Buying a Boat on eBay – a Step By Step Guide

CitizenShipper CitizenShipper · Updated July 19, 2023


Buying online for books, groceries, and clothes has already become an everyday activity, however, buying higher value items can still come with some nerves. Buying a boat online is a good way to secure a bargain and using a reputable site such as eBay can ease your nerves at buying something unseen. Read on for a quick guide to buying a boat on eBay. 


Quick guide for buying a boat on eBay


Sign up on eBay

If you don’t already have an account on eBay, you can easily create an account. Follow the intuitive instructions on the site. It’s best to use an email you check regularly so you can keep track of alerts and notifications. In a matter of less than a minute – you’ve got your eBay account!

Search for boats

Knowing your budget and the type of boat you want to purchase is the most important thing to have in mind before browsing for a boat on eBay.

Budget-wise, eBay is very convenient, as it gives you a filter option for the amount you want to spend on buying a boat. Once you set up the upper budget limit you can spend on your boat, you can head on to check out other filters.

You can choose the condition of your boat – new or used. You can also choose the type of boat you want to purchase, specify the length of the boat you want to buy, engine type, hull material, model year, and make. Knowing what type of boat you want upfront is important so you don’t get overwhelmed by the infinite choice!

Check out the seller

When all of the filters for your dream boat are in place, you will get a list of boats that match your desires. Once you click on a certain boat, a page with detailed information will open, and you will also be able to see seller information on the right side of that page. To avoid possible scams or bad interactions with a seller it’s wise to really pay attention here to the information you see. 

First, you will be able to see the seller’s reviews once you click on the seller’s name. If there are a lot of positive reviews, ranging months and years back, this is a good sign of a reliable seller, but your investigation should not stop here. On the seller’s page, you can also check out his “View items for sale”. If the particular seller has only one boat on offer at a very low price this may be a red flag. You need to ask, does this boat really belong to this person and why are they selling it for such a low price. The general rule of thumb – if it looks too good to be true, then it is too good to be true – should be applied when you are buying a boat on eBay as well.

You can also use the contact seller function on eBay to directly ask the seller about themselves and their items for sale. 

Check out the boat

Serious sellers will make sure to write a detailed description of the boat on the boat’s page. Read it carefully, and then proceed to inspect the boat’s pictures. Look for dents, scratches, small imperfections. If you are still unclear about the condition of the boat – again contact the seller and ask all the questions you may have. Even though buying a boat on eBay usually means that you will not get to see the boat before you buy it, if the seller is located near you, you may consider giving it a quick look yourself or pay for the WeGoLook inspection that is offered on the eBay’s boat page.

Place a Bid or Buy It Now

Now that you have found your desired boat, it’s time to buy it! Boats on eBay can be bought in two ways. Firstly, they can be bought at a fixed price (so-called “Buy It Now”), where you can buy your desired boat immediately for a fixed price. Sometimes, within this option, you can also make an offer (Best Offer) and see if the seller accepts it, refuses it, or makes a counteroffer by stating another price. This also means that you can get quite lucky with your boat purchase, spending less than your previously planned budget. A second way of buying a boat on eBay is bidding on it and trying to win it for a lower price in an auction. When bidding, make sure that you do not bid against yourself – so try not to bid too early. If you can wait for the last half an hour of the auction to place your bid. Otherwise, if you do opt to bid earlier, make sure that you do not end up bidding way over your budget. eBay can be a very exciting place for you if you can be patient, have some time to spare, and have a bit of an adventurist spirit.

Make Payment

After you have made a Best Offer or won the boat on auction, you will have to make a payment. Seller’s accepted payment methods can be PayPal, PayPal Credit, credit or debit card, Apple Pay, Google Pay, Payment upon pickup. Also, additional payment options can be bank-to-bank transfers, checks, money orders, online payment services. Choose the one that suits you most, and proceed with payment.

Shipping your boat

Now that you have finished buying a boat on eBay, it is time for it to be shipped to your desired location. You want your newly acquired precious possession to be treated with care during the transport, so this is why you want to choose the most reliable transporter. CitizenShipper is a transport marketplace that matches people who need items – like boats – shipped with reliable, experienced drivers. All you need to do is to create a request on the site describing the boat, its pick-up and a drop-off location, desired transport dates, and any other specific information, the drivers will bid on your listing and you can review quote suits you best. 

Enjoy the eBay hunt for your new boat – safe sailing!