Boat Dealers vs. Yacht Brokers: What’s the Difference?

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Are you looking to buy or sell a boat? Congratulations! Buying or selling a boat is an incredibly exciting time. However, it can also be confusing, especially if you’re a first-time buyer.

Working with a boat dealer or yacht broker can relieve those burdens and ensure the process goes smoothly. However, how are you supposed to know which option is right for you? While boat dealers and yacht brokers are both great options, they each cater to different sizes and types of boats.

Not sure which one your situation requires? Today’s blog post compares boat dealers vs. yacht brokers. Keep reading to learn which option is right for you!

Buying New Boats from a Boat Dealer

Boat dealers specialize in the sale of specific boat brands. Therefore, they’re ideal for people searching for a particular boat model from a particular maker. Additionally, boat dealers have ample knowledge of the brands they carry, so they can answer any in-depth questions you might have.

Boat dealers liaise between you (the buyer) and the boat’s manufacturer. If you’d like a new model that is equipped and powered to your preference, your boat dealer can help you obtain it. Additionally, they will take care of your future repair, upgrade, or replacement needs.

Find a Boat Dealer

Purchasing Tips:

Thinking a boat dealer might be the way to go? Here are some tips for purchasing a boat from a dealer: 

  • Buy in the off-season: If you can wait until September through February to purchase, prices will be lower. 
  • Check out a boat show: Boat show season is upon us! Consider visiting a boat show to meet with dealers and browse different types of boats. 
  • Buy last year’s model: Dealers usually keep several models of the same boat in stock. If you opt for a slightly older model, you will pay significantly less for a similar boat. 
  • Ask for a discount: If you’re ordering a custom boat from a dealer, ask them if they will pass their discount (of not having to inventory and finance it) on to you.
  • Educate yourself beforehand: Make sure to walk into a dealership prepared. Instead, research what kind of boat you want, what size/brand of engine you’d like, any upgrades you desire, and how much you’re willing to pay. Additionally, familiarize yourself with the questions to ask your boat dealer.
  • Don’t bet on bargaining: Boat dealers have slimmer margins than car dealers, so keep your bargaining within reason.

Buying Used Boats from a Yacht Broker

Yacht brokers represent either the buyer or the seller in the used boat market. They take on the responsibility of assessing fair value, advertising, managing sea trials, securing financing, and closing the deal. As a result, they earn a commission.

Because brokers have a deep knowledge of the boating marketplace, many buyers and sellers use them for used boat transactions. Brokers can facilitate the sale of any brand or type of boat (whereas dealers are only knowledgeable of the brands they work with).

If you’re selling through a broker, you’d be happy to hear that they often list their inventory nationally. Therefore, this means they attract a wide range of buyers. In addition, brokers help owners value their used boats, negotiate on the owner’s behalf, and process transaction paperwork when it is confusing.

If you’re buying through a yacht broker, they can help you find similar boats on the market and suggest comparable models. Additionally, they can arrange convenient and safe ways to test drive boats. 


Yacht brokers are often used for larger vessels, as they simplify the complexity of those transactions. Yacht sales usually require surveys, documentation, and other things of that nature. But when you work with a broker, they take care of everything.

Purchasing and Selling Tips:

If you’re interested in purchasing from a yacht broker, here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Stay loyal to one: Think of yacht brokers as lawyers or real estate agents. Once you find one, stick with them. 
  • Ask about their resources: Used boats come with a whole set of challenges. Therefore, you want to ensure your broker has the resources to handle them (financing companies, insurance providers, services, etc.). 
  • Don’t let a broker talk you out of a survey: This will never benefit you!  
  • Let the broker negotiate: Yacht brokers are professional negotiators. Let them speak on your behalf, so your emotions stay out of the transaction.  
  • Verify their communication skills: Strong communication and organizational skills are essential to any yacht broker.

Final Thoughts

So, are yacht brokers or boat dealers a better option for you? Regardless of your answer, the resources at Discover Boating can help. Our Buying Guide will help you find your dream vessel today.


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