True kit boat values?

 Do these boats have any market value? Never thought about until circumstance requires a sale. I have seen boats for sale over $3,000 with folks trying to recover some labor time, seen some around $1,000 built wrong with horrendous water stains. Mine has to go and no takers for even 800 and it was almost 2,000 built, finished and fitted out. Anyone have any luck selling? Before giving it away, I figure on cutting it up into 3 to 5 pieces and toss it in a dumpster? What a shame.



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RE: True kit boat values?

   I am curious if this is abouth the northeast dory I saw for the first time on craigslist today. If i had the money I would jump all over that, but its not in the cards right now. 

RE: True kit boat values?

   Value.... yes they do.  I am not in the market at the moment.  But next year I will either build or buy one.

RE: True kit boat values?

Before the Republicans screwed up the tax code so that billionaires could pay even less taxes, you used to be able to donate your boat to various charities and get a tax deduction for it. Many times that mostly covered the materials cost, which was a lot better than the dumpster. Now, especially if you live in a Blue state, that deduction is pretty much gone.



RE: True kit boat values?

   Have I got this straight? You used to be able to inflate the value of a kit boat that you donated to charity -- so much so that the "tax deduction" would mostly cover the cost of the kit. So the government (i.e., other tax payers) has now paid for your kit -- in the sense that you are paying less tax than you probably owed and someone else will have to make up the difference. And it is screwing up the tax code to eliminate that sort of thing?

How I long for the good old days!

RE: True kit boat values?

No, you don't.

The value of the boat was determined by the charity, not by the builder. If the charity re-sold it at a charity auction, for example, it was what they received for it. A percentage of that was allowed as a tax deduction for the donor. The sale had to be  "an arm's length sale to an unrelated party". The chairty had to provide documentation to the IRS indicating what the sale price was. The donor also had to document the transaction and deduction. A well-built boat at a popular charity auction could generate a bidding war. If that was the case, the size of the deduction could approach the materials cost of the kit.

So no inflation by the builder. It was the free market setting the price.

As for the rest of it, either way somebody's getting subsidized, but the old way it was the museums and the kit manufacturers (and yes, the builders, too). Now it's trillion-dollar multinational corporations that pay no taxes on their billions in profits.

We may have to agree to disagree on whether this was screwing up or not.


RE: True kit boat values?

That "No you don't" was in regards to having it straight about how the value was set. Sorry about the ambiguity.


RE: True kit boat values?

I think that  a good part of the "true value" of a kit-built boat is finding the right person for the right boat.  Prospective buyers need to feel comfortable with the construction.  This is even more so with plans-built boats. 

I built my first Eastport Pram out of Home Depot plywood.  It only lasted 4 years as a boat.  It's now a sandbox in the backyard.  I've also seen very cool boats repurposed as decorations in nautically-themed restaurants, sometimes cut in half so the hulls look like they're emerging from the wall.  I'm not proposing cutting the boat in half, I'm just saying.  When we were house shopping a couple of years go, silly as it is, the house I liked best was the one with the strip-built canoe hanging from the vaulted ceiling in the kitchen.

RE: True kit boat values?

Finding the right buyer...yes, there's the rub.  I'm a little surprised your post on the Homebuilt Boat Bazaar here hasn't gotten some attention, but maybe nobody knows to look there?  Have you tried one of the online used boat listings?  Some or free, but I imagine the more widely searched ones cost something.

Or, if you just want to find her a good home, maybe you could hang out at one of your local spots where kayakers launch and see if anybody is interested in keeping you from taking the sawzall to her.  Make a big sign to put on her: "Please!  Save Me from the Sawzall!"  Maybe local boating clubs?

There's always Craigslist if you want to find a buyer and are willing to sort out the crazies.  Maybe eBay?  They take a commission, but might be a less wild-west-like experience, vs. Craigslist.

Save her from the sawzall!  Oh, the boat-manity!  <;-)



RE: True kit boat values?

   How much is a boat worth?  If you are buy a new boat from a dealer small sail boats are about $500 a foot.  so a 16ft boat is about $8000 plus extras  That is until you leave with it.  Just like a car, the value drops very quick.  And just like a car, if it not runing or complete, it worth a fraction of what it would cost if it was new or in great condition.

RE: True kit boat values?

