If you are shopping for a new or used boat, there are dozens of sites where you can go to help find the boat of your dreams.  But which sites should you focus your time and attention? In this article, I identify the most popular boat listing sites in the US and describe what I like and dislike about each.  Plus, I provide recommendations regarding which sites you should investigate for certain types of boats.

Evaluation Process

To help identify the best places to buy boats online, I examined several pieces of information:

  • Total Visits: This is the total number of times that the site was visited worldwide as of August of 2022. Note that this is not the same as visitors since a given individual might visit the same site multiple times.  Nonetheless, it is a good proxy of the site’s popularity.
  • US Rank: This is the relative frequency that the site was visited in the US in comparison to all other websites.
  • Listings: The total number of boats listed on the site (as of October 2022), if available. However, it should be noted that some sites inflate this by reposting listing from other classified sources.
  • Search/filter functionality: Some sites make it easier than others to find a boat that meets your needs and is relatively close to where you live.

In addition to the above factors, I also examined who owns the site, how they differentiate themselves from others, and where they get their listings (e.g., dealers, brokers or private parties).

Most Popular Boat Listing Sites

The table below lists the most popular sites to buy a boat based on the total number of visits (as of August 2022).  These are sites that cater to a variety of boat types.  Sites that focus on specific types of boats are discussed separately.

It is important to note that the number of visits are to the site specifically.  However, in many cases, the total exposure might actually be higher because some sites also publish listings to various social media outlets (e.g., Facebook) and other sites.

The first three sites in the list, Boat Trader, Yacht World and Boats.com are the largest by far and are all part of the same organization – the Boats Group.  Of these, Yacht World is different than the other two since all boats on the site are represented by a professional yacht broker.

Site Total Visits (Aug 2022) Rank of All US Websites Approximate # of Listings
Boat Trader 3,700 K 2,551 81,000
Yacht World 2,700 K 5,156 21,000
Boats.com 1,800 K 9,953 97,000
iboats.com 1,000 K 11,897 14,000
POP Yachts 281 K 19,131 Unknown
moreboats 187 K 53,155 9,000
Boat Crazy 88 K 62,477 14,000
Boatline 123 K 68,095 29,000
Boats for Sale 69 K 69,243 21,000
Right Boat 100 K 136,523 12,000

Boat Trader

Boat Trader, the largest boat listing site, started as a print magazine in 1991 but later evolved into online only.  According to the company website,  “Boat Trader is America’s largest online boating marketplace for buying and selling boats, engines and personal watercraft.”  They have a huge listing of boats (both new and used) that are offered by both dealers and private parties.

  • Likes
    • Huge selection of boats
    • Detailed filtering criteria
    • Able to search by distance
    • Able to save searches and receive email alerts whenever new listings match search criteria
  • Dislikes
    • Many listings without price

Yacht World

As part of the Boats Group family (along with Boat Trader and Boats.com), Yacht World is the go-to site for larger boats sold through a broker.  According to the company website, “YachtWorld has the largest database of brokerage boats for sale offered by more than 2,900 yacht brokers and 70 manufacturers worldwide.”

  • Likes
    • Good selection of larger boats
    • Excellent boat details
    • Able to save searches and receive email alerts whenever new listings match search criteria
  • Dislikes
    • Unable to search by distance
    • Need to buy through broker instead of a private party
    • Not appropriate for smaller/less expensive boats

Boats.com

Launched in 1999 during the early stages of the doc-com boom, Boats.com is a leading provider of boat listings from dealers and private parties.  In 2010, the company joined with Boat Trader as part of the Boats Group conglomerate.  Though the two sites are fairly similar, boats.com focuses more on general boating content (e.g., news and events, maintenance,  fishing and watersports) in addition to information related to the buying and selling of boats to position it as the site for “everything boats”.

  • Likes
    • Large selection of boats
    • Detailed filtering criteria
  • Dislikes
    • Cannot search by distance (but can search by state and city)
    • Cannot save search query or get email alerts
    • Many listings without price

iBoats.com

As one of the oldest online boat listing sites, iBoats is also one of the more diverse.  In addition to listing new and used boats, they also offer a wide variety of boat parts and accessories and are home to one of the largest boating forums on the internet.

  • Likes
    • Easy to use search/filtering process
    • Able to search by distance
  • Dislikes
    • Cannot save search query or get email alerts
    • Many listings without price
    • Most listings are from dealers, not private parties

POP Yachts

This is a commission-based site that will list boats from dealers, brokers and private parties.  The name POP stands for “paid on performance” meaning that, if they don’t sell the boat, they are not paid a fee.  Besides featuring boats on their own website, the company has relationships with over 100 other sites including BoatTrader.com, boats.com, Facebook and MoreBoats.com to maximize exposure for their listings. Another unique aspect of POP Yachts is that they handle the entire listing process (photos, description, etc.) on behalf of the seller.  Because of this, their listings are very professional, consistent and thorough.  However, since the minimum commission is $2,750, this site naturally caters to larger vessels.

