Owning a boat can be expensive. Some boat owners choose to sell their boats and hope to get the best value for their vessels when doing so.
There are a number of methods to increase the value of a boat that a boat owner can do to increase the selling price and resale value.
To increase the value of a boat:
- Add new boat lighting
- Paint the boat deck
- Restore the faded color of worn boat seats
- Restore worn boat carpets
- Clean or replace the boat canvas
- Upgrade the boat's electronics
- Add new boat features
- Service the boat engine
Following these steps should see the value of a boat increase by between 25% to 40%. However, this will depend on the type of vessel and the improvements applied to the boat.
For a more specific figure, price a boat by getting a professional boat appraisal to see how much the vessel might be worth after adding the improvements to it.
For most recreational boats like pontoons, sailboats, deck boats, speedboats, yachts and motorboats, increasing the boat value can be done in as little as two hours.
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1. Add New Boat Lighting
The first step to increasing the value of a boat is to update and add new interior and exterior lights to the vessel.
Updating existing lighting requires a boat owner to replace old lights with new ones. Ideally, update existing lights with white LEDs to give a more luxurious look.
To add new boat lights to increase a boat's value:
- Get a marine-grade waterproof LED lighting kit: Get a waterproof marine-grade multi-color LED lighting kit with a minimum of 20ft strips. Ideally, use a Bluetooth LED lighting kit that can change the color of the lights at the touch of a button
- Ensure the LED strips are flexible, multi-colored, energy efficient and weather-ready: Ensure the LED strips are flexible so they can be placed anywhere onboard the boat, are multi-colored so boat owners can choose different colors for different times, energy efficient so they use power optimally and are weather ready so they can function in harsh marine environments
- Install the LED strips to the cockpit, cabins, seating, deck and under counters: Install the LED lighting strips to areas onboard the boat like the cockpit, the cabin, the deck, around the seating areas and under countertops
Fitting the LED lights to the boat takes approximately 15 to 20 minutes to complete.
The cost of adding new LED boat lights to increase the boat value is under $100.
The benefits of adding new boat lights to increase a boat's value are:
- It improves the ambience & atmosphere onboard: Having multiple lights onboard improves the overall ambience and atmosphere onboard
- It will increase the boat's value: Better boat lights provide an upmarket feel for boaters to enjoy when out on the seawater. This will increase the perceived value of the boat and increase the resale value as the new boat lighting offers a more luxurious feel to it
- It is not expensive: Most boat light kits can be purchased for under $100 which is a cheap price to pay for increasing a boat's value
One important thing to be aware of when adding new boat lights is a boat owner should not add too many lights.
Too many lights can create a tacky or bad look on the boat. Find the right balance when adding new boat lights.
2. Paint The Boat Deck
The second step to increasing the value of a boat is to paint the boat deck.
The boat deck is one of the first things that is seen when someone views your boat.
To paint a boat deck to increase a boat's value:
- Get 1-gallon+ boat deck paint & a paintbrush: Get a 1-gallon+ boat deck paint that is the correct color and compatibility with your boat deck surface, e.g. fiberglass paint for fiberglass decks, teak paint for teak decks etc. A 1-gallon-sized container is typically enough to cover most boat decks
- Dip the paintbrush into the paint and start painting in sections: Paint the deck surface with the paint and paintbrush in sections for even distribution of the paint across the deck
- Let the paint dry out to see the results: Let the paint dry out to see the results. Ensure no one steps on the wet paint while it's drying out
Painting a boat deck takes approximately two hours to complete for most recreational boats. Larger vessels over 50ft take three hours or more to complete.
Additionally, after painting the boat deck, it will take between 2 hours to 6 hours for the paint to dry depending on the paint used.
The cost of painting a boat deck to increase a boat's value is approximately $85 to $120.
The benefits of painting a boat deck to increase a boat's value are:
- It will remove the tired, faded and worn-looking color from the boat deck: Painting the boat deck will massively improve the boat's aesthetics and remove the tired-looking, faded and worn-looking color from the deck. This will have a big effect on the value of the boat
- It will restore the boat deck to when it was new: Painting the boat deck will create a look of when the boat was brand new. This is extremely
- It is helpful for increasing the resale value of the vessel: Painting the boat deck restores the boat deck to a brand new look which any potential buyer would pay more for as the vessel looks brand new
3. Restore The Faded Color Of Worn Boat Seats
The third step to increasing the value of a boat is to restore the faded color of worn boat seats.
