In the market for a bargain pre owned boat?
Well, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’ll go through the 8 best places to buy used boats, some for a great cheap price.
These places sell all kinds of watercrafts from sailboats to pontoons, speed boats to catamarans and everything in between.
So, there should be something for everyone reading this. By the way, you can find some vessels for as little as $2,000.
Not too shabby eh?
So what are the popular places to find a great boat at an even better price?
- Facebook Groups, Marketplace
- Craigslist, Magazine Classifieds
- Websites selling boats
- Forums like ybw.com, cruiserforum.com, Sailinganarachy.
- Boat Dealerships
- Local Marinas
- Boat Brokers
- Boat Auctions
If you need more general knowledge, you can check out our boat buying guide for tips on what to look out for when making a purchase, especially with used boats.
You may also like to check out our pre-owned boat buying checklist so you know what to examine when testing a boat you might be considering purchasing.
There are also a number of boat financing options available for most people to help get their first boat.
Of course this will depend on your history.
Right, let’s get into the top places to find great deals on second-hand boats.
Used Boats on Facebook Marketplace
First on the list of places to buy a used boat is Facebook groups or the Facebook marketplace.
Simply set your location and it’ll pull up all the boats for sale in that area. The trick here is to go digging in detail.
You’ll find someone selling for a bargain if you’re patient. Please be aware that you’re well versed in understanding boats and if you aren’t, bring someone along with you to check out the vessel.
What might seem great to you could have some hidden damage that is not visible to the eye.
Another simple tip here is to check out how long the person that’s selling the boat is on Facebook.
If the profile they’re using isn’t that long, it could potentially be a red flag. Alternatively, you could check to see if they have been active on their account. (just as extra protection against time wasters)
If you are willing to travel from state to state, you could pick up a bargain in a different state and tow the boat back to your local area.
And most of you will not do this but just to be safe, never ever send money over Facebook for payment of the vessel.
Pre-Owned Boats for Sale in Facebook Groups
Alternatively, you can join local boating or sailing groups and see what's on offer in there.
In our experience, this is where you’ll potentially pick up the best bargains but it is a lot of work and requires a lot of patience.
A lot of boat owners that sell through here are looking for a fast sale and are willing to discount the price, especially if you have cash on hand and know what you’re doing.
A hint here of a bargain is if someone posts their boat for sale and it gets flooded with comments.
The downside is you’re competing against other bargain hunters but if you are fast, you might just snag a cheap vessel.
The best thing about Facebook is it’s completely free! The only hassle will be joining all the local boat groups and being accepted by the administrators.
You can also post in these groups mentioning that you’re looking for a specific boat (if of course you know exactly what you want).
Boat owners and enthusiasts will steer you to where you could find what you’re looking for.
Boats for Sale on Craigslist/Magazine Classifieds
The next option is to search craigslist. This site has been around for many years and is a great place to find a real bargain.
The problem is it can sometimes be hit or miss and you definitely get your fair share of bad actors so keep that in mind too.
If you are new to buying a boat, you should bring someone with experience to check out the vessel you want.
Could be as simple as paying someone $100 in your area to come check out the vessel with you.
I’d rather spend $100 to find out there is an issue than to spend thousands and discover the problem then.
As with all the marketplaces/platforms mentioned, never send money over the phone or through an app.
Examine the boat in detail and work out payment then.
Pre-Owned Classified Boat Ads in Magazines
The next option is finding boats for sale in magazines and newspaper classified ads.
If someone is paying to post an add in a magazine, they are obviously looking for a seller.
Typically though, the boats for sale in these classifieds tend to be more expensive.(think larger yachts and luxury motorboats)
Also, magazines aren’t free but you still could find a deal in one of your local newspaper classifieds.
Popular boat magazines you can find used boats in are:
- Yachting Monthly
- Classic Boat
- On The Water
- Motor Boats Monthly
- Motor Boat & Yachting
These are just a few and are in no particular order of popularity.
