Attracting Overseas Boat Buyers

I mentioned in my last post that all of the boats that I have sold in the last 10 months have been to people outside of the United States. Everyday there is a story proving that you are not the only one experiencing this lack of American boat buyers. A story late last week about the boat show in Tacoma, WA focused on the number of foreign attendees on the dock looking for bargains.

It is an understatement to say that you have your work cut out for you if you live in the USA and have a boat for sale. This is indeed a buyers market. The chances are slim that your boat will sell quickly. Even if you have a popular model that is clean and has been extremely well maintained chances are she is still at your dock.

You have another option. Advertise your boat offshore and attempt to attract the attention of the boat shopper overseas who is looking for your model of boat. How do you do that? It is unlikely that you personally have the marketing expertise or connections to target that foreign market. You need to find someone who has tapped into that market, knows where to advertise and understands what steps are necessary to get that buyer to fly in to take a look at your boat. You only have a couple of viable options.

Doing it yourself by taking out an ad on Boat Trader Online or one of the other For Sale By Owner listing services is unlikely to yield any results any time soon. I deal with boats and boat owners everyday and am amazed at the number of people even in America who do not have a clue where to go online when shopping for a boat. Do not expect that guy hunched over his PC in Greece to find your Sea Ray in Erie, PA.

The chances of your boat being viewed online and brought to the attention of overseas buyers rises dramatically when you hand over that responsibility to someone who is already familiar with those markets and has a proven track record in attracting offshore boat buyers to the United States.

Your best option is to search for a yacht broker based in the USA who is familiar with and has listings similar to your model of boat. Check that brokerage out on or

Check to see if they have any boats listed overseas. Determine who the broker is on that brokerage team who has the most overseas expertise and call them. Tell him that you are frustrated with the lack of inquiries on your boat and that you wish to sell her to someone outside the country. Check out three or four brokers with similar experience until you find one that you trust and have an easy rapport. Verify that they are a Certified Professional Yacht Broker. You can verify that by going to  There are around 450 in this country. You may even have to talk to professional brokers who may not be from your hometown.

Feel free to contact me with any questions.

Have a splendid weekend and see you next week!



(954) 614-1663

5 thoughts on “Attracting Overseas Boat Buyers”

  1. To everyone out there looking to buy a boat. I would have to say that Mr. Tomen probably dedicates more time than anyone I know to ensure that your buying experience is a memorable one.

  2. David,
    Great site! Do you think Europe is ready for a real, sportfishing style boat yet – or are they going to stick with the Euro-styled “bubble boats” over there?
    I would LOVE to sell a boat or two as charter fishing boats in Spain or somewhere on the Med. because:
    a.) I’d get to take a vacation, for once, when I flew over to make the presentation
    b.) I’d get another vacation, for twice, when we delivered the big girl.
    A hand-crafted, 50′ sportfish with a 17′ beam and very stable design must appeal to somebody on the Med! We designed this vessel for the sloppy Gulf waters which must be similar to that Sea.


  3. Thanks Tony:

    I do indeed think that Europe is ready for a real sportfishing boat. I work for the largest Rampage Yachts dealership in the USA (Sun Power CMP Yacht Sales) and Rampage is exporting more boats right now to European dealers than ever before.

    My first hand experience lately has been with the Persian Gulf. There is an increasing demand for sportfishing boats in that region. The only thing that has been holding them back is lack of slips to put them in although that is now changing.

    Hopefully we will get some input from that part of the world in this comments section.


  4. Hallo, we are a association in France for European catfish anglers. some off our members will be interested to import a jonboat with trailer and motor.

    Please could you give us e fair price package for delivery France or Holland

    Kind regards
    Koen janssens

    Hi Janssens:

    My main mission is to counsel and assist boaters in buying or selling boats. I suggest that you contact a freight forwarder at home for advice on shipping boats to your home country. The other option of course is to contact a freight forwarder in or close to the port where you take delivery of the boat after purchase. They will be able to give you advice and pricing on the best way to get the boat home.

    David Tomen

  5. Another thing that can attract boat buyers overseas, most especially in Europe, is having a broker who can process and append the CE mark logo to the boat. The buyers will think they have nothing to worry about certification stuffs when shipped to Europe

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