What's this used kayak worth?

There comes a time when the garage is full, the rack too crowded or you can't see the TV in the living room and the fleet must be reduced. We get a lot of calls asking what a boat might be worth, sometimes from sellers looking for a starting point, other calls from buyers wanting a sanity check.  The short answer in an economic perspective is a boat is worth what someone will pay for it, but here are some things that impact used kayak pricing:

  • Location    A boat near the water is worth more than one that has ended up in an attic in far from the ocean breeze.  Just sitting by a lake or bay on a nice day seeing someone paddle by is a huge motivator to see what's on craigslist.   Traffic drives interest and price, because there's no shipping involved and one might even be able to try it out.  
  • Season    It is challenging to sell a boat in the winter (unless you're in San Diego.)  As northern paddlers might say...the launch is easy but the water's a bit hard.   Prices are lower in the off season as a result.
  • Color   The more mass-market the boat, the more customers there are.  Custom boats are great for those who order them, but there are polarizing colors or options out there, some will be worth more to the right person.
  • Urgency  If you're moving on Friday and the boat must go, it will go for a lower price.  If your paddling trip starts Friday and you need a boat, keep the wallet full and you'll have a boat.
  • Condition   Perhaps the most obvious factor - a clean, maintained kayak is worth more than one wrapped in poison ivy with a squirrel nest in  it.   If you're getting it out to take a photo for craigslist, wash it, take clear photos from a couple angles and of any damaged or missing parts.
  • Information    Knowing more about a boat will allow both seller and buyer to look for similar boats or understand the specifics of the design.  All boats must have a Hull Identification Number on them, which show manufacturer, model (usually) and date of manufacturer.   If a boat doesn't have this, it may have been homemade or is very old.   If you can't identify the boat, it will be almost impossible to purchase parts - keep that in mind. All Seda manufactured boats have an ID starting SDD.  Over the years, we have distributed boats made by Pyrhana, ACE and Nautiraid - these will have their manufacture ID marks, not an SDD.
  • Age  The older the boat, the less it will be worth, until it's something you have to pay to have taken away.  Using current pricing is helpful for boats up to 5 years old at the most.  Seda, like many manufacturers, improves things over time and responds to increases in material costs.  As a result, at times we hear about older boats being sold for "half" of the new boat price...even though when it was made 20 years ago it sold new for that price.    We do not maintain an archive of original prices for older boats.

All buyers and sellers have a price in mind.  If you have limited $500 budget, get ready to bargain but don't start with $2000 boats.  If you must get $500 for that boat to pay the rent, start high but be ready to walk away from low ball offers.  Unlike cars, there is no "normal" price or blue book for kayak prices, so if two parties come to an agreement based on honest discussion - it's a great deal, now go paddling!