In 2024, the used boat market in Canada, and globally, continues to experience trends influenced by the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, supply chain challenges, and changing demographics of boat buyers. These disruptions have affected the inventory of new boats available. Whether you’re an experienced sailor or looking to become a boat owner for the first time, it’s crucial to understand elements like market dynamics, trends, boat depreciation, and timing when buying a used boat.

Trends for buying a used boat in Canada

1. Boat pricing trends: The pandemic-induced demand surge has kept new and used boat prices high into 2024. New boats face elevated prices due to supply chain issues and inflation, while the scarce inventory keeps used boat prices at a premium. Prices are expected to stabilize at these higher levels without reverting to pre-pandemic figures. (ref: SportfishHub)

2. Buyer demographics and market dynamics: An influx of first-time, often younger buyers is reshaping the market. Influenced by the pandemic, these buyers are embarking on sailing adventures earlier, seeking expertise for navigating purchases. This trend towards early adventure is seen as a lasting shift in the market. (ref: Yachting World).

3.  Market variations and complexity: Regional differences, affect both buyers and sellers. Demand remains strong for quality used boats, but documentation and regulatory challenges have increased. And the implementation of the Luxury Tax in Canada has put a different set of pressures on decision making. The market for cruising yachts and multihulls continues to be strong despite these hurdles.

“Scarcity of a particular boat make, or model will keep price up and sometimes beyond the original selling price if well maintained.”

We spoke with Carson Thompson, who brings years of experience as a boat owner and as the President of American Marine Insurance in Gibsons, BC, specializing in pleasure craft insurance. Thompson highlights the impact of scarcity on boat pricing: “The scarcity of a specific boat make, or model can drive prices up, sometimes even beyond the original selling price, especially if the boat is well-maintained.”

Boat depreciation insights

Boat depreciation is the loss of value over time, influenced by age, wear and tear, technological advances, and market demand. The rate of depreciation varies by boat type, condition, and market trends. However, factors such as brand reputation, maintenance history, upgrades, and model popularity can affect the depreciation curve. Staying informed about these factors is essential for buyers and sellers alike.

Key considerations when selling or buying a used boat

When engaging in the purchase or sale of a used boat, it’s essential to weigh critical considerations. These factors can greatly impact the value, marketability, and overall satisfaction of the transaction.

1. Price research: Conduct research to understand the fair market value of the boat you’re interested in buying or selling. Online boat marketplaces, classified ads, and professional appraisers can provide valuable insights into current pricing trends.

2. Condition: The overall condition of the boat, including its hull, engine, interior, and electronics, plays a significant role in determining its value. Proper maintenance, regular servicing, and cleanliness contribute to maintaining a boat’s value.

3. Documentation: Accurate and complete documentation, including maintenance records, registration, title, and warranty information, enhances the credibility and marketability.

4. Inspections and surveys: Consider hiring a professional surveyor to assess the boat’s condition thoroughly. Inspections can help identify any hidden issues that may impact the boat’s value.

5. Negotiation and paperwork: Effective negotiation skills and attention to detail, including sales contracts and transfer of ownership, are vital to ensure a smooth and legal transaction.

6. Availability of insurance coverage: Many insurance companies have limitations on the type of insurance they will sell based on the age of the boat. Do you research before you buy.

Optimal timing for purchasing used boats

The best time to buy a used boat is usually during the off-season when demand is lower, and more owners are looking to sell. Utilizing online marketplaces, attending boat shows, and watching classified ads are effective strategies for finding good opportunities. used boats in canadaCarson Thompson shared his experience acquiring a Navigator Classic 5000, emphasizing the challenges and costs associated with purchasing a boat from the US due to fluctuating exchange rates. Despite these challenges, Thompson noted the process’s relative ease, thanks to the use of a broker and a thorough pre-purchase survey, highlighting the importance of professional assistance in such transactions.

The reward of buying and selling used boats

Engaging in the used boat market can be rewarding with the right information. The key to success is understanding depreciation, recognizing the importance of timing, and conducting thorough research, inspections, and negotiations. Consulting with experienced individuals and leveraging additional resources can greatly enhance your understanding and ensure well-informed decisions.

The used boat market that remains robust in Canada, with sustained demand and high prices. The entry of new, younger buyers into the market is reshaping expectations and experiences, while regional regulatory changes introduce new challenges. As the market evolves, buyers and sellers must stay informed and prepared to adapt to these ongoing changes. Happy boating!

Resources for buying a used boat
For more in-depth information on buying and selling used boats, this article offers a review of buying a new vs used boat by Discover Boating: New or Used Boats: How to Decide Which Type of Boat to Buy

Pacific Marine: A comprehensive guide to buying a used boat

Credit: Photo by Sander Breneman on Unsplash and Photo by Vincent Le on Unsplash


Share Share on Facebook Share on Twitter