In Part 1 how to sell a boat fast, you learned the ins and outs of how to sell a boat fast. Part 2 delves into everybody’s favorite (not!) pastime: Paperwork. Take a few minutes to become familiar with the forms and facts needed to sell your boat fast – whether you sell it yourself or through a boat dealer or yacht broker. Trust us, it’s not as boring as it sounds, and we promise you’ll learn at least three helpful facts.

What Documents Are Required When Selling A Boat?

How to Sell a Boat That is Financed

Selling a boat that is financed is possible if you and the buyer can agree on the terms and conditions.

Much like selling a car you owe money on, the first step to selling a boat that is financed is to find out how much you owe.

Contact your lender and get the payoff balance, then decide if you want to sell your boat yourself or work with a broker or dealer who sells boats for a living.

How to Sell a Boat With a Lien

To sell a boat with a lien, you must first pay off the bank loan.

There are typically three ways to do this:

  1. The seller pays the bank loan and receives a free and clear title in
    approximately 10 days.
  2. The buyer pays the seller for the boat, and the seller uses part of that money to
    pay off the loan balance.
  3. The buyer writes two checks: one to the bank to satisfy the loan and one to
    the seller for the balance of the sale price.

Do You Need a Title to Sell a Boat?

You don’t need a title to sell a boat, but it’s more difficult without one. That’s because a title proves ownership, and lenders usually require proof of ownership before making a loan.

So, unless the buyer is paying cash, not having a title may be a deal-breaker.

If you don’t have a title for your boat, contact your local Department of Motor Vehicles before putting it on the market.

a business man typing numbers into a calculator, How to Sell a Boat Fast - Part 2 | Ultimate Boat Owner Checklist

What Paperwork Is Needed to Sell a Boat?

Best case scenario:

  • Boat Title: You have a title, which provides proof of ownership and assures the buyer that the vessel has not been stolen.
  • Bill of Sale: You also need a bill of sale stating the terms and conditions under which the boat was purchased.
  • Other Documents helpful to close the boat deal: Really want to seal the deal? Consider providing these documents as well: professional marine survey certifying your boat’s condition and real market value, maintenance records and warranty documentation proving there are no outstanding claims against the boat.

How to Sell a Boat Without a Title

Regulations regarding boat titles vary by state. For example, in some states non-motorized boats less than 16 feet long are exempt from titling. Sellers must provide a bill of sale that includes date, price, color, make, model, year and hull ID number. Find out if a notary is required and what, if any, taxes are involved. (Check with local DMV.) Both seller and buyer must sign the bill of sale.

How Much Does It Cost to Sell a Boat?

How much it costs to sell a boat depends on whether you sell it yourself or you sell the boat through a dealer or broker. To make a true comparison, consider the following:

If you go the DIY route, it’s important to factor in your time and expenses for advertising/marketing, website listing fees (some as low as $59), photography/videos (hire a pro), following up on leads and meeting with potential buyers. If you turn the task of selling your boat over to a dealer or broker, you’ll pay a 5 to 10 percent commission on the sale price in exchange for experience, national/international exposure and effective internet marketing.

a luxury yacht in a harbor, How to Sell a Boat Fast - Part 2 | Ultimate Boat Owner Checklist

What Is the Best Website to Sell a Boat?

The best website to sell a boat is the one that reaches your target market. Selling a fishing boat? Place an ad on a website that caters to anglers. Have a high-end luxury yacht for sale? Pick a site frequented by cruising enthusiasts. Make sure the website is reputable and easy to navigate. provides the most comprehensive boating and yachting MLS listings to boat lovers worldwide.

What Is the Best Form of Payment When Selling a Boat?

Just like selling a car or a house, the best form of payment when selling a boat is cash.

With cash, the seller doesn’t have to wait weeks for the buyer to qualify for a loan and to receive payment. And the buyer can immediately begin enjoying the perks of owning a boat.

Do Boats Hold Their Value?

Certain boats hold their value better than others. Classic, high-end and celebrity-owned boats can actually appreciate over time.

On average, however, boats depreciate between 18 and 22 percent the first year and about 36 percent after 10 years.

It’s important to compare manufacturers; just because a boat is expensive doesn’t mean it will hold its value. Regular, routine maintenance is key to preserving your investment.

Do Boats Depreciate Faster Than Cars?

No. Boats typically don’t depreciate faster than cars, mainly because they aren’t used as often. Less wear and tear is the primary reason boats hold their value. However, just like cars, boats depreciate if they aren’t well maintained and if supply outpaces demand.

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