Tips for selling your boat

“With people always wanting that boat that’s a little bit bigger or faster or those that have made the decision to buy brand new, means there will always be a second hand market”

Prior to listing

If you’re thinking of selling your boat there are some simple steps you can take prior to advertising it with us to ensure a smooth sale. Should you have any questions it’s important not to hesitate to ask us. Our aim is to make the whole process as easy for you as possible.


  • Make sure the exterior is clean. It maybe beneficial to also give the boat a polish and possible compound, if it requires it, especially prior to taking any photos. First impressions count and buyers will be put off seeing a boat that is green with algae, mildew and fungus. Boats that are kept presentable will attract a higher offer than those neglected.
  • Ensure the interior is clean and kept free of clutter. Life jackets etc. should be packed away. Leaving things laying around will make the boat look messy and neglected. It’s also important to pack personal items away out of view on photos so not to confuse any potential purchaser. A buyer could be confused thinking that, a dinghy for example, is included in the sale if it is seen in the pictures on the advert. If it is impracticable to pack some items away make it clear that those items are not included in the sale.


  • Keeping equipment serviced and up to date like engines and safety equipment will be attractive to potential buyers. Ensure you have the invoices or certificates handy to prove work has been completed.
  • A purchaser will likely want to see equipment running and performing as it should. If engines for example are not maintained and fail to start upon inspection it will not only be embarrassing but will put off a buyer.
  • Someone who is serious in buying the boat will most likely want a survey for peace of mind and to detect any potential problems. Having a good look at everything on your boat and rectifying any issues will prevent them being picked up in a survey report and reduce the chance of the buyer lowering his offer. Common issues picked up are expired fire extinguishers or other safety equipment.


  • We will help you to ensure all the documentation is present and correct to avoid any delays or issues later on in the sale process. Certain ports of registration will have different rules but it’s not uncommon for authorities to request 5 or 10 years proof of title if you are wanting to British Register the boat under Part 1 for example.
  • Another important reason to keep all paperwork in order is for proof of VAT. Given this can make a difference of 20% to how much money a buyer ends up paying it is important to factor it in. You can’t advertise a boat as VAT paid without being able to prove VAT has already been paid and the history of where the boat has been based. We will be able to assist you with this.
Keeping items clear makes the boat look presentable.

Choosing the best method

Once you’ve prepared the boat it’s time to think about the best way to advertise it. Here at OC we give our clients options to help them sell their boat by whichever method suits them the best.


Our most popular option.

We work on a no sale no fee basis so it costs you nothing to list your boat with us, you only pay commission on the sale of your boat. We carry out everything from initial listing right through to completion to make the whole process as easy for you as possible.

We can take high quality photos, produce short walkthrough videos and virtual tours to show your vessel in the best possible way to any prospective buyer, especially those off island, to help sell your boat.

We will market your boat to a wide audience using the most appropriate platforms for the type of boat you are selling.

We will carry out viewings on your behalf to save you the time and hassle and assist with any surveys or sea trials that take place as part of the sale process.

We carry out all documentation relating to the listing, sale & purchase, transfer of ownership and registration or exportation of the boat. We’re also able to assist with SSR and British registry should it be required.

Finders fee

This is a common approach for clients outside of the Channel Islands. Based on the same principle as the brokerage option above whereby we will deal with all enquiries, negotiations, paperwork etc., however boat owners will handle the viewings and sea trials themselves. Once the sale has been completed, Ocean Cobra Limited will invoice for a reduced commission rate based on the final sale price of the vessel.


For those people looking to broaden the exposure of their boat for sale, they can advertise their vessel on our website for a fixed fee. Adverts can be placed for 30 or 60 days with the ability to easily renew their ad if it expires. This allows the person to take full control of everything from creating the advert, dealing with all enquiries and handling the sale of their boat. This is a popular option for people who wish to manage their own sale, those with lower value boats or those looking for a cost effective option to sell their boat.

Listing with a broker is common place for most people looking to sell.

the Brokerage process

When initially contacted, one of the most common questions we get asked is “so what’s the process”. Our aim is to make the whole process of selling or buying a boat as easy as possible for you. We utilize electronic documentation to save long winded handwritten paperwork and we pre fill all that is necessary so all you have to do is sign. Not only do we make listing your boat and selling it easy, the assistance doesn’t end there. We will also assist you after the sale with processes like deactivation of license’s, registration like British registry or even procuring any goods or services regardless of whether you are a buyer or seller.

Enquiries & Viewings

After making initial contact with us we will arrange to meet you at your vessel to go through and create a listing. This process involves us taking photos/videos etc and getting all the details we need to be able to create an advert for your boat. Once live, we will deal with all enquiries that come through. We will already have informed you of the process for and should any potential buyer wish to have a viewing then we will carry these out for you. Our standard procedure on viewings is they are to be carried out by appointment only with an Ocean Cobra Limited employee and we will not start any electrical or mechanical gear, for example we will not start and run engines at this stage.


The next stage in the process is to negotiate on a price that the buyer is willing to pay and the seller is willing to sell for. We are obligated to put forward to the seller every offer that comes through to us regardless of the price submitted. Once a sale price is agreed then the next stage can proceed.

Agreements & Deposits

Following an agreed price, both the seller and purchaser will be asked to sign a Sale & Purchase Agreement (S&P). We use an S&P agreement based on the standard contract by the Association of Brokers and Yacht Agents’ (ABYA). The S&P agreement goes into full detail regarding common questions like sea trials and surveys.

Once both parties have signed this contract a deposit will usually be paid to Ocean Cobra Limited as the broker. This will be held until after completion has taken place. Full details on deposits is covered in the S&P Agreement.

Sea Trials & Surveys

Both sea trials and surveys are optional. It is not uncommon for buyers to purchase vessels without either. Surveys can be common practice though for buyers who are not located near the boat or aren’t able to travel for viewings. This gives them confidence and peace of mind that the vessel they are going to purchase doesn’t have any major defects or they are at least made aware of anything before they complete the sale. Again full details on acceptance of sea trials is covered in the S&P agreement. All survey and sea trial costs are at the buyers expense. We are able to assist in arranging lift out’s/lift in’s for surveys, liaising with any surveyor of your choice and arranging or conducting sea trials on your behalf. As brokers we are not able to recommend particular surveyors however we can provide you a list of surveyors for you to choose from and we can liaise directly with them to arrange the survey should you wish.

Completion & Handover

The final stage is completion. Once the buyer has given acceptance they will be asked to make the final balance payment and given a step by step checklist on the next steps for them as boat owners. This covers things like marine insurance and registering with Ofcom etc. Should anyone need assistance with insurance we can provide that through our finance and insurance partners. All documentation will be completed by us so all the buyer and seller needs to do is check and sign. Our aim is to make the whole process, from start to finish, as easy as possible for you. The proceeds of the sale minus the brokerage commission will be sent to the seller and the bill’s of sale will be signed. The seller will also be issued a step by step checklist for tasks they will need to complete following handover like surrendering their Ofcom licences, cancellation of insurance and cancellation of moorings. At this stage the keys can be handed over to the new official owner. We will carry out all the registration documentation on your behalf with the relevant Harbour authorities.

The only thing left to do is get out on the water and have fun!

Handover day.

Smooth seas.

Ocean Cobra Limited has no association with any product mentioned. We only recommend products based on our own experience. Full disclaimer can be found here

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By Ocean Cobra

Your go to solution in yacht brokerage, gardiennage and maintenance management.