your vintage boat, and we'll take care of the rest.

Getting Started

Get started by doing your research before you list a boat for sale. Research takes time, but the payoff will be worth it if you can get a fair price for your vintage boat quickly, easily, and without paying a high brokerage fee to advertise your boat.

Determining Prices

Compare your boat against others of its age and check the prices that similar vessels sell for. The most important part of selling your boat is ensuring you are not pricing it too high or too low. Aim for the highest price possible without overselling your boat for much more than it's worth. It's unlikely you will be able to sell a boat for the total price you bought it for unless you own a classic boat in excellent condition and you can trade it to someone with an eye for vintage boats. Competitive pricing is a must!

Listing Your Boat

Additionally, we recommend researching all boat listing services before investing your time, energy, and money into them. Search for a listing site that doesn't charge you much for boat storage, if at all. If the broker listing your boat charges for storage, they may profit more if they do not sell your boat quickly. This is counterintuitive to your goals, so we recommend choosing a reliable seller who takes commissions after your boat sells instead of before. Doing so will guarantee their interest in selling your vintage boat at the best price.

Only sell boats on a listing site you trust, and you will find that consumers trust them too. If you can't find much information on a company, we don't advise you to list a boat with them. A sketchy website is not likely to attract the consumers you're looking for, so take the time to find a high-quality site that proudly displays its boats and their prices.

Absolute Classics lists thousands of classic boats for owners who live in the United States and Canada. Listing your quality watercraft for sale on our site is free of charge, and your listing can stay active as long as you like; only pay a commission fee once your boat sells. You can also sell your boat offline to another party if you receive a fantastic offer and easily remove your listing freely from our site. We don't require exclusive access to host your listing. Read more about our commission structure on our boat listing page.

Prepping Your Boat

Know your boat! Every classic boat is unique, especially when the vessel is obviously lovingly used or has been recently upgraded. Used boats may vary in paint quality, motor size, sails, and more. If you've made notable upgrades to your craft, you may be able to sell it for more than a used boat that hasn't been well cared for. We always suggest maintaining your boat with the appropriate repairs and servicing. Do your research and ask boat listing experts for additional pricing advice.

Remember, including good photos with any online listing will make all the difference in how willing someone is to pay your asking price. If you can display your vessel as a luxury boat, you are more likely to sell it quickly and for top dollar.

Your Audience

Many people looking to buy a boat are searching for a reliable vehicle they can use for leisure on a lake or ocean. Consider the features that leisure-seekers may look for and see if your boat compares. For example, someone who is looking for a classic boat for fishing may prefer:

  • A quiet motor
  • Fishing rod holders
  • Plenty of shade
  • Storage space to keep fish cool
  • Sailboats instead of motorboats

Meanwhile, someone who is looking for a recreational vehicle for play may consider:

  • A speedy craft
  • A strong boat that can pull boards or tubes
  • Storage space for towels and life vests
  • Comfy seating for many people
  • Motorboats instead of sailboats

Some people seek an old boat they can restore as a personal project, as a sense of pride, or because they believe it to be more affordable. This audience may be ideal for your boat if you:

  • Own a classic boat collecting dust in your garage
  • Have a vintage boat that is still functional but may benefit from some touch-ups
  • Are looking to sell your boat that's growing older so you can spend your money on a brand new boat you can upgrade

Absolute Classics can help you determine the best audience for your classic boat. Once you find the ideal audience for the sale of your boat, we will ensure it gets listed in front of the right people at the most appropriate time of year. We believe that we can help you sell a boat quickly and easily at minimal risk (or cost) to you. 

Type of Boat

The type of boat you want to sell can also significantly affect the price you may be able to ask for. Typically, sailboats are cheaper to buy and maintain than motorboats. Be especially cautious about upgrading your sailboat with expensive add-ons before selling it. Many people choose sailboats because they are simple, quiet boats. Adding too many upgrades to a sailboat will make it more complex to pilot which could be a turn-off to interested buyers. Those browsing for vintage boats are much more likely to purchase a simple, old-fashioned sailboat over a modern ship.

