What To Look For When Buying or Selling Your Sailboat

A little while ago I was on a sailing forum, and one of its members was trying to sell their sailboat and needed feedback about it. She had posted her sailboat on her own website which she bought and created for this specific purpose. That led to the question: What information do you need to put with your ad if you are selling your boat, and what information should you as a buyer want to know before purchasing your sailboat? Here are some tips we have found helpful as buyer, and what you need to know as a seller.

What to Look for if you are


I cannot stress this enough, the more you know about the boat, the better prepared you will be for what kind of investment you are getting into. We all know that no boat is perfect and no matter what, you  will have to make some repairs and spend some money on it in the future. The more you understand where your boat has been, who it’s previous owners were, and what repairs and maintenance they have done the better off you’ll be. Here’s a checklist of the specific information you’ll be looking for.

If you are buying your boat locally, it might be a good idea to take it for a test drive. Ask the current owner to take you out for a couple of hours sail. That way he can show you how it works on the water and you can get a better idea of what you are stepping into. Every boat has its own quirks, it’s best to know what they are before you buy.

Ask around. Ask anyone you know if they know of someone selling their boat. Some of the best boat deals go down without ever seeing an ad.

If You Are Selling your Sailboat-

AS MUCH INFORMATION AS POSSIBLE! Include These Items in your Ad:

  • Age and Condition of Various Sails and Equipment
  • Maintenance Done and Large Ticket Items Purchased/installed/replaced on the boat
  • Misc. Items and Equipment included with the boat
  • Lots of Pictures: inside and out from every angle, close ups of motor, sail, helm, etc.

If Possible include some line drawings of the boat showing the configuration, keel/rudder shape, and interior layout.

Also, make sure your price, and contact information are big and bold. Boat buyers want to know up front what their investment will be, there is no use in trying to hide your price and drop it on a buyer half way through the deal.

Make sure you are upfront with your reasons for selling the boat, and talk it up! Remember you are in sales mode, now’s not the time to be shy!


Here are some links we found useful as good places to check for sailboats of all kinds out on the market.

USA Sailboats for sale


SailNet Classifieds

SailingForums.com Classifieds

Scuttlebutt Classifieds: 25′ and Under

For Our Utah/Idaho Sailors

KSL Classifieds

For Our Sailors Around the World



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  1. thanks so much for sharing such a useful post.

    1. getwet says

      Glad you enjoyed it. ~gws

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