Clean & Stage Your Boat for Sale

17th June 2024

The day you decide to sell your boat will surely cause you to experience a wide range of emotions, but the emotion that will sneak up on you the most is that of awe. You’ll stand on the aft deck looking into the boat and realize just how much stuff you have on it and that you now must unload.

The following quick tips will help you turn your floating storage unit back into a clean and spacious boat, key to success when you sell your boat:

Head to your boat with empty storage bins or boxes and large plastic garbage bags. You’ll either be packing things up to take home or you’ll be throwing things away. Once on the boat, open all the storage compartments, both inside and on deck, so you have a better idea of just how much stuff is on your boat that will need to be removed. This is where the “if in doubt, throw it out” rule comes in handy.

Pack up all bedding and towels to take home and wash. You’ll bring some bedding and towels back to stage the boat with, but you won’t need it all back on the boat again.

Remove as many personal items from the boat as you can. You don’t want perspective buyers rifling through your things. Ideally, drawers and lockers should be empty when you’re done.

Clean the empty drawers, lockers, counters, and heads with soap and water. Vacuum and wash floor areas. If there is carpet clean it and remove any stains; this is guaranteed to help you sell your boat.

If you’re leaving things on the boat that will be included with the sale of the boat, then organize them in the lockers and drawers where they’re out of the way or out of sight. Your broker will let interested buyers know what comes with the boat.

Assuming your boat is stern in, as they usually are at the dock, consider that this will be the area potential buyers see first. Make sure it shines.

Wash the boat thoroughly. Lift all hatches, clean around the gutter tracks, and hose out the drains so water and debris flow freely. With all exterior lockers cleaned out wash them, with hoes, bucket of soapy water, and brush and only put back the items that are necessary to still have on board. Scrub the waterline. Use mildew spray to clean any mildew out of the rub rail, non-skid, or canvas.

Pull all deck carpets up, clean under them, and only put the ones back that look clean and new. Clean all vinyl seats. Remember to lift the seats and clean under them.

Wipe and polish stainless when you’re finished washing and waxing the boat. Don’t forget to clean the bilge. Nothing will kill the sale faster than a smelly bilge.

Even after all this cleaning, washing, and waxing, your boat will get dirty again in a matter of days or weeks depending on where it’s moored and the weather. Plan to wash it on a regular basis.

Real estate agents stage houses they have listed for sale to make them look more inviting, comfortable, and stylish. There’s no reason you shouldn’t do the same to your boat.

Bring things back on the boat that will create the image of carefree and stylish boating. Your vintage compass or oil lamp? Sure. Your collection of ceramic frog figurines or wine corks? Probably not!

Make the bed and lay a clean or new throw over one corner. Fluff up the pillows and use throw pillows. Buy a new hand towel and bath towel for the shower and sink area in the head. Remove all food from the fridge and defrost it. Maybe even set the table for two and set a bottle of wine out.

If you stick to these tips, you’ll end up with a clean and spacious looking boat that will show well and be easier for the broker to impress an interested buyer with.