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How to Sell Your Used Boat

Posted by on 11/15/2016
Here at Rutabaga Paddlesports, one of the most common questions we get is about selling your used boat. There are a lot of variables in the process, but we can give you some basic guidelines here.

The first thing to know is that it is a seasonal market here in the upper Midwest. Most used boats garner the best prices in the spring (April and May), when folks are anxious to paddle. The occasional exceptions are canoes and fishing kayaks, which often appeal to Fall paddlers and can still bring a good price into October, or later if the season stays warm.

One of the first things to do is to ascertain as much information about the boat as possible. You want to be able to provide accurate information as a seller. The make (who made the boat), material, model, size (if appropriate -- some models come in different sizes), color, condition, and the year it was built are all important. With modern boats, most of this will be printed or inscribed on the boat in some fashion. With older boats, you will likely have to do some research. Most modern kayaks and canoes have a serial number on the stern on the right, above the waterline. 

Vendor websites can be a great help in determining some of this information, as well.

Once you have that information, start doing some research. Check websites like, eBay, or Craigslist to see what other folks have sold their boats for. Try to find something in a similar condition to what you are selling and price yours accordingly. All of those sites are a fine way to sell your boat. You will likely find more discerning customers on but it might take a while. The other two will likely generate more interest, accompanied by a lot of lowball offers. You might also look into the numerous other paddling sites out there to see if they have forums for selling boats or gear.

Sometimes the easiest way to sell a used boat is to put it out with a sign on it (lock it!), or put flyers up in local businesses that cater to paddlers and outdoors people. If you go the flyer route, make sure you have a good picture on the flyer and be prepared for phone calls asking you about the condition of it.

We hope this helps!

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