Easy Ways to Increase Your Boat's Value.

7 Easy Ways to Increase Your Boat’s Value

Written by Kim Kavin
July 18, 2023

Last Updated on July 18, 2023 by Boatsetter Team

The brokerage market, like any market, is always competitive. Only so many boats are for sale at any given time, and if yours is one of them, you want to get the best value you can in the deal. That means looking for ways to help your boat stand out from the rest. Here are seven easy ways to increase your boat’s value ahead of a sale:

  1. Invest in regular maintenance
  2. Switch to LED lighting
  3. Soft goods makeover
  4. Clean up or get a new canvas
  5. Think smart about electronics
  6. Freshen up the bottom paint
  7. Consider all angles

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1. Invest in regular maintenance

Boat maintenance.

Savvy boat buyers look at the mechanicals first and the cosmetics last. A boat that has been regularly maintained— with service records that include parts manufacturers and parts numbers for easy reference— will go a long way toward giving potential buyers peace of mind about your boat being a good investment.

If a boat’s engine, genset, and other mechanicals are in good shape, buyers are often happy to overlook necessary upgrades on things like out-of-fashion drapery and other soft goods. Focus on maintenance that will help give your boat a clean survey, and potential buyers will see the value on every line of the paperwork.

2. Switch to LED lighting

Boat lighting.

LED lighting has been popular for several years on boats. This type of lighting consumes less power, which is always a good thing on board because of every boat’s limited power supply underway. Here are the pros of switching to LED lighting:

  • LED lighting helps to keep the boat’s interior cooler.
  • LED lamps tend to last longer.
  • LEDs are also brighter, a terrific upgrade in spaces like a below-deck galley.

Aboard many boats, DIYers can handle the switchover to LEDs without any professional help other than a bit of advice about brands and products down at the boating supply store.

READ MORE: How to Sell a Boat (A 7-Step Guide)

3. Soft goods makeover

Boat soft goods.

Cushions, drapery, and other fabrics that are continuously exposed to the sun will fade over time, giving the boat a lackluster appearance. A soft goods makeover is the way to remedy this situation.

You don’t have to buy all-new cushions; just new cushion covers and perhaps some dynamic throw pillows to add a splash of contemporary color. Drapes can be swapped out while keeping the same mounting hardware.

Even changing out old-fashioned bedspreads can inject new life into a boat, making it seem years newer than it previously looked. For vinyl- or leather-covered seats, consider using a vinyl and leather restoration product to help jazz up the worn-out areas.

4. Clean up or get new canvas

Boat canvas.

Bimini tops take a beating. They exist to protect delicate human skin from the sun, which means the canvas takes the full brunt of the ultraviolet rays. This wear and tear occur all day, every day, along with extra damage from salt spray, bird droppings, and whatever else flies your boat’s way.

A good dousing with canvas cleaner might be enough to get the Bimini top looking bright again, or you might want to replace it with new canvas if the damage is too far gone.

Since a lot of Bimini tops are used aft on boats, and potential buyers are likely to board from the aft swim platform, the canvas is one of the first things they’re going to see on board. Spruced-up canvas can help make a much better first impression during the walk-through ahead of a sale.

5. Think smart about electronics

Boat electronics.

Some boat owners consider updating older helm electronics to add value, but many experts say this is a mistake. As long as the key items like radar, multifunction displays, and VHF radios are in good working order, some buyers will actually prefer older models that have proven reliability or that are their favorite brands.

Instead of changing out those types of electronics, look at things like the marine stereo or Wi-Fi setup on board. Having updated versions of those types of electronics can increase the pool of buyers to those who want to entertain or work from onboard.

Somebody who intends to bring a laptop on the boat for a few hours of work each day will give your boat the edge against a competing brokerage model that lacks a good Wi-Fi system.

6. Freshen up the bottom paint

Boat painting.

True: hauling out the boat and refreshing the bottom paint can be a hull of a lot of work. If your boat is being compared to a boat for sale with a fresh coat of bottom paint, then the buyer will see much less effort required to take ownership of the other boat. That means you’re likely to lose the sale.

If your boat’s bottom is overdue for new paint, blister repair, barnacle removal, or anything else of the sort, then consider doing the work yourself as an incentive for buyers who want a turnkey sale.

What you spend on this kind of work in the yard should come back to you in the sale, and can help the boat sell faster, so you have lower carrying costs for a shorter amount of time on the market.

7. Consider all the angles

Boat marina dock.

We all think our boat is the most beautiful on the water, but if we’re being honest, it has a good side and a bad side. Or, maybe, it looks better from the bow than from the stern.

A cost-free way to help make a better impression on potential buyers is to think about how they will approach the boat on the dock and then position the boat from the angle that makes the boat look best.

If yours is a boat with a killer cockpit for fishing or entertaining, back the boat into the slip so the cockpit is the first thing the buyer will see. Have a gorgeous sheerline and a terrific setup at the bow? Dock the boat bow-in so the would-be next owner catches a look at those features first.

A little bit of staging, as the real-estate folks like to call it, can go a very long way toward making a lasting impression from the first moment of the walk-through ahead of a sale.


If you change your mind about selling your boat, you could always list your boat for rent and join the hundreds of boat owners making an extra income off of the boat-sharing economy. All you have to do to start listing is click here.

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