The Art of Boat Staging: Presenting Your Boat for Maximum Buyer Appeal

boat staging 2If you’re currently preparing to put your boat on the market, it’s only natural to want it to sell quickly and for a good price. You don’t want yours to be one of those boats that languish there forever despite being perfectly good buys.

That’s why it’s so important to set your boat up for market success right from the get-go. Contrary to what you might believe, helping your boat appeal to the best buyers isn’t necessarily about having a better boat than everyone else’s.

Staging is a massive factor that affects how many buyers a boat attracts, as well as how much it sells for and how fast. Here we’ll take a closer look at what every seller should know about how to sell a boat for top dollar by boosting its curb appeal with staging.

Why Is Staging So Important?

First impressions absolutely matter, and they count for more than you might think when selling a big-ticket item like a house, car, or boat. The right approach to staging not only presents your boat for sale in the best possible light but also paints a vivid picture of what it could bring to a buyer’s life.

Meanwhile, poor staging can do the exact opposite. Boats that are cluttered, dirty, unkempt, or uncared for can turn a buyer off immediately. Plus, it’s only natural for that buyer to wonder what else might be wrong with the boat if the owner couldn’t even be bothered to prepare it nicely for buyers.

That said, staging really does make a huge difference in how appealing a particular vessel may be to buyers, especially in comparison to other options out there on the market.

Give the Exterior a Good Cleaning

Imagine you’re a buyer looking to purchase a new boat. What would be more appealing to you – a boat that looks dirty and neglected when you show up to look at it or one that’s been pristinely cleaned and is sparkling in the sun?

A beautiful, clean, polished boat not only makes a better first impression but helps show that its owner truly cares about it and has made it a point to maintain it. So, start your staging process by treating your boat’s exterior to a serious scrub-down. Then, finish up with a beautiful new coat of wax.

Deep-Clean the Interior

Once you’re done with the outside of your boat, it’s time to give the same attention to the inside. And be sure to pay attention to every nook, cranny, and detail. Potential buyers who come aboard for a showing will be going over absolutely every inch of your boat’s interior to get a feel for how well it’s been cared for.

Some examples of tasks to focus on include (but definitely aren’t limited to):

  • Polishing all metal fixtures, fittings, and details to a high shine
  • Checking and cleaning all drains, as these have a tendency to accumulate a lot of grime
  • Checking ports, hatches, etc. for oxidation and addressing any issues found
  • Going over any areas most boat owners overlook – like lockers, bilges, and stowage areas
  • Deep-cleaning the carpet (or replacing it if it’s old and worn)
  • Polishing glass, mirrors, and similar fixtures until they’re spotless

And don’t forget to give some thought to how your boat smells. Boats can easily develop a musty odor, but deodorizing with an ozone machine can help. So can deep-cleaning carpeting, upholstery, curtains, and other features along those lines.

Boatzon describes how boat staging is done right

Treat Your Boat to a Tune-Up

One of the biggest potential obstacles for prospective buyers is a boat with mechanical issues, so don’t simply assume that a flickering light or two is really no big deal. You should have any known problems professionally repaired, as well as perform a few routine maintenance tasks yourself before putting a boat up for sale.

Definitely don’t forget to give your boat’s engine a once-over, as you can bet your buyers will be checking or asking about it. As with automobiles and other vehicles, it’s important to maintain boat engines with clean oil, filters that are replaced on time, and regular professional maintenance.

Inspect Your Boat for Mildew

Naturally, any boat is constantly in and out of situations that involve a lot of extra moisture exposure, so mold, mildew, and similar issues can become big problems. And such problems can slide out of control pretty quickly – sometimes without the boat owner noticing – so it’s important to check for them specifically when considering how to sell a boat.

Moisture absorbers and regular cleanings can help keep the interior of your boat dry, clean, and free of mold and mildew moving forward.

Remove Your Personal Effects

If you’ve ever gone to an open house at a property for sale, then you’ve likely already gotten a taste of what excellent staging looks like. Often, there’s not only furniture there, but everything is beautifully arranged. You may even see little details added – like flowers or table settings. All this is designed to help potential buyers picture themselves living in that house.

You can produce a similar effect for your boat by thinking of ways to help a buyer picture a reality where it’s their boat instead. Depersonalizing the interior by removing clothing, photos, and other personal touches is a good first step. It’s also a good idea to leave storage spaces empty to help them feel a little more spacious.

A few small touches to help emphasize the boat’s best features are OK, but make sure they’re not personal in nature.

Take Beautiful Photos and Videos

Whether you’re selling your boat privately or putting it up for sale on a boating platform like Boatzon, spectacular visual aids can really help stop a prospective buyer in their tracks. That said, incredible photos and videos are essential when it comes to how to sell a boat quickly and to the right buyer.

Here are some tips for helping your boat stand out and appeal to buyers using strong visuals:

  • If possible, show your boat actually on the water, as it’s truly where boats look best.
  • If an aquatic setting isn’t possible for your visuals, be sure to choose a beautiful spot on land – someplace clean, appealing, and attractive.
  • Consider shooting a video walkthrough to showcase some of your boat’s standout features.
  • Understand that lighting matters. Consider shooting your boat during the “golden hours” when the light is most flattering – either an hour before sunset or an hour after sunrise.
  • Make sure all photos and videos are clear, high in quality, and well-composed.

Not much of a photographer or videographer yourself? There’s no shame in seeking help. Ask a friend with a great eye to help you, or consider hiring a professional. (Professionals can be a big help with staging, as well.)

Prepare Important Documents

Many boat owners never think past the visual aspects of how to sell a boat and successfully show it to prospective buyers. However, having important documents on hand for buyers to view can be super helpful. Examples include:

  • Registration
  • Bill of sale
  • Marine survey reports
  • History reports (including ownership history)
  • Maintenance records
  • Title
  • HIN information

Knowing documents like these are all ready to go can help a buyer feel more confident about a sale, as well as reinforce the notion that the boat has been well taken care of.

Ultimately, successful staging is a big part of understanding how to sell a boat and attract top buyers. So, be sure to go the extra mile when staging yours, as well as choose a trusted platform (like Boatzon) for presenting your boat for sale. Your boat will be off the market before you know it.