  • Likes
    • Good selection of larger boats
    • Detailed filtering criteria
    • Excellent boat details
    • All listings show the price
    • Able to save searches and receive email alerts whenever new listings match search criteria
  • Dislikes
    • For larger/more expensive boats only

moreboats

This is an internet-based platform to help dealers market their boats to consumers.  They do not offer listings from private parties.

  • Likes
    • “Clean” (uncluttered) and attractive website
    • Detailed filtering criteria
  • Dislikes
    • Boat type drop-down list does not include “Aluminum Fishing”
    • Unable to save searches or receive email alerts

Boat Crazy

Though not one of the larger sites, Boat Crazy has a very nice looking and professional platform to display boats from dealers and private parties.  Plus boats listed with the company are also displayed on Facebook Marketplace to garner even more exposure.  In addition to boat listings, Boat Crazy sells merchandise and accessories and provides a number of helpful resources and guides to help those thinking about buying or selling a boat.

  • Likes
    • “Clean” (uncluttered) and attractive website
    • Repost listings on Facebook Marketplace
    • Helpful tools and guides for buyers/sellers
  • Dislikes
    • Boat type drop-down list does not include “Aluminum Fishing”
    • Search uses fixed price ranges (e.g., $50,000 to $100,000) which might be too broad
    • Unable to save searches or receive email alerts

Boatline

Boatline represents the recent expansion (April 2021) into the boat marketplace by Trader Interactive – parent company of PWC Trader, Cycle Trader, ATV Trader, RV Trader, Snowmobile Trader, Aero Trader and others.  Note that this should not be confused with Boat Trader which is owned by a separate company, Boats Group.  The search function is a bit different from that on other sites and takes a little getting used to.  However, it does provide many options to filter selections.  One nice feature of this site is that they will email you if the price drops on a listing that you are interested in.  Plus, for those thinking of selling a boat, they currently offer a free 30-day listing to help build their boat inventory.

  • Likes
    • Detailed filtering criteria
    • Can save searches and receive email alerts for new listings AND price drops
    • Can list boat for free for 30 days at present
  • Dislikes
    • The “Class” drop-down list does not include “Aluminum Fishing” (common problem with many sites since they likely copied one-another)
    • Some of the data is “dirty”/inconsistent (e.g., Malibu and Malibu boats are listed as separate makes)

Boats for Sale

The goal of this site is to make buying and selling a boat as easy as possible.  They have a good search/filter function (though, like many sites, they don’t have an “Aluminum Fishing” category, you can still get their by selecting “Fishing Boat” for the type and “Aluminum” from the Hull Material list under the Advanced Filters).  Additionally, they offer a number of services for boat buyers such as financing, insurance and extended protection and will even provide a cash offer for those thinking of selling.  Plus, they are currently offering to list your boat for free as a way to boost their boat inventory.

  • Likes
    • Easy to use search/filter process
    • Able to search by distance
    • Can save searches and receive email alerts for new listings
    • Numerous services to help buyers/sellers
  • Dislikes
    • Some listings without prices

Right Boat

Headquartered in the UK, Right Boat is different from other sites in that it offers both boat sales and charters and has a more international focus.  According to the company website, “Rightboat.com is the world’s biggest online marketplace for boats for sale and yachts for charter.”  For a similar site with an international focus, consider topboats.com as well.

  • Likes
    • Lists boats for sale in other countries besides the US
    • Can save searches and receive email alerts for new listings
  • Dislikes
    • Cannot easily search by specific boat type (uses Keywords only)
    • Cannot search by distance (only Country and State)
    • Many listings do not have images

Specialty Boat Sites

In addition to the general boating sites mentioned above, there are a number of sites that cater to specific boat niches.  While they might not have the overall traffic of the broader sites, some get excellent exposure for the type(s) of product that they specialize in.  As such, they might be worth checking out as well – depending on the type of boat you are looking for.

Site Total Visits (Aug 2022) Rank of All US Websites Approximate # of Listings
Bass Boat Central 276 K 38,360 437
PWC Trader 126 K 57,214 11,013
Powerboat Listings 106 K 63,337 16,269
Only Inboards 58 K 101,457 3,784
Pontoons Only 13 K 415,550 681

Bass Boat Central

Bass anglers are a fanatical bunch and are always looking for products, information or suggestions to improve their on-water performance.  That is part of the reasons why that, despite its very rudimentary appearance, Bass Boat Central enjoys considerable traffic from tournament anglers and other bass fishing enthusiasts.  The ability to see boats for sale from other members is only a small portion of the site.  Visitors can also find area clubs, see how others have “set up” their rig, or participate in dozens of forums for various boat and engine brands, regions, or fishing topics (at the bbcboards.net sub-site).  It is important to note that the “Total Visits” and “Rank” above is for the overall Bass Boat Central site, not just the classifieds section.