Tired-looking and faded boat seats can negatively impact the perceived value of a boat and restoring them to their original color will boost the overall value of the vessel.
To restore the faded color of worn boat seats to increase a boat's value:
- Get a 16 oz.+ marine seat color restorer: Get a 16oz. + boat seat color restorer that is compatible with your boat seats i.e. a leather color restorer for leather seats, a vinyl color restorer for vinyl seats, etc. 16oz. is the smallest container to get that will cover across large boat seat surfaces
- Apply the color restorer to the faded boat seat surfaces: Apply the color restorer to the faded and worn areas of the boat seats in accordance with the color restorer product application instructions
- Let the spray sit on the faded surface before wiping it away: Let the product sit on the worn area for approximately 3 to 5 minutes before lightly wiping it away
- Keep reapplying the color restorer until there is a visible improvement: Reapply the color restorer and let it sit until there is a visible improvement to the color of the seats
These instructions can be applied to most boat seat materials including restoring vinyl boat seats to restoring leather boat seats etc.
Restoring faded and worn boat seats to increase the value of a boat takes between 40 minutes and 1 hour to complete.
The cost to restore faded vinyl boat seats when trying to increase a boat's value is under $30.
The benefits of restoring faded boat seats to increase a boat's value are:
- It will enhance the boat's aesthetics: Restoring the old worn and tired-looking color will enhance the boat's aesthetics and give a more upmarket feel when onboard the vessel
- It adds value to the boat: A fresh and clean-looking boat upholstery improves the vessel's resale value as it transforms the look of the boat from old and tired back to new
4. Restore Worn Boat Carpets
The fourth step to increasing the value of a boat is to restore worn boat carpets.
Interior marine carpets can get tired looking and worn over time and they will need to be updated to restore them to a cleaner and newer look.
To restore worn boat carpets and increase the boat's value:
- Get a 16 oz. + carpet stain remover: Get a 16 oz. + carpet stain remover to remove carpet stains and dirt. 16 oz. is the minimum carpet stain remover size as you will need to reapply the stain remover more once
- Spray the carpet stain remover onto the stains: Spray the carpet stain remover onto the worn and stained carpet and let it sit
- Scrub the carpet with a soft bristle brush: Use a soft bristle brush to scrub the carpet and remove stains and restore the carpet to its natural color
Restoring worn boat carpets takes 25 to 40 minutes to complete. However, this will depend on the condition and the size of the boat carpet.
The cost to restore worn boat carpets when trying to increase a boat's value is under $50.
The benefits of restoring worn boat carpets to increase a boat's value are:
- It improves the boat's interior aesthetics: Restoring worn boat carpets will improve the interior boat aesthetics
- It helps add value to the boat: Restoring worn marine carpets increases the perceived value of the boat and has it looking like new
5. Clean Or Replace The Boat Canvas
The fifth step to increasing the value of a boat is to clean or replace the boat's canvas.
Replacing the boat canvas involves buying a new canvas material for the boat canvas area and installing it. The cost of buying a new boat canvas is between $15 to $30 per yard.
A boat owner may only need to clean the canvas instead of buying a new one.
To clean a boat canvas and increase the value of a boat:
- Get a biodegradable 16 oz.+ canvas cleaner: Use a biodegradable formula in a minimum of 16 oz. container to have enough canvas cleaner to clean most boat canvas
- Wet the canvas and apply the canvas cleaner to the canvas: Use fresh water to wet the canvas and apply the canvas cleaner
- Scrub the canvas with a soft bristle brush: Use a soft bristle brush to scrub the canvas area of the vessel
Cleaning a boat canvas takes approximately 30 minutes to complete. However, this time period will vary based on the size and condition of the canvas.
The cost to clean a boat canvas when increasing a boat's value is under $40.
