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How to Successfully Sell your Boat at Auction

Why Sell at Auction?

For the right kind of boat,  auctions will provide the seller a quick sale, and provide instant cash without laying out the costs of advertising and having to wait around ages for someone to respond to an advertisement in the press. It helps you dispose of your old boat quickly and use the cash for something you want more, which just may be that new boat you have had your eye on for ages.


Time & Tide also are looking to establish good links with a number of new boatbuilders and boat building schools so that our auctions can provide an easy root to market for new talented boat builders to sell their creations at no capital outlay and to reach a wide audience as possible without having extensive sales and marketing funds.


Auctions when run properly, will make sure you get a realistic price for your boat. We put a lot of work into making sure we get the right number of specialist buyers to these events. As there are more of the right kind of buyers looking at your boat at the same time, then this saves you time and on-going expense.


In good years,  for rare, interesting, popular, vintage or unusual boats you are more likely to receive a premium price of between 30% - 100% to that if you tried selling privately yourself.  The reason for this that with the old "one buyer and one seller scenario" the seller is more likely to walk away if they don't like the price, whereas in auctions having multiple interested parties bidding against each other makes sure your boat realises its true value.

What we do:  We spend months leading up to the auction event attracting the right buyers through our national and sometimes international advertising. The more time we have to advertise the better so we want to see your boat as earlier as possible. We advertise your boat in the specialist national boating magazines, as well as via our Facebook and e-newletters. We also look to run some of our auctions  in parallel with local boat show events so as to increase footfall and interest from as wide as possible number of potential buyers. 

Secondly, for a small extra fee,  we can help prepare the boat, including cleaning and cosmetic repairs to make sure it is in its best condition ready for the auction. Please ask for a quotation. 

Thirdly, we prefer to visit the boat and take lots of professional images for use on our website, you need to provide the dimensions for the craft  and we would like to know as much as you can provide on its history, design and manufacturing pedigree as this all adds interest to the potential buyer.  The photographs and description and advertising is all included within the sales premium and as such you have no costs if the boat does not sell (except any reserve related fee).

Setting a Reserve Price 

The reserve price is agreed with you and our auction specialist ahead of the auction.


If you wish to set a reserve price, then there is a £120 entry fee for each item that is not refundable.

If you set a reserve price then you should also attend the auction or at least be available on the phone during the auction. The reason for this that, we can work with you to achieve the best price, for instance if the bids do come close to the reserve price but fail to meet it, but by only a small margin, then we can discuss with you, then and there, whether you wish to accept this slightly lower price.  There is also usually room to talk with an interested bidder to settle a final price and therefore, by you being on hand on the day at the auction you have a better chance of helping progress the sale.

Photographing your boat 

One of the best ways to get potential buyers interested is making sure you have plenty of high quality photographs with a full description. We can provide all photographs for you and this service is provided free of charge within the final sales premium. We show all photographs on our auction website and auction catalogue which we also send to potential bidders ahead of the event.

Preparing you boat for the Auction

Before we take the photographs and before you bring the boat to the auction, make sure it is looking its best. Give it a power wash, and a polish and a clean. A tidy looking boat no matter its age will always help. If you do not have time to do this then let us know and we can provide your boat with a deep clean inside and outside for a small fee. This will not only make a sale more likely but it will increase the final value you get for your boat.

For boats with a reserve fee there is a £120 entry fee.

In addition there is a sales commission payable on all boats we sell at auction which depends on the value of the boat. Please contact us directly to confirm the commission fee.

All advertising and photography costs are included in the commission fee.

We can also arrange delivery of your boat to the auction for a fee that depends on distance travelled and can include trailer hire if necessary

 If you wish to sell you boat at auction then please contact either Christine or Peter via our contact form and we will send you a sellers contract  and enter your boat in the next suitable auction. 



And we hope we can help you, achieve your best price and help you fulfil your boating dreams.


What are the cost involved in selling at a Time and Tide Boat Auction

Now, although we go out of our way to make sure we have well attended and vibrant auctions, there can be the case that for some reason there just is not the right number of buyers for your boat on a particular day. You can of course protect yourself to make sure your prized possession does not go for a song, by fixing a reserve price which will ensure a minimum sale price.  Below this price there is no sale, only once bidders have bid up the price above the reserve do we accept a sale. We can advise you, based on our knowledge of the boat market what a realistic reserve price should be, to ensure you still get plenty of bids, but it still achieves a fair price in the end.

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