This is our least favorite option if you’re looking for a bargain with so many other free options available.
Used Boats For Sale on Websites
One of our favorite options for a first time used boat buyer is to browse through popular websites that sell boats.
There are many websites to choose from so let’s look at the best.
You can check out boattrader.com. This site has every boat imaginable for sale. It’s mainly US based but you’ll find boats for sale from all over the world here.
It’s free to use and the site also has boat financing options listed under their classifieds which help for those looking to fund the boat they want to buy.
Yachtworld is similar to boattrader so there is not much more to add here.
You can filter the search for boats for sale you’re interested in and reach out to the boat owner directly on the platform or call them.
Another website similar to the ones listed above is boats.com. You can browse their inventory and see if there is a bargain boat you might like to purchase.
The boats on this site tend to be on the higher end but you can find some cheap vessels too.
Just browse around it and have a look at what’s on offer. They also have jet skis and multi million dollar superyachts listed.
The majority of boats listed for sale are in the U.S. but they do have plenty of boats from all over the world too.
This site also has some great reviews of boats so you can check out what their staff think of certain vessels for sale too!
Buying Boats in Boating Forums
This is one of the best places to find cheap boats but it’s also one of the hardest and requires the most patience.
Popular boating/sailing forums have plenty of users looking to sell their boats and you could pick up a great priced boat on there.
Ybw.com has a larger active boating forum with many people buying and selling used boats.
For forums, you’ll have to be patient but it can be a gold mine of deals if you post in their wanted section.
But as always, never send money to anyone online and check out the boat in detail before ever parting watts with money.
This is a large active sailing forum with a section for classified ads. You’ll find many pre-owned sailboats and dinghies here.
They also have kayaks and jet skis occasionally too. If you chat in the forum, you can find users selling or willing to sell their boats that might not have posted onto the classified ads section.
This is where you’ll get the bargains.
This is the same as the above forums with a large active group of boaters.
You can find specific groups in the forum dedicated to buying and selling of boats so you can pick up a cheap boat there too.
As always though, make sure you do your due diligence on anything that you think you might like.
Buying A Boat Using Boat Brokers
If you’re looking for a higher end luxury boat, hiring a boat broker to handle everything might be the best option for you.
There are lots of boat brokers out there selling boats for clients or capable of sourcing you a boat you require.
You will pay for this luxury though, typically a commission on the sale price of the boat.
Buying Boats from Local Marinas
Finding a used boat by contacting your local marina is another wonderful option.
The marina will have all the local knowledge of where boats are for sale and they might have members that are looking to sell that they can put you in contact with.
The best part of this is it’s local. They’ll know the ins and out and more importantly where to steer clear of.
A simple google search for a marina in your local area is all it takes to contact them.
You’ll typically find local adverts on posters in the receptions of these marinas too that might be worth checking out.
Buying Boats At Auctions
A lesser known way of finding great pre-owned boats is at auctions. Some of these auctions will have extreme bargains, especially police seized item auctions.
If you don’t mind owning a boat that was auctioned at a police auction, well you’ll probably find the best deals out there on the market.
We’ve seen boats go for nearly 80% less price (in some rate instances) at these auctions and they aren’t for everyone of course.
Alternatively, you could go to a “normal” auction, like bank owned luxury goods auctions where you might find a great vessel.
So there you have it folks.
These are the best options available today to find a used boat to buy. If you’re patient, you’ll probably get a great deal, especially on places like forums, auctions or Facebook.
Either way, there are plenty of options to choose from on your path to becoming a boat owner.
If it’s your first time buying a boat, you should probably bring someone with experience along with you so you don’t have any problems.
Cheaper doesn’t necessarily mean worse but with boats, there can be really expensive problems hidden under the surface so it’s always best to have someone knowledgeable with you.
Happy boating and hopefully you find the perfect watercraft for some great boating adventures. If you are planning on buying a boat, check out our costs of owning a boat guide for an ideas of the costs involved.