The National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) has been around for over 100 years, and regularly publishes helpful economic reports and analysis including snapshots of vehicle sales and other industry data. The organization’s NADA Guides are a set of regularly updated, blue-book style online vehicle-listing reports that included pricing information on boats and personal watercraft as well as other types of vehicles. NADA also provides data to banks, finance companies, insurance companies, and government agencies. However, NADA prices ranges don’t necessarily tell the whole story. To accurately evaluate what a boat is worth and price a boat for sale, sellers should draw from various sources of information including the largest marketplace for new and used boats.
Above: A woman holds a pocket-sized copy of the Nada Guide To Boat Values. Photo: Boat Trader/Pond5.
As a powerful alternative, Boat Trader provides a real-time boat price checker tool that displays a range of prices for a specified boat model including three price points: the highest price, the lowest price and the average price. The data is based on current boat listing prices active on the marketplace, thus takes into account boating industry market trends, general inventory levels, location and manufacturing date. These numbers also accurately reflect pricing from a macroeconomic standpoint with factors at play such as inflation, interest rates and relevant foreign exchange rates, i.e. the overall current state of the economy.
Above: Boat Trader’s “Boat Price Checker” tool gives boat sellers a quick and easy way to compare their vessel with other similar boats currently listed for sale on the Boat Trader marketplace, providing a helpful reference when pricing a boat competitively.
How To Price A Boat For Sale Accurately
To use the boat price checker tool and learn how to price a boat appropriately in order to sell a boat effectively, boat owners can follow a few simple steps on one easy-to-use page and then view the resulting price ranges. The required information consists of a model date range, the make (i.e. the brand/boat builder), the length (min/max) and the geographic location (i.e. within a specific mile range of a specific zip code).
Step-By-Step Guide To Pricing A Boat (with screenshots)
Here we’ve compiled a convenient step-by-step guide with examples for how to use the boat price checker as well as other boat buying and selling resources available on our marketplace in order to price your boat competitively and fairly.
Step 1: Use The Price Checker
Above: The suggested price range for a used boat are displayed above from high to low, including the current average price. The data shown in the example provided includes pricing for a Yamaha boat between 18-22 feet long that was manufactured between 2011 and 2022 and is for sale in the Miami area (i.e. within a 100 mile range of Miami’s downtown zip code).
The tool not only rounds these numbers into the helpful price points outlined above, it also provides a link to view all the listings that match a seller’s search criteria so that boat owners can delve further and take a deep dive into their competition. This search results page includes links to boat detail pages for each listings that may display photos of each vessel, details about the condition of the boat, any add-ons and upgrades the boat may have, the engines and hours on them (a key important consideration for many boat buyers, similar to the miles on a car) and other relevant information that may affect the price of a boat.
Step 2: Review Specific Make And Model SRP Pages
Next boat sellers who are looking to get a full view of the market in order to price their vessel competitively can visit the listings page for specific makes and models to get more information. Visiting the search results page for a specific model and scrolling down to the bottom of the page, below the active listings is a great way to find some very helpful information based on current data.
For example, continuing our illustration using Yamaha Boats, if a boat owner selling a Yamaha boat has already consulted the boat price checker tool, they can next visit the Yamaha boats for sale SRP page on Boat Trader. If they scroll to the bottom of the page, they will find some great dynamic and constantly updated content about Yamaha boats currently for sale on the Boat Trader marketplace, as you can see in the screenshot below.
Above: A screenshot from Boat Trader’s Yamaha boats for sale SRP page including some real-time pricing and listing data.
In this section, sellers can review some very useful real-time data that can help inform them about how valuable their boat may be, in comparison to what is on the market. This data includes such key points as the amount of Yamaha boats currently listed for sale on the Boat Trader website, the length and size range of the boats listed, the engine and horsepower (from minimum to maximum) along with how many of the boats listed are new versus used vessels, as well as what model years they range from (from newest to oldest). Other details available include the types of engines (inboard versus outboard), and the types of boats Yamaha is known for, as well as what their most popular models are.
As of the writing of this article, the current data displaying on the bottom of the Yamaha boat listings page states that “the smallest current [Yamaha] boat is listed at 10 feet in length, to the longest vessel measuring in at 27 feet, and an average length of 22.01 feet.”
Further, the paragraph continues, “Boat Trader currently has 2,095 Yamaha Boats for sale, including 1,326 new vessels and 769 used boats listed by both private sellers and professional dealerships mainly in United States. The oldest model listed is a contemporary boat built in 1996 and the newest model year of 2023. Yamaha Boats boats for sale on Boat Trader are listed for an assortment of prices, valued from $7,499 on the lower-priced models all the way up to $155,899 for the most luxurious yachts. Higher performance models now listed come rigged with motors up to 720 horsepower, while lighter-weight more functional models may have as modest as 111 horsepower engines (although the average engine size is 360 HP). Yamaha Boats is popular for their Jet, Bowrider, Personal Watercraft, Ski and Wakeboard and other among other classes and models. Overall these available boats have a shallow draft and average beam, traits that make them perfect for day cruising and watersports.”
Step 3: Compare Similar Boat Types, Makes And Models
Next boat owners in the process of selling their vessels can also do further research by comparing similar makes and models and a wider price range for boats that buyers may be looking at as alternatives to their vessels. For example, we can see above that Yamaha Boats listed on Boat Trader are all below 27 feet (i.e. trailerable vessels) with a max price around $155K that are popular for watersports and for their jet-drives. From here, a seller may choose to visit the ski and wake boats for sale SRP page on Boat Trader and then set the search filters to match that specific size range (e.g. 27 feet max), in order to compare some other brand and model prices.
Above: Boat Trader search filters can be very helpful when buying or selling a boat online. Illustrated above is a search that filters listings to used jet drive ski and wake boats manufactured between 2011 and 2022 that are under 27 feet long.
Step 4: Check NADA Guides
To be extra thorough, boat sellers can cross reference the above data with NADA guides for a thorough, complete view of your vessel and to double-check your research. NADA Guides obtains monthly sales figures from auction sales reports, private party sales reports, as well as sales transactions from dealers, so it is another good resources to check, in combination with the Boat Trader tools. The data you gather and compare will give you a solid grip on the market realities for your specific boat. Plus, based on what you learn, you may instead choose to trade-in a boat and upgrade with a local boat dealership, rather than selling it to a private buyer. Either way, this process is a great way to get to know more about boats in general.
Bottom Line: Competitive Pricing Is Key To Finding Buyers
Both buying a boat and selling a boat can each present a competitive process, and both sellers and buyers generally have access to the same information. To make sure you’re not leaving any money on the table, all sources of information should be reviewed and compiled in order to assess the field before accepting or making any offers. There may be good reasons for pricing a boat well outside the average range, either high or low, but sellers should state those reasons the listing specs in order to appeal to the right types of potential boat buyers who have done their homework.