The benefits of cleaning a boat canvas to increase its value are:
- It removes mildew, mold and dirt: Cleaning the boat canvas will remove all dirt including mold and mildew stains
- It enhances the color of the boat canvas: Cleaning the boat canvas will enhance the color and help to spruce up a tired and worn-looking boat canvas
- It helps to increase the perceived value of the boat: Having a tidy and clean-looking canvas helps to increase the overall perceived value of the vessel
6. Upgrade The Boat's Electronics
The sixth step to increasing the value of a boat is to upgrade the boat's electronics.
To upgrade the boat's electronics to increase the boat's value:
- Install an autopilot system: Installing a boat autopilot system can make a big difference to the value of the boat. Pick a top boat autopilot system to add to your vessel. Keep in mind that this main not work on all types of boats
- Install new GPS electronics: New GPS electronics will enable boat owners to move around the water better and more efficiently. Adding upgraded GPS electronics can improve the value of the boat
- Add a television: A television will increase the perceived value of a boat and it will provide additional entertainment for the passengers onboard the boat
- Install a new stereo system: Adding or upgrading a stereo system means boaters can party on the boat. This will increase the value of the boat
- Install a Wi-Fi extender: Installing a top marine Wi-Fi extender means boaters will have access to the internet further out on the water. This can be a big value increase for the boat. A 400ft+ range marine Wi-Fi extender can be purchased for under $200
Upgrading the electronics to increase the value of the boat takes approximately 1 hour to complete. However, this will vary based on the type of electronics upgraded on the vessel.
The cost of upgrading the electronics of a boat to increase its value will range from $200 to over $1,000 for more advanced marine electronics.
The benefits of upgrading the electronics on a boat to increase its value are:
- It improves the boating experience: Having upgraded electronics improves the boating experience for the boat owner and passengers onboard the vessel
- It will increase the resale value: Having upgraded electronics on the vessel will increase the resale value of the boat as there are better electronics onboard
- It adds more options on the boat: Upgrading the electronics offers more options for potential boat buyers and more options mean a potentially higher price when selling the boat
7. Add New Boat Features
The seventh step to increasing the value of a boat is to add new boat features to the vessel.
To add new boat features and increase the boat's value:
- Add marine coolers: Choose a great marine cooler and add it to the boat. This will increase the value of the boat as people wishing to fish or party will have extra coolers or refrigeration for their fish, food or drink
- Add a portable toilet (head): Adding a portable boat toilet (head) can increase the value of the boat as it enables boat owners to be able to spend longer out on the water without needing to return to the marina to use the toilet. A portable boat is priced between $100 and $150
- Add extra storage space: Add more boat storage boxes to increase the storage space onboard a vessel. A boat storage box is priced under $100
Adding new boat features to increase the resale value of the boat should take approximately 20 minutes to complete. However, this timeframe will depend on the feature added.
The cost of adding new boat features to increase a boat's value is between $100 and over $1,200 for more advanced features.
The benefits of adding boat features to increase a vessel's value are:
- It will provide more features for the boat owner: More features on a boat increases the value of the boat as there are more options available for a boater
- It will improve a boat's resale value: More features on a boat means a higher resale price as the boat is now of a higher spec
8. Service The Boat Engine
The eighth step in increasing the value of a boat is to service the boat motor.
To service the boat motor and increase the boat's value:
- Disconnect the fuel lines and empty the fuel tank: Removing the fuel is part of cleaning the boat's fuel tank. It is important to do this when servicing the marine engine
- Replace oil and fuel filters: Replace the oil and fuel filters with new ones to ensure the engine will continue to run smoothly
- Replace the oil: Drain the old oil from the boat and get new compatible oil and fill it up with the fresh new oil
- Replace the boat's fuel: Remove any bad fuel from the fuel tank and replace it with new clean fuel
- Unscrew the prop nut to remove the propeller: Unscrew the prop nut to remove the propeller. Check for any damage or wear around the propeller nut
- Clean the grease away from the propeller hub: Clean any grease off the propeller hub with a cloth
- Reassemble the propeller hub: Once everything has been cleaned, reassemble the propeller hub
Regularly service the boat engine and keep all the maintenance records and receipts of the boat servicing as this will add value to the boat and offer peace of mind to potential new boat owners.
Servicing the boat motor can take between 40 minutes and 2 hours to complete depending on the size, type and condition of the motor.