Boat Upgrades

Upgrading your boat can add considerable personal value to it, primarily if you use the boat you upgraded. One of the important things to remember when you list a boat is that there is no guarantee your buyer will find enough value in the upgrades to pay the price for them on the sale end of things. Potential buyers may love the vintage look of your boat but dislike the additions you've included. Your buyer may own electronics that are incompatible with the systems you've installed, meaning some upgrades may hold no value to them.

We recommend keeping your boat in excellent condition where ever possible, but be cautious before you invest your money in upgrades. Upgrade your craft only when choosing upgrades for your own personal use on the water. Don't pour all your savings into boat upgrades in the hopes that you can make that money back once your boat sells because you may walk away disappointed.

Pricing Your Boat

Our team will work with you to ensure you sell your boat the way you want to sell it. If your hope is to sell your boat quickly and you are willing to negotiate the price, we can help you locate the best offer in your desired range. Alternatively, if you are happy to hold onto your boat until someone meets your requested price, we can find a buyer willing to meet the price you're asking.

Remember, the actual value of your classic boat is whatever a potential buyer is willing to pay for it. If you've kept your boat in excellent condition, it is much more likely to sell for a higher price than a similar boat in a poor repair, but this is not always true. Availability is a crucial factor to consider; someone looking for a water boat may look at only the boats close to their location without searching for other options online. Other people may browse only the crafts on the first few pages of available listings. Make your boat attractive to browsers by taking high-quality photos of it. Work with listing sites to target potential buyers in your area.

It is always best to keep the time of year in mind when selling your boat, as supply and demand may influence the money you can expect to get. If you hope to sell your boat for an excellent price, stick firmly to the number you're asking for. When you list with Absolute Classics, you can feel confident that we can handle the negotiations firmly, so you won't need to feel uncomfortable or backed into a corner. We can assist you in placing your boat listing in front of more motivated buyers than you will be able to reach if your unlisted boat stays in your yard.

The Best Time to Sell Your Boat

The best time to sell a classic boat is from late winter to early summer when people are preparing for their summer adventures. In other words, you will likely fetch the most interest and highest prices between February and June. If you wait until mid-summer to list your boat for sale, you may find that not as many people are looking for watercraft anymore, which can lead to your boat selling at a much lower price.

Consider the market carefully and list your craft when demand is high. Doing so will help you take home the best price for your luxury boat.

Final Preparations

When you are ready to post your boat listing, clean it thoroughly and stage it well for the optimal photo-taking experience. You don't need to stress yourself by repairing or upgrading every aspect of your boat. However, it would be best if you took the time to fix any noticeable damage that may turn potential buyers away. Aesthetic upgrades are essential to selling your vintage boat for your desired price. However, the function is the most crucial aspect of a boat, as no one wants to find themselves in the center of a lake when they realize their sails or motors are unreliable.

Before you remove your things from your boat so you can take staging photos, we recommend you take your craft out for one last trip. Running through all the steps of launching, steering, and using your boat is the best way to assess for damage before you turn it over to a buyer.


Wash your boat thoroughly before you take staging photos. The cleaning process should include scrubbing the exterior and sweeping the interior. Scrutinize your boat's hull with care so you can remove any lingering grime. If you don't clean your boat before listing it, you may not be able to sell it for the price you are looking for. Potential buyers may be more reluctant to pay the full amount if your craft does not look like a luxury boat that has been well cared for.


To list your boat, you need to stage it for the display pictures. Properly staging your boat will require you to unload your personal possessions first. Doing so helps establish the equipment that does and doesn't come with your boat. If you plan to buy a brand new ship with the profits from selling the old, you will most likely want to keep surfboards, wakeboards, tubes, ropes, and life vests. If you are planning to retire from the boating life entirely, we recommend you sell your additional boating items separately. Absolute Classics lists boats, most of them without boards or life vests. Pricing a water craft without extra items helps you receive the fairest price.

Take high-quality photos to depict your craft as a luxury boat. When you stage your boat, you should always post pictures that help potential buyers feel they can make themselves at home easily.

You can rely on an experienced boat listing site like Absolute Classics to help you negotiate the best price on your luxury motor boats and sailboats.