  • Likes
    • Sizeable number of tournament-level bass boats listed
    • An extensive community of members available to assist with product questions
  • Dislikes
    • Appearance and layout of the site is severely lacking
    • Very limited search/filter capabilities

A related but much smaller website catering to bass anglers is www.bassboat4sale.com.  The cool thing about this site is that there is a separate listing of boats for sale from Pro anglers and VIPs.

PWC Trader

Part of Trader Interactive (again, no relation to Boat Trader), PWC Trader has a large selection of Personal Watercraft listed on its site and enjoys considerable traffic.  This is definitely a place to consider if you are in the market for a PWC.

  • Likes
    • Large number of PWCs listed
    • Good search/filter capabilities that are specific to PWCs (e.g., Two Seater, Three Seater, etc.)
    • Can save searches and receive email alerts for new listings
  • Dislikes
    • Not all listings include prices

Powerboat Listings

This site specializes in listings for High Performance (aka, “Cigarette”) boats and other larger vessels.

  • Likes
    • Professional/attractive looking site
    • Good number of High-Performance boats listed
    • Can easily see listing by major High-Performance makes or hull types (V-Hulls, Catamarans)
    • Can post an ad for free
  • Dislikes
    • Cannot search by distance (but can search by state)

 Only Inboards

If you are in the market for a Wake boat or competition ski boat, you might want to check out this site.  They have a fairly large number of listings and offer accessories for this style of boat.

  • Likes
    • Professional/attractive looking site
    • Good number of Wake and competition ski boats listed
    • Has search criteria specific to inboards (drive type, models, engine hours)
    • Can save searches and receive email alerts for new listings
    • Shows sold boats and prices to help you determine an appropriate price or what to offer
  • Dislikes
    • Not all listings show prices

 Pontoons Only

As the name suggests, this newer site is exclusively for Pontoons and is operated by the same company that manages Only Inboards.

  • Likes
    • Professional/attractive looking site
    • Can save searches and receive email alerts for new listings
    • Shows sold boats and prices to help you determine an appropriate price or what to offer
    • Can list boats for free
  • Dislikes
    • Fairly small number of listings at present
    • Would like to have ability to filter by pontoons vs. tri-toons
    • Not all listings show prices

General Merchandise Sites

Here are a couple of sites that are not specific to boating but should not be overlooked because of their huge volume of traffic.  However, because they are not set up specifically for boating, they have more limited search capabilities and so it may take longer to sort through listings.

Facebook Marketplace

With its massive exposure and ability to see buyer and seller profiles, Facebook Marketplace appears to have replaced Craigslist as the general merchandise site for boat shoppers.  To find boats, look within the “Vehicles” category and click on “Boats”.

  • Likes
    • Ability to see buyer and seller profiles – provides a degree of reassurance from scammers
    • Massive-traffic site (helpful if selling)
    • Boats can be listed for free
  • Dislikes
    • If selling a boat, you might have to respond to numerous questions and “low-ballers”
    • Very limited search ability (just price, year and distance). Cannot search by boat type.
    • The quality of listing details varies by seller (no consistent format)
    • Unable to save searches and receive email alerts for new listings. Would need to re-check site often.

Craigslist

This is a very popular online classifieds site for various goods in local markets.  At one time, it was a very popular place to buy and sell boats although it seems that more people are shifting to Facebook Marketplace and other boating-specific sites nowadays.

  • Likes
    • Can locate boats nearby
    • Often offer more lower-priced options
    • High-traffic site (helpful if selling)
    • Boats can be listed for free
  • Dislikes
    • No frills/rudimentary site
    • Popular site for scammers. If it looks too good to be true, it probably is.  Do not buy without personally inspecting the boat and making sure the title is in order.  Be sure to check out the Craigslist tips for avoiding scams.
    • If selling a boat, you might have to respond to numerous questions and “low-ballers”
    • Do not have ability to search by specific boat types
    • The quality of listing details varies by seller (no consistent format)
    • Unable to save searches and receive email alerts for new listings. Would need to re-check site often.

Recommendations

So now that you know the best places to shop for a boat online, where should you go to find the boat of your dreams? Since you can search for a boat for free (other than your time), you will likely want to check out multiple sites. Minimally, I would start with the two most popular general boat listing sites – Boat Trader and Boats.com and also check out Facebook Marketplace. Plus, I would check each of the smaller (general boating) sites that enable you to save your search and receive email notifications (e.g., Boatline and Boats for Sale).

If you are shopping for a larger boat, then you should also add Yacht World and POP Yachts to your list.  Likewise, for those shopping outside of the US, Right Boat and Top Boats might be worth checking out.

Finally, if you happen to be looking for a Bass Boat, PWC, Wake/Ski boat, High-Performance boat or a pontoon, be sure to check out the corresponding specialty site listed above as well.

Where have you had the best success in shopping for a boat? Let us know, along with the type of boat you were shopping for, in the comments section below.

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