Dear Fishbust, 

i think i have peiced this togther - you are the one selling the Shearwater 16 for $800 that was posted on 4/4/2019?

first, i would say you need to be a bit patient.   this looks like a reasonably built boat but this market is not very as one of the folks earlier need to find the right person who wants this boat, and this does not typically happen overnight.   the number of folks in the world who have an interest in a kayak is really small, all things considered, so finding your boats next owner is not something that typically happens very quickly.

fwiw i have been building for over 20 years and  my wife did not let me keep every boat i built so i have 'sold' over the years 12 boats....11 kayaks and 1 wherry.

here are my suggestions:

  • keep the boat in great condition/clean and ready to go
  • keep an add current here like you have here at CLC
  • do your local craigslist and keep reposting
  • send a note to any of your local kayaking groups...kayak meetup groups, for example, often have a classified section..and keep reposting to stay at the top
  • make a flyer for local marinas or put-in spots...lots of them have a place you can post a boat for sale
  • use the boat....and let folks know its for sale when they tell you what a beautiful boat it is.

i think $800 is very reasonable.....most of the boats i sold that were similar went for between $800 and $2000..but most towards the lower end.

also, this is a bit of a seasonal market and most people are just getting over winter on the east coast and the shopping season for people wanting to buy a boat is typcially in the boating season.  

on price, these boats don't have any intrinsic value...they are not like currency.  they are only worth what somebody is willing to pay.   kind of like paintings.  kit built boats are hard for people to understand....they don't have a manufacturer standing behing them.   so patience, the willingness to explain to somebody who appears to be interested... is important in getting a deal done.

anyway, i guess the point i am making is selling a boat....even at a good price... is work (the work is making it known to all potential buyers) and takes some time.   so keep at it and i think you will get a reasonable outcome.


RE: True kit boat values?

 Dear Fishbust,

If you can't get a fair price, please don't cut up your boat and throw it in the dumpster. Take it out on the water a few times and wait until you find a teenager who admires it.

Give it to him or her. No charity deduction for you, but potentially a lifetime of enjoyment and personal growth for the teenager. . . . And in the future there may be an eager buyer of boats.

RE: True kit boat values?


I heard this years ago about used cars: “ they’re worth whatever someone is willing to pay.” I gave my LT17 to my son, who is a busy dad and he’s still looking to get into it and enjoy it. I hope if he can’t use it he’ll give it to one of his kids, or I like the suggestions to find some young person at a lake  who would appreciate it and enjoy—thereby keeping the love of boats alive. I hope to use my Passagemaker (currently in process of being built) more than the LT17 and then try another kit. They’re so damn fun to build—okay, challenging too. 



RE: True kit boat values?

As someone who once cut up an unfinished hull when I unexpectedly lost my building site on short notice---I can tell you that is it is wondrous and confounding to see how small a pile of 18" pieces a hull will fit into. Take my word for it: no one should have to see that themselves.

When I started building a long time ago I thought about maybe building to sell too. I very quickly disabused myself of that idea. People (simetimes including me) do not want to pay for craftsmanship when they can make do with less. Flat-pack furniture anyone?

I have been following Craigslist for a couple of years, patiently looking for exactly the type of boat I want. I can report based on seeing dozens of listings each day for all kinds of small boats... in most cases involving boats that are newly listed - a boat is listed and relisted for weeks or months (sometimes years), or else the initial asking price can be 2x or 3x what the final advertised price is.

As per an earlier post in this thread, one of the nearby museums has a charity boat donation program. Donated boats, some pretty nice, usually sit unsold for months until the annual auction comes around.

I hope your boat finds a good home. You can achieve at least that if there is no urgency to your situation.

RE: True kit boat values?

For an idea on Craigslist wood boat sales:

NE Dory made by a craftswoman.  Perfect condition, fully rigged, custom oars.  About $3000 in current value materials.  She listed it for $2000 Berkeley, CA.  Sold for $1,800.

Chesapeake Double custom made by a boat builder.  Some features that are not normally on CLC kayaks.  Sold to friend for $2000.  Friend used it for many years.  Sold for $650 Bolinas, CA.  Perfect condition, beautiful.

The NE Dory and Chesapeake Double were made from plans.

If it is a killer deal like the Chesapeake Double then it sells right away.  If the kayak was for sale in Oakland, CA and not in a hurry it may have got over $1000.

Chesapeake 18.  Cracked deck piece during installation.  Excess epoxy filling some areas.  Listed for $850.  Turlock, CA  

So depending on location the value varies.  Also it is harder to sell on Craigslist for me compared to a few years back.  It may be due to less people on Internet viewing items for sale.





RE: True kit boat values?

   The Romanticism of building your own boat comes at a price at times. Sure is rewarding though. 

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