There is an old adage that says the two best days in a boat owner’s life are the day he buys and the day he sells. The statement combines all our dreams and ambitions of boating with the cost and hard-work reality that boat ownership entails. I’m not sure what it says for folks like me who’ve owned many boats — maybe we just like to enjoy those two best days over and over again?
I’ve sold a few boats that I still mourn selling and wish I’d hung on to them; my emotional attachment is that strong. They are generally boats I put a lot of work and effort into and although I was happy to cash the check when they left, I still look back wistfully. I think of some fond boating memory like teaching my son to sail or a family vacation to the islands, and the boat has a place in my heart.
My boating buddy, Jeff, told me of some friends of his who are trying to sell an old boat they’ve grown up with over the past 15 years. One indicator that they haven’t let go emotionally yet is that they put way too high a price on the old girl, almost guaranteeing it won’t sell. Their problem is, they have already bought the new boat.
Now that seems to me the definition of the worst day in a boat owner’s life. They’ve reconciled this by cruising with the new boat and racing the old one, but I can’t fathom this relationship — seems like either the new mistress or the old one has to go.
My poor marital analogy aside, here are a few suggestions on parting ways with the old boat. Hopefully, they will make your new-boat love affair go much smoother. (You do know buying another boat is going to happen again, right?)
First, obviously, ALWAYS sell the old boat first! And to do so, set a realistic price.
But then, be sure to sell all the equipment that belonged to the old boat as extras in the sale, right down to the dinghy and tools—be really ruthless about this. Set the price for the boat and negotiate the extras as a package deal they can’t refuse. Don’t worry, the boat you haven’t bought yet has a complete package of equipment that its owner will be willing to sell you, too, just so everyone can start fresh. Make your boat buyer a deal so they have to take all the old equipment belonging to the departing boat out your basement.
Why is this so important? They will need most of that stuff anyway, and your home, heart and yard will now have space for your intended to move into. Trust me, there is something emotionally awkward about tripping over old boat parts, triggering memories of a lost love.