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Get Back in the Game

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By Jason Y. Wood

The market for buying and selling boats is still there. It hasn’t gone away, it’s just been going through some changes. There are deals to be had, if you know where to look. The good news is that brokers have stayed in the game, watching the fluky market. The right broker can help you find what you need. It may be time to get off the bench.


“I’ve done probably a dozen deals so far this year,” says Mike McCarthy (shown), a broker at HMY Yachts (772-631-2838; “A number of people have said to me that although the business environment is not perfect, they’ve simply gotten tired of waiting. They feel it’s time to get out and enjoy boating with their family.”

            The market still has some fluctuation in it, but that can work to your advantage if you know how the pricing is really working. “If I was heading back into the market at this point, I would try to get a good feel for what has been selling in the last 18 to 24 months,” McCarthy says. “There’s really no out-and-out blue book that people can open up and see the comps of boats. What you really need to try to do is deal with a market maker, somebody who does a large volume of business and knows what the comps of boats are and generally knows the individual motivation of the boats they represent.”

            What will a buyer see in a snapshot of today’s market? “There are still a number of good buy-side opportunities out there,” McCarthy says. “A lot of them are a result of boat owners trying to make the move up themselves. They’re trying to capitalize on the market.”

            The market climate can determine the prices in all market segments. “Over the last couple years we’ve seen a real a flight to quality: people buying quality, late-model stuff,” McCarthy says. “There are boats that will sell well below the asking price and there are others that are priced right to the bone. You’ve got to take advantage of a house that specializes in the boat that you’re looking for and has a good feel for the market.”