Ways to Dispose of Your Boat

boat disposal

Owning a boat can be a fantastic adventure, offering endless days of fun on the water. From fishing and cruising to simply enjoying the sun, the good times never seem to end. There comes a time in every boat owner’s life, however, when they need to let go of their beloved vessel. Whether it’s due to upgrading, downsizing or lifestyle changes, getting rid of a boat can be as significant a decision as buying one.

To help get you pointed in the right direction, let’s explore a few options for responsibly and effectively disposing of your boat.


Selling is often the most straightforward option. If your boat is still in good condition and marketable, you can hawk it privately or through a broker. Selling privately typically yields a higher price since there are no middleman fees, but it requires more effort on your part. You’ll need to advertise, show it to potential buyers and handle negotiations. A broker — while costing a commission — can make the process smoother by taking care of the listing, showing and paperwork.


If your boat is no longer seaworthy, consider repurposing it. Creative individuals have transformed old boats into various new uses, such as garden planters, backyard playgrounds or unique pieces of furniture. This approach can be particularly appealing if you’re crafty and enjoy DIY projects. It allows you to retain a piece in a new and meaningful way.


Recycling is a practical option for boats that are beyond repair. Many of the materials — such as fiberglass, metals and woods — can be recycled and reused in other products. There are even specialized companies that dismantle them and recycle any usable materials recovered along the way. This is a great, environmentally friendly route, especially when compared to the alternative of it ending up in a landfill.


Another option is to send your vessel to auction. This can be a quick way to unload a boat, especially if it’s unique or in high demand. Online or in-person auctions can attract a wide range of buyers looking for specific types of vessels. The auction house typically takes care of most of the selling process, but they do charge fees for their services.

Trade In

If you’re not ready to give up on boating entirely but your current vessel no longer suits your needs, trading it in as part of the purchase of a new or different model can be an ideal solution. Many dealerships accept trades and offer you a credit towards your next purchase. This can be a convenient and efficient way to upgrade or change your boating style without having to sell your old boat separately.


Last, but certainly not least, donating to a charity or nonprofit organization is not only a generous way to dispose of your boat, but also it can be beneficial for tax purposes. A boat donation program can be exceptionally valuable for the community. Often, these organizations accept boats, refurbish them and either use them for their programs or sell them to fund their activities. It’s a great way to give back to the community while freeing yourself from the responsibilities of boat ownership.

Navigating the End of One Boating Adventure

All in all, disposal can be as simple or as involved as you choose, depending on what you feel is best for your situation. By taking the time to evaluate your choices, you can make the decision that best aligns with your needs and benefits the community or the environment in a positive way as well.

Remember, the end of one boating journey can lead to the beginning of another, whether on the water or through the legacy of your donated boat.

sources: Goodwill Car Donations, JD Power

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This article was written by MyBoatLife.com editorial staff.
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