How To Sell A Boat In Florida

Did you know that Florida boasts approximately 1350 miles of coastline, making it a paradise for boat enthusiasts? Now, imagine the potential of selling your boat in this maritime haven.

Selling a boat in Florida involves more than just finding a buyer – it’s about steering through a set of steps to ensure a smooth and successful transaction.

From gathering the necessary documents to setting a competitive price, crafting an alluring listing, and harnessing the power of online promotion, each phase plays a vital role in attracting the right buyer.

Arrange showings to showcase your vessel’s strengths and finalize the deal using a well-drafted bill of sale. The last lap includes transferring the title and tying up loose ends, such as canceling the boat’s registration and insurance.

Ready to dive into the comprehensive guide that will ensure you sail through the process? Let’s explore how to navigate the intricate waters of selling a boat in Florida.

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What Paperwork Do You Need to Sell Your Boat in Florida?

In Florida, you must have all the necessary documents before selling a boat. Where the rubber hits the road is here.

Register and Title with FWC: Navigating the Channels

You must get that boat registered and titled with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC). This isn’t optional—it’s a must. The size and type of your vessel will determine the specific forms you need.

No shortcuts here, folks. Grab that Application for Registration and Titling of Vessel Form. You’ll be jotting down stuff like the boat hull number, owner’s name, boat length and type, sale price, buyer’s name, and date of sale—you get the drift. Don’t forget to spill the beans on the vessel insurance info. They’re going to need that.

Proof of Ownership: Your Boat’s Story

Let’s talk ownership, my friends. You must show that the boat is yours to sell. How? Well, that’s where the vessel’s bill of sale or a previous registration comes into play.

It’s like showing the birth certificate of your boat, and you must have it to seal the deal—no hocus-pocus here—just good old documentation.

FWC’s Got the Goods: Form Frenzy

Don’t worry; we’re not throwing you into the paperwork wilderness all alone. The FWC’s got your back.

You’ll find that nifty Application for Registration and Titling of Vessel Form there, along with other forms that’ll make your boat-selling journey smoother than a calm day at sea.

Head over to their website, and you’ll find a treasure trove of forms that’ll guide you through this process.

How Do Taxes Factor into Selling Your Boat in Florida?

Let’s dive into the deep waters of boat taxes in the Sunshine State—Florida. Taxing might not be a very warm topic, but trust me, it’s crucial to selling your boat.

Sales Tax: The Showstopper

First off, we’ve got the sales tax. Yep, Florida requires boat sellers to pony up some dough in the form of sales tax. The amount you’ll be forking over depends on that sale price and your county’s sales tax rate. Simple math, really.

Say you’re selling a boat for 20 grand in Pinellas County—well, you’ll be shelling out 6% of that in sales tax, which comes to a cool 1,200 bucks. That’s the state’s cut right there.

Documentary Stamp Tax: The Twist in the Tale

But wait, there’s more! We’ve got the documentary stamp tax, adding a little twist to the tax tale. This one’s based on your boat’s sale price, too. So, if you’re selling that same boat for 20K, you’ll need to toss in an extra 150 bucks for the documentary stamp tax. It’s like a little souvenir for the paperwork.

Lien Filing Fees: Navigating Loan Territory

Now, if you financed your boat with a loan, don’t think you’re off the hook just yet. There’s something called lien filing fees. These vary by county, and in Pinellas County, it’s a mere 10 bucks. But hey, every penny counts, right? Just remember, if a loan’s in the picture, these fees are part of the deal.

Preparing Your Boat for Sale: Where to Start?

It’s time, my fellow boat enthusiasts—roll up your sleeves and get down to the details of preparing the boat for the big sale. You want your boat to stand out like a gem in the water because this is where the magic takes place.

Get Rid of Quirks: A Smooth Sailing Experience

First off, let’s talk quirks. You know those little mechanical issues or maintenance tasks you’ve been putting off? Well, it’s time to face them head-on.

Those rattles, those sticky hatches—get them sorted; believe me, what might seem like minor annoyances to you can be deal-breakers for potential buyers. You want that boat to glide smoothly and not give anyone a headache.

