Collecting Vintage Boats

If you’re one of the many people who simply feel the world looks better from the deck of a boat, you’re in excellent company. Millions of people just like you love the way boating helps ensure they get their regular quota of fresh air, sunshine, and exercise. Boating is also an incredibly relaxing way to spend an afternoon or explore the world around you.

Vintage boats bring all of these benefits to the table, as well as add a unique charm to your boating excursions. They can make wonderful investments for a boat lover to look into, as well. Here’s a closer look at what you need to know about becoming a vintage boat collector, including where to look for vintage boats for sale, what to consider when shopping, and more.

Vintage wooden boats anchored at a dock

Why Choose a Vintage Boat?

Naturally, brand-new boats have a certain appeal. But once boating truly captures a piece of your soul, it’s virtually impossible not to appreciate the sheer beauty and value the right vintage boat can bring to the table. The following are just a few of the benefits of making one part of your life:

  • Buying or restoring a vintage boat means owning your own little piece of nautical history and culture.
  • Refurbishing a beautiful antique boat to its full former glory (or maintaining one that’s already been restored) can make a boat owner feel genuinely accomplished.
  • Diving into the wonderful world of vintage boats can deepen your love for boating in a highly meaningful way.
  • Antique boats make incredible investments, as they’re in limited supply and will only grow in value over the years.

Going from simply being a vintage boat owner to a collector also offers the pride that comes with knowing you’re helping to preserve the integrity of a larger maritime legacy. How’s that for a lifetime accomplishment?

Where and How to Find Amazing Vintage Boats for Sale

The process of investing in an older boat isn’t quite as straightforward as that of simply buying a brand-new one. You need to know where to find the right vintage boats for sale, as well as how to evaluate your options to ensure a good experience. Here’s a look at some of what you should know.

Understand the process

Buying an antique boat is a lot like buying a vintage car or any other type of high-value antique item in that there’s an entire process involved. Every great purchase starts with a round of thorough research. This means settling on your needs, expectations, and budget, as well as considering the right boat to add to your collection next.

Once you know what you’re looking for and why, you can start the shopping process. Finally, you complete your purchase, register your new vessel, consider insurance options, and so forth.

Know where to buy

Once you’re really out there looking you’ll realize there are a lot of places where an eager buyer can find vintage boats for sale, including familiar open marketplaces like eBay and Craigslist. However, you should naturally vet any opportunities you find on such marketplaces with extreme caution.

If you’re looking for something specific or need personalized assistance with the buying process, a dedicated boat broker represents a solid approach. But if you like the idea of shopping for and purchasing your boat virtually, a trusted dealership platform like Boatzon might be the solution you’re looking for.

Boatzon features one of the country’s largest catalogs of boats for sale, including vintage boats of all sizes and types. Shoppers can browse according to manufacturer, type, and more. It’s also possible to complete every step of the shopping and purchase process within the platform, including pre-qualifying for financing, evaluating your purchase options, and finalizing your sale.

What to Consider When Adding a New Vintage Boat to Your Collection

Building a collection of historical or antique boats brings a few different considerations into play that you might not have otherwise. For example, most classic boat enthusiasts want their collections to be well-rounded, so it’s important to have a plan for building yours.

Are you looking to collect boats from a specific era, manufacturer, or category? Is there a specific order or system you’d prefer to follow when acquiring new additions? It’s also crucial to do your research on what to preserve versus what to update to ensure each purchase not only retains its current value but continues to become more valuable over the years.

Other factors to carefully consider before moving forward with a vintage boat purchase include:

  • Rarity and overall market value of the boat
  • Condition the boat is in at the time of purchase
  • Potential costs of restoring the boat to mint condition
  • Overall history of the boat, including ownership history

Make sure you know whether you’re looking for a fully restored boat or prefer the idea of investing in a fixer-upper before you get too attached to any particular option.

You should also have a plan in place for the day you do acquire your next boat. Where and how do you plan to store the vessel? What are your plans for restoring the boat (if restoration is needed) and preserving its value moving forward?

Antique vs. Classic Boats: Is There a Difference?

Generally speaking, a particular boat is considered an antique if it was built between 1919 and 1942. Any boat built before that gets an upgrade to “historic” instead.

The term “classic” generally applies to boats built after 1942. Standard classics were built between 1943 and 1975. Meanwhile, late classics date back to any year falling between 1976 and 25 years before the present year. For example, a boat must date back to at least 1998 to be considered a late classic in 2023.

What’s Involved in Vintage Boat Restoration?

Although some very hands-on boat enthusiasts may personally do some of the work of restoring an older boat, most hire restoration experts to help. The process is typically pretty extensive, so it’s important to be prepared for that upfront.

Restorations usually start by addressing issues with the mechanics of the boat, as well as the woodwork and body. From there, upholstery and other important details are repaired or replaced in a way that preserves the integrity of the original design.

In most cases, collectors should also have vintage boats varnished once every three years or so to preserve their value and that of any work done.

Is a Vintage Boat Collection the Right Choice for You?

Building and maintaining a truly impressive collection of vintage boats isn’t for everyone. It’s a big undertaking, not to mention a significant investment of time, money, and passion. However, it’s also a very rewarding one, especially if you genuinely love not only boating but also its history and cultural value.

That said, do you love the idea of investing in something tangible, especially something you can use and enjoy yourself? Would you love to explore a unique way to meet like-minded people and build lasting friendships around your interest in boating? Is there a specific aspect of boating or a historical era you’d love to get up close and personal with?

If you can answer “yes” to questions like these, then you probably owe it to yourself to give vintage boat collecting a serious try. Full-service platforms like Boatzon can take the guesswork out of the process of exploring the incredible world of older boats and finding just the right options to invest in. Get started today!