Why Owning That Old Boat Isn’t Worth Your Money — But It Is Worth Someone Else’s

sailboat and sunset


sailboat and sunset


Don’t get me wrong: Boats are amazing, especially with large families. Boating teaches kids all sorts of important skills, like safety and navigation, as well as a bevy of critical characteristics, like responsibility and passion. However, when the kids are grown and parents’ knees start to creak, boat-owning families aren’t getting enough from the vessel to warrant the mammoth expense of keeping it around.

Unfortunately, when a boat reaches a certain age, it becomes nearly impossible to find a buyer who is only going to strip it into scrap — unless boat owners are willing to donate their old boats to charity. Perhaps surprisingly, donating that old boat just might be worthwhile. Here’s why:


Donation Tax Deduction

Large families tend to be savvy shoppers wherever they can to save for the bigger things in life — handing down older kids’ clothes and toys to little ones, outsmarting the supermarket, and taking short vacations close to home — so to most of you reading this, giving away a large asset like a family boat might seem downright wasteful. After all, boats are worth some amount of money no matter their condition, right?

Of course, it is possible to find a paying buyer for any vehicle, but it is more likely than not that the hassle of trying to sell your boat is not worth the amount you are likely to get out of it. Like cars, boat depreciate, and they do so at an alarming rate; some estimates suggest that a boat loses more than 20 percent of its value in under one year, and for every year thereafter it loses 10 to 5 percent more. Eventually, your boat is worth next to nothing, and boat buyers will know it. Few people who want to buy a boat are interested in investing in a valueless piece of junk, which means finding a buyer will take months — if it ever happens at all.

However, most organizations that accept boat donations will take any vessel in nearly any condition, furnishing you with a tax deduction that is usually better than the amount you might get from selling. Better yet, charitable organizations work fast, collecting donations before donors change their minds, which means your old boat could be gone in a matter of weeks.


What Happens to the Boat

Boats tend to be sentimental objects, which is why letting them go to a disreputable buyer — especially one who will undoubtedly break them down and sell the parts — can be so painful. Fortunately, organizations that take in boats know that demolition is hardly a profitable or sustainable way to help the community.

Once your boat is retrieved, the organization who carts it away will perform a more thorough examination of the vessel. The organization strives to refurbish the boat to make it attractive and functional, which likely takes more energy, money, work, and expertise than you would have been willing to put in. Then, the organization will make your old boat available for purchase. Because the organization accrues boats through donation only, they are able to sell the boats for a much lower price than most owners, attracting a number of low-budget boat buyers who are looking for a shiny, operational vessel. In fact, if you are looking for a boat to replace your old craft, you might look for options from your chosen charity’s stock.

With the proceeds from boat sales, organizations contribute to bettering their communities in various ways. Some boat donation organizations support a number of charities with diverse causes, and others stick to a single aim. If the charitable aspect of boat donation is particularly important to you, you should spend time looking for an organization that funds causes close to your heart.


Other Large Items to Donate

While there are a few states where owning a boat is as common as owning a house and car, not every large family has the luxury of access to the open waters. Fortunately, plenty of charities will accept other large items as donations and provide the same benefits as boat donation. If you have an old car that doesn’t run well, outdated household appliances (like refrigerators, dishwashers, clothes washers, and others), or even an entire property you no longer need, you may consider bypassing the long, grueling selling process in favor of quick, painless donation.



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