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How to Flip an Old Boat

Updated on February 24, 2016

Sinking Profits? Sell Old Boats for a Little Extra Income!

Unless you live under a rock, I'm sure you've heard of house flipping. You buy an old house, fix it up, and sell it for a profit. Sounds easy, right? A lot of people have made a killing doing it.

Well how about boat flipping? No, not putting a boat in water and capsizing it. Get an old boat, fix it up, and sell it for a profit.

Within this lens you will find some tips on how to flip a boat...

The Reel Reason...

Once you have found a boat that you would like to re-sell, check it out.

1. How is the motor?

2. How is the hull?

3. How much is it going to take for you to put this boat back on the water?

4. Will this boat make a profit if you flip it?

Once you have found the right boat, the object is to buy low and sell high. Look the boat over and point out all of its flaws.

If the hull needs repair, note it. If the seats need replacing, mention it. If there are miscellaneous little details that need attending to, say it.

When you've picked the visual aspects apart, then run it.

1. Does the motor start?

2. Is the water pump pumping water?

3. Is there sputter?

4. Are there any leaks?

5. Is the motor missing or running smoothly?

Remember the biggest investment in a boat is the motor.

Open up the cowling and look that motor over completely. You can tell a lot by doing this.

1. Is the motor clean?

2. Do moving parts move freely?

3. Do gears work smoothly?

4. How does the lower unit look?

5. Is the prop intact?

6. Does the prop wobble when you spin it?

7. Is there any hesitation, when gears are shifted, coming from the prop?

The next issue is the legal stuff. How's the boat's paperwork?

1. Is the boat motor, hull, and trailer (if it has one), free and clear?

2. Are you going to have to do any leg work to get the papers in order?

3. Are there any liens against the title?

You have thoroughly looked this boat over and think that all repairs needed could be done reasonably, then make an offer! Take into consideration everything you are going to have to do to make this boat sell. Then take a couple of extra hundred off of that. Low-ball the owner. They will counter, but remember you are here to make a profit.

When you've made your deal, take that boat home and get to work! Do any repairs, clean-up, and detail work that needs to be done.

When the boat is ready, take lots of good pictures of it.

The Motor:

With the cowling and without it. Prospective buyers want to see details. Since the motor is the most expensive thing on a boat, make those pictures count.

Give them shots of any special details, like storage.

Also be sure to include pictures of the whole boat from different angles.

Last, but not least, include a video if at all possible. A major selling point of a boat is to see it in action.

When you are writing up your listing take care to include the size of the boat, the capacity, the style, type, and manufacturer. When it comes to the motor include the brand, horsepower, carburetor details, and any engine specifics you have.

You want to sell your boat for a profit. Get the most out of it you can by including benefits of owning a boat like yours.

Give Me a Shout! - Anyone can comment

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    • profile image

      boatcleaningmarinadelrey 6 years ago

      Marina Del Rey Boat|Yacht- Your lens is very informative on how to profit from flipping a boat. Especially for larger boats or obviously yachts, you will need a records of boat hull cleaning along with video and photographic evidence to show to potential buyers. This evidence can help cliché the deal.

    • The Eclectic Muse profile image

      The Eclectic Muse 7 years ago

      @CreditRestoration1: Really, my husband is a great mechanic and very resourceful when it comes to repairs. We don't build boats from the ground up, we just repair them and sometimes sell them afterward. If he doesn't know how to fix something we research it.

    • The Eclectic Muse profile image

      The Eclectic Muse 7 years ago

      @CreditRestoration1: Repairing the motor is usually cheaper. It just depends on if you have the mechanical skill, the age of the motor, and what parts you need. Sometimes two heads are better than one, so enlist a friend to help diagnose the problem. If you just don't want to mess with it we've had a lot of success with Evinrude/Johnson motors. Depending on the size motor you need eBay is a good source for a used motor. We bought one there and absolutely love it. Make sure the seller has good feedback and has sold motors previously. Good luck!

    • profile image

      CreditRestoration1 7 years ago

      How did you you found out the best building tips of a boat?

    • profile image

      CreditRestoration1 7 years ago

      I have a problem about my speed boat. I bought it from a friend 6 months ago. The motor is not working well already. Will i just let it fix or change with a new one? Any idea for a good motor brand?

    • profile image

      Gai 8 years ago

      Loved your lens!

      We restore boats too, and are now in Thailand, a sailboat but the principle is the same.

      Check out our story on

      Classic Cornu restoration in Thailand and please rate it if you like it,


    • profile image

      Criffer 8 years ago

      Ha Ha Ryan! a 5 star lens! I have included sell Old Boats on three of my lens as well. I'm more in to sailboats, but being on the water is what counts. Here is a related lens on Sailboat maintenance Best Wishes

    • The Eclectic Muse profile image

      The Eclectic Muse 8 years ago

      [in reply to Pangea3D] Pangea, I think that's a great idea! We're looking at having to replace some hull storage doors on our Aquasport. That's daunting enough. I could not imagine going into the floor boards. Good luck on your project and let me know when your lens is live!

    • profile image

      Pangea3D 8 years ago

      Nice Lens. I'm working on restoring the floor and hull of my 1969 Aerocraft fiberglass runabout now. The floor was rotting so I cut a section of it out, replaced it with plywood, dropped in new stringers and am fiberglassing it back up.

      Perhaps I should make a lens about it...

    • WritingforYourW profile image

      WritingforYourW 9 years ago

      Sounds like a great hobby for the fisher/handy man (or woman) :)

    • The Eclectic Muse profile image

      The Eclectic Muse 9 years ago

      Ryan, we've almost done that a couple of times!

    • RyanRE LM profile image

      RyanRE LM 9 years ago

      I know a faster way to flip a boat... Wait for a big wave and take it over the side. LOL... Sorry I couldn't resist. Great lens ***** to ya!

    • Bellezza-Decor profile image

      Bellezza-Decor 9 years ago from Canada

      Great lens and great title! - 5 stars.

    • profile image

      monopoly 9 years ago

      Great lens - 5 stars! Best boat quote I've seen - a boat is a hole in the water into which you shovel money! The idea of fixing boats up and flipping them never even occurred to me! For videos about boats and boating, check out

    • Shellonline LM profile image

      Shellonline LM 9 years ago

      What an original lens! Awesome!!!

    • TonyPayne profile image

      Tony Payne 9 years ago from Southampton, UK

      Great lens. Love the photos too. 5***** from me.

    • The Eclectic Muse profile image

      The Eclectic Muse 9 years ago

      Leslie, no. Unfortunately houseboats are not real big in this area. It would be really fun to do one of those though.

      Thanks Kathy!

      Thank you both for checking out my lens!

    • profile image

      LeslieBrenner 9 years ago

      Do you have any flipped houseboats for sale?

    • kathysart profile image

      kathysart 9 years ago

      WOW!! This is just a totally amazing lens!


      Aloha from Hawaii, Kathy