Selling a Boat with a Broker

If you’re ready to sell your boat or yacht, a key decision you’ll need to make is whether to sell it yourself or through a yacht broker. Fundamentally, if you sell the boat yourself, you won’t need to pay a broker’s commission, but without assistance, it will often take you longer to sell the boat and you may have to settle for a lower price. Generally, sellers work with brokers more often when the boats are newer, larger, and/or more expensive, but there are many other reasons to list boats of all sizes and conditions with a broker.

Why use a yacht broker?

Selling a boat is similar to a real estate transaction—they can become complex and can involve too much risk doing it on your own. Yacht brokers work hard to facilitate the sale of their listings and to protect and promote the interest of their clients, just as a real estate agent will do when you sell your house.


Finding the right yacht broker is essential in the successful sale of your boat.

Along with the most obvious job of managing the communication and information flow, working with a broker provides a number of significant advantages. Brokers have a network of clients and may have a number of buyers in mind right from the start. They know the market well, especially in their specialized segment of it, and they have a solid understanding of how to properly price a boat or yacht.

Another advantage is that working with a broker gets you on the pages of YachtWorld and other top MLS’s. YachtWorld is the largest online photo and video database of new and used power and sailboats for sale, with well over 100,000 listings. YachtWorld services are only available to eligible yacht brokerage firms and dealerships who represent boats for sale on behalf of owners/sellers. is Canada’s leading boat MLS with 1,000’s of users everyday.


What will it cost to use a yacht broker?

Yacht brokers charge a commission when the vessel is sold, and the commission amount will be set in writing when the seller signs a listing agreement with the broker. If another broker brings a buyer to the table through a co-brokerage arrangement, the total commission will normally be shared between the brokers; it should not raise the commission. Many brokers work co-operatively with one another on a co-brokerage basis.


How do you find the right broker?

Choosing the right broker is an important step in selling your boat. Brokers often specialize in boat types, sizes, and geographic regions, so it’s usually best to choose a broker who already represents boats similar to yours, and who operates his or her business close to where your boat is located. Here are some ways to make sure you find the right broker to sell your boat:

• Interview several by phone, email, and in person
• View the presentation of their other listings, and ask yourself: do those listings look like something I would be proud to show to potential buyers?
• Send the broker an email. Do they respond quickly?
• Call the brokerage. Is your call answered promptly?

If you’ve searched for a broker and still aren’t sure who would best represent you, you can list your boat to find a broker. Only brokers will be able to see the listing, and the ones who feel they are a good fit for you and your boat can reach out to you directly.


What will a broker do for the seller?

Yacht brokers can make a sale go more smoothly right from the very beginning of the process. Here are some of the ways a broker will help you sell your boat:


Determine a fair asking price

To ensure a timely sale, it is essential to ask a fair price. A broker can help establish fair-market value for the boat through access to actual sold boat data in, as reported by other brokerage firms. is not available to the public.


Prepare the listing for the public

The broker will prepare the listing for distribution in various online, social media, and print media, for distribution to clients and other brokers, and for distribution to prospects at boat shows, open houses, and walk-in inquiries.


Prepare the boat

The broker will advise you of any improvements that should be made to make your boat competitive in today’s market, identify possible problems and solutions, and help organize upgrades and repairs. The broker may help locate easy-access moorings or storage for the duration of the listing.


Provide professional know-how

Professional brokers will understand the principals of the brokerage profession—things like certificates of ownership, security agreements, bills of sale, and other documents needed to register and transfer titles to boats. They will understand maritime and admiralty liens for the type of vessels they represent, as well as mortgaging and transferring title to documented vessels. They will understand agency contracts, listing agreements, closing statements, deposit requirements, and escrowed accounts to safeguard funds.


Assist with the sea trial and survey

The buyer will usually request a sea trial and the services of a marine surveyor. Buyers pay for the surveys and for hauling the boat out of the water for inspection. Your yacht broker will usually attend the sea trial and marine survey and help you determine how any discovered deficiencies should be addressed in the purchase negotiations.


Employ the art of negotiation

The broker can use his position as a middleman to keep the negotiating between buyer and seller moving toward a successful conclusion.