The cost to service a boat engine to increase the vessel's value is between $100 and $500. However, this will vary based on the work required to service the engine and whether the service is completed as a DIY project or by a professional boat mechanic.
The benefits of servicing the boat engine to increase its value are:
- It improves the overall engine performance: Servicing the boat engine will ensure the boat motor is running smoothly without any issues
- It increases the resale value: Servicing the engine increases the resale value of the boat as potential buyers know the engine has been serviced and is running smoothly
Products Used To Increase A Boat's Value
The products used to increase a boat's value are:
- Boat lighting kit: An LED boat lighting kit will increase a boat's value by offering a luxurious and upmarket feel to the boat. Most boat lighting kits can be purchased for under $100
- Boat canvas: A new boat canvas can increase the value of a boat. A new canvas will have the boat looking like new and it will remove worn and tired-looking marine canvas material. A new boat canvas will cost between $15 to $30 per yard depending on the canvas material
- Boat deck paint: A 1-gallon+ boat deck paint that matches the boat deck surface can increase a boat's value by adding a fresh new look to the deck and removing faded color on the deck surface
- Boat seat color restorer: A 16 oz.+ seat color restorer that matches the boat's seat material is needed to restore faded boat seats.
- Marine carpet stain remover: A 16 oz. + carpet stain remover will be needed to remove stains and dirt from a boat's carpet for vessels with interior carpets
- Boat carpet: A new interior boat carpet can increase the value of the boat. New marine carpets will restore the aesthetics of the boat's interior. It will remove the tired and worn look of the old boat carpet. Boat carpets will typically cost between $5 to $10 per foot depending on the material. A new boat carpet is only really required if the carpet is beyond restoring
- Wi-Fi extender: A 400ft+ range Wi-Fi extender can be used to get an internet connection while out on the water. This can help improve the value of the boat. For basic Wi-Fi extenders, they will cost under $200
- Oil & fuel filters: Oil and fuel filters are used as part of the engine service. These filters will cost under $60. It will help add value to the vessel
- Portable boat toilet (head): Adding a portable marine toilet can substantially increase the value of the boat as it enables the boaters to stay out on the water longer and have the ability to use the toilet without needing to return to the dock to use a toilet
- Television: Adding a television to the boat adds value as it gives boaters more options for entertainment while onboard. A TV to use on a boat will cost between $200 to $300
- Marine cooler: Adding a marine cooler increases the value of the boat as it gives boat owners a place to keep their food and drinks refrigerated and cool. Most good boat coolers are priced under $250
- Boat autopilot system: Adding a marine autopilot system can increase the value of a boat quite substantially. The majority of boat autopilot systems are priced between $500 and $4,000
- Boat stereo system: Adding a boat stereo system can increase a boat's value. Most boat sound systems are priced under $250
These products are optional and a boat owner can choose just a few of these products to really increase the value of a boat.
It is not required to purchase all of these products to increase a boat's value.
Products To Avoid When Increasing A Boat's Value
The products to avoid when increasing a boat's value are:
- Tacky lighting: Do not use cheap or tacky lighting as this will not increase the boat's value. Instead, it could have the opposite effect and decrease its value and have the boat looking poor aesthetically
- Bleach: When cleaning parts of the boat to increase its value, do not use bleach to clean as this can damage the boat's surfaces and have a negative effect on the value of the boat rather than a positive one
- Incompatible boat deck paint: Do not get the wrong boat deck paint for your specific boat deck surface
Frequently Asked Questions About Increasing The Value Of A Boat
Below are the most common questions about increasing a boat's value.
How Much Does It Cost To Increase The Value Of A Boat?
The cost to increase the value of a boat ranges from $100 to over $1,000. The price fluctuates based on what improvements are made to the boat with electronical improvements and adding new boat features being the most expensive.
Is It Hard To Increase The Value Of A Boat?
No, most boat improvements required to increase the value of a boat are easy and straightforward to complete and they do not require expert knowledge.
Does Increasing The Value Of A Boat Help With Selling It?
While it's not a guarantee in all cases, increasing the value of a boat can help a boat owner with selling their vessel.
However, other factors like budget, location and size of the vessel are more important factors when selling.