Declutter Like a Pro: Create the Space

Now, let’s declutter. I’m not saying Marie Kondo your boat, but a little tidying up can work wonders. Clear out that cabin, tidy those stowage compartments—it’s all about creating that feeling of space and potential. Buyers want to step on board and envision themselves cruising those waters. A clutter-free boat does just that.

Cleanliness is King: The Shine Factor

Now, let’s talk cleanliness, my friends. You want your boat to sparkle like Poseidon’s trident. Scrub it down, wash it up, and don’t forget that wax. A shiny boat isn’t just appealing; it screams, I’ve been well taken care of. And that’s exactly what buyers want to hear.

How Can You Create Compelling Visuals for Your Boat Listing?

You’re browsing through boat listings, and what grabs your attention? That’s right, killer photos and videos. In this digital age, visual content is like the siren’s call for potential buyers. Let’s dive into how to capture their imagination and seal the deal.

Picture Perfect: Snapping the Right Shots

First things first, we’re talking pictures. High-quality photos are your secret weapon. Think about it—your boat’s like a rockstar on stage, and those photos are the concert posters.

Show off its best angles and its standout features. You want those images to say, hey, I’m the one you’ve been looking for! So, grab that camera and get snapping.

Lights, Camera, Action: Videos that Wow

But wait, we’re not stopping at photos. Videos are the MVPs here. Stats don’t lie—listings with videos sell around 20% faster. So, go beyond photos and shoot some on-the-water videos.

Let buyers see how that boat handles and how it moves through those waves. It’s like a virtual test drive, and it adds a whole new level of excitement.

Highlight the Details: Close-Ups Matter

When you’re shooting, think of details. Get close-ups of the finer points—the sleek helm, the comfortable seating, the tech gadgets. These details matter, and buyers want to see them up close. It’s like showing off the threads of your boat’s character.

Pricing Your Boat Right: What’s the Strategy?

The time has come to discuss one of the most essential aspects of selling your bot, the proper price, my friends. Although it can look like throwing darts in the dark, I assure you this game has a method.

Market Watch: Dive into Research Mode

First things first, it’s time to channel your inner detective. You need to research the market, my friends. Check out resources like the Boat Trader Price Checker and scout listings on websites like Get a feel for what similar boats are going for. It’s like knowing the competition before stepping into the ring.

Book Values: The Anchors of Pricing

Next up, book values. This isn’t any crystal ball, but it’s darn close. These values are like the anchors that keep your pricing grounded. Consult them, understand them, and use them as a reference point. It’s like having a seasoned navigator guiding your pricing journey.

Pre-Sale Survey: Uncover Hidden Treasures

Hold on; we’re not done yet. Ever thought about a pre-sale survey? It’s like shining a flashlight into the dark corners. This survey can reveal any potential issues your boat might have. And guess what? Addressing those issues upfront can speed up the selling process. It’s like getting your boat in fighting shape.

How Do You Develop a Plan to Sell Your Boat?

It’s decision time—do you go solo or bring in the heavy hitters? When it comes to crafting your sales plan, you’ve got two paths: the DIY route or teaming up with a boat broker.

DIY: Captain of Your Ship

Going the DIY route means you’re the captain of your ship. You’re steering this boat-selling journey all by yourself. It’s like taking the wheel and feeling that wind in your hair.

You control every move, from setting the price to negotiating with potential buyers. You’re responsible for marketing, handling inquiries, and sealing the deal. It’s a one-person show, and you’re calling the shots.

Broker: Sailing with the Pros

If you’re not up for the solo expedition, a boat broker might be your co-captain. These pros are like the navigators of the boat-selling world. They know the waters, have the connections and are equipped to handle the nitty-gritty.

They take care of the marketing, negotiations, and paperwork. It’s like having a seasoned guide leading you through uncharted territory. But remember, this convenience comes at a cost—they take a commission from the sale. So, it’s a trade-off between ease and that commission chunk.

Where Should You List Your Boat for Maximum Exposure?

