FEATURE: How to present your boat for sale…

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So, here’s a potentially tricky subject, how to present your boat for viewings.

We know most of you keep your boats immaculate all the time, but over the years we’ve been to visit many boats with owners who would like to list for sale and well..to be frank…your boat just isn’t ready! Some are even downright dirty. We know that if you use a space, personal belongings and things can sometimes take over without you realising, but come on guys the effort is soo worth it!

And actually, when presenting your boat for sale correctly, you can command a higher asking price, increase viewing requests, up your conversion rate from viewings into offers and generally enhance any potential buyers experience of your boat. It’s all a knock on effect.

It’s tough, because you see your boat all the time, but now you need to flip the mirror and look at your boat as a potential purchaser…would you purchase it with pants on the floor and suncream filling the cupholders? No, probably not, but that’s okay we can give you some pointers and help identify what needs to be done…I’m about to get all Marie Kondo of boats on you now read below for top tips from me. (And of course, if you’d like my help to present your boat for sale, just email me that’s why we’re good at what we do!)

STEP 1 – Take all non essentials & personal belongings off the boat

This will really REALLY help. I’m not talking about your lifejackets, or charts, etc. I’m talking about the 14 blankets, 7 roll on deodorants, half used ketchup and 3 year old suncream that’s lurking around. Grab a trolley and cleanse your boat of all the things that are not essential. 1 blanket, 1 deodorant, 1 loo roll, etc. Boats can become a little bit of an extra garage storage for some people, if it doesn’t belong to the boat, it belongs to you and you do not use it every time you go boating…it doesn’t need to be there. You’ll be amazed at what you’ve stashed away even in just a season in lockers and cupboards!

If you still plan to use the boat throughout it’s time up for sale, thats not a problem, just bring a weekend bag each time, it won’t be for long! If you really have to leave clothing or personal belongings on board, ensure they are tidy, folded and hung up correctly or stashed in cupboards out of line of sight before you leave the boat. Potential purchasers don’t want to think about which brand of shaving cream you use or how much is left in your fairy washing up liquid.

Cleansing the space on board from your personal items is great for two reasons, a) it opens up the space hugely with less things breaking up the viewers line of site, feeling less cramped, b) it allows the potential purchaser to envision their own items in there instead, c) everything will feel cleaner, d) it allows the boat and her features to shine.

Sunseeker Superhawk 34 For Sale in Torquay, Devon, UK

STEP 2 – Nautical or Nice Only

This is a rule of thumb for soft furnishings, decorative accents/ornaments, cushions and other “pretty” items.

I’m a huge fan of a comfy cushion and a well made bed, but try to stick to un-patterned, neutral colours or Nautical themed/striped only. This is a guideline, not a rule but it can be helpful in identifying what stays and what goes. It can be very jarring to walk into a boats interior space if that is filled with bright or clashing colours which can distract from even the best cabin. Neutral colours generally make a space feel bigger too so bear this in mind.

Clear any shelves and sides of things, small tasteful nautical decorations are okay, but loud, controversial or brightly coloured items can let your boat down. If in doubt remove it, the more ‘naked’ the boat the better usually. A mattress only is far better than a poorly made or lazy bedspreads! Less is best in the galley and cabins especially.

If the boat has ‘holders’ for things consider filling them, particularly in the heads, a nice hand soap dispenser, fresh full toilet roll and fluffy towel in the heads can make it feel more inviting. Some matching throw pillows, can warm up a bland saloon. Use your judgement, but if in doubt, take it out.

(Special note about exterior cushions – We appreciate that a lot of the time owners like to store exterior cushions in a second cabin etc to keep them dry whilst not in use, this is fine for viewings, but please do so tidily, a higgledy piggledy mess can make that all important and often smaller space feel tiny, whereas nice and neat implies care is taken with them too, all subtle nods for potential purchasers.

See our gallery at the bottom of this page for some examples of some of our favourite boat presentations.

STEP 3 – Cleanliness is Next to Godliness!

Now we’ve decided what stuff is staying and what stuff is going you probably look around and have started to see some of the grime that builds up. Same as your house, we’re human, we drop hair, things get salty, suncream gets everywhere, greasy frying or finger marks on things can all be dealt with on their own, but really bring down the feel of your lovely boat. SO, take the time for a spring clean, if you can’t clean yourself, book a valet of your boat by a local company inside and out and let’s have her sparkling.

Things that we frequently see which lets spaces down are, hair and dirt in heads, finger prints on windows & touchscreens, greasy hobs, marked upholstery, cupholders are catchers of all kinds of weird an wonderful things, check gunnels, scrub and oil your teak if you have it, look for mossy build ups around the windows, if you have a hard roof get up there with a brush and hose, you’ll be surprised at what it’s collected, make sure nothing is rotting in the fridge and do not leave any food in there, mouldy fridges are enough to turn most buyers off before they go any further!

If in doubt give us a buzz, but it truly is check everywhere as if you were looking to buy her. If there’s a question in your mind as to if you need to do it, chances are you do!

STEP 4 – Are you damp and smelly?

Boats can get damp and seawater heads in particular can get smelly quickly when left to their own devices. Empty holding tanks, and at minimum hide a few moisture catchers around the boat.

If you have shore power connection, consider running a dehumidifier when you aren’t there with a hatch open a crack to allow some fresh air through. Or running a small oil heater.

A quick febreeze or some gentle, strategic air fresheners that give a gorgeous, subtle (don’t go too mad) fresh scent when entering an interior space and it’ll help your boat come across clean and well kept. A damp, smelly interior space is a huge no no for potential purchasers, and often forgotten about by current owners who just get used to “the boat smell”.

STEP 5 – Ready for your close up!

As your broker, we know what works AND if your boat is not presentable enough to photograph, we will not photograph it. In fact it can be detrimental, it won’t do you any favours at all. Complete steps 1 to 4 and then when she’s on top form we can take our images and videos to push her out to potential buyers.

A picture is worth a thousand words and will help your boat stand out against those who have not taken the time to think about presentation to market.

You’ll get more enquires, impress more viewers and get a stronger price for your vessel.

Sea Ray 260 Sun Dancer for Sale in Torquay, Devon, UK


It’s hard to believe, but between us we’ve come across all the following when asked to photograph a boat……urine/faeces in toilet, empty sticky booze all over the sides, tissues in the sink, ‘just slept in’ beds, furry food, dirty laundry, mini ecosystems in lockers and window surrounds, suncream explosions, broken aerials and other equipment, mysterious stains, cigarette hole burns…you name it we’ve seen it.

Please save us the embarrassment of having to approach it with you…instead ask us to help at the start because we’d be delighted to!

If you’re local to Torquay we can meet on board and discuss an action plan to present your boat to market.