You’ve polished that boat, set the price, and crafted your game plan. But here’s the kicker—where do you put your boat on display? It’s like having the coolest party in town but not telling anyone where it’s at. The Big Leagues

First up, we’ve got This platform is like the big leagues of boat listings. With over 120,000 boats for sale, it’s like a boat enthusiast’s dreamland.

You can easily showcase your boat here, updating listings with new photos or price changes. It’s like putting your boat on a stage where everyone’s watching.

Local Listings: The Home Turf Advantage

Don’t underestimate the power of local listings. Check if your local newspapers or magazines offer boat classifieds. It’s like tapping into your home turf advantage. Potential buyers in your area can stumble upon your listing and make that connection.

Social Media: The Digital Waves

Now, let’s ride the digital waves. Social media is your secret weapon. Share your boat’s story on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. It’s like shouting from the mountaintops but in the digital realm. Friends share, friends tag—your boat’s reach grows like wildfire.

Craigslist: The Local Crowd Pleaser

Don’t sleep on Craigslist, my friends. It’s like the local crowd-pleaser. Post your boat on the Craigslist page for your area, and you’ll be surprised how many local eyes it catches. It’s like spreading the word within your own community. You can also read this article for tips on selling on Craigslist.

YachtWorld: The Luxury Touch

For those aiming for the luxury market, YachtWorld is your go-to. It’s like the Rodeo Drive of boat listings. If your boat is in the upper echelons, this platform will give it the luxurious spotlight it deserves. High-end buyers are on the prowl here.

Boat Trader: The Trusted Classic

This platform’s like the trusted classic. Buyers know it; they trust it. With millions of visitors monthly, it’s like the Grand Central Station of boat listings. Your boat’s going to get some serious exposure here.

How Do You Tailor Your Listing to Attract the Right Buyers?

Alright, let’s talk about understanding your boating market in the glorious state of Florida. It’s like knowing the lay of the land before you embark on an adventure. This knowledge can be your secret sauce for crafting listings that resonate with local boating communities.

Diverse Boating Regions: Know the Terrain

Florida isn’t just a state; it’s a mosaic of diverse boating regions. Each region has its vibe, preferences, and quirks, from the Gulf of Mexico to the Atlantic.

It’s like having different flavors in one massive buffet. Research these regions like you’re uncovering hidden treasures. Know what kind of boats thrive in each area—fishing, leisure, or something.

Tailoring Listings: Speak Their Language

Once you’ve got the regions down, it’s time to tailor your listings. It’s like speaking the language of the locals. If you’re in a fishing-centric area, highlight those rod holders, fish finders, and bait stations.

If it’s all about leisure, showcase the transom seating, luxury lounge, and cabin space. It’s like giving potential buyers a glimpse of the boating lifestyle they’ve been dreaming about.

Highlighting Features: Make it Relatable

Now, let’s talk about those features. You’ve got to highlight the ones that resonate with specific regions.

It’s like connecting the dots for potential buyers. If your boat’s in a region known for sport fishing, those fishing wells and angler-friendly setups are your ticket.

If it’s a leisure-centric area, focus on creature comforts and entertainment spaces. It’s like showing buyers how your boat fits seamlessly into their boating world.

Final Say

There you have it, fellow boat sellers—your comprehensive guide to selling a boat in Florida. From understanding the paperwork to crafting captivating listings, navigating taxes, and tailoring to local preferences, you’re armed with the tools for a successful voyage.

Remember, it’s not just about selling a boat; it’s about igniting the passion for boating. So, set sail confidently, embrace the adventure, and make those boat dreams come true. Fair winds and smooth seas, my friends!

Jack K. Pride
Jack K. Pride

Jack K. Pride is an accomplished author and a prominent figure in the boating community. With a passion for boats and a deep understanding of the maritime industry, he has been sharing his expertise through his compelling articles on

Known for his insightful and informative writing style, Jack's articles provide valuable insights, tips, and knowledge to boat enthusiasts worldwide. His dedication to the subject matter and commitment to delivering high-quality content makes him a trusted voice in the boating world.

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