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The Ins and Outs of Donating a Boat

boatLet’s be honest: You haven’t taken your boat out in years. Yet, there it sits in your driveway, growing cracks and cobwebs, while you pay thousands of dollars each year to register and insure it. However your once-beloved boat fell into disuse, it is time to let it go. Fortunately, there is a painless way to rid yourself of your driveway’s eyesore — and do some good in the process.

Why Is Donating Better Than Selling?

There are a number of reasons selling your boat is less preferable than donating it to a worthy cause. The best reason is that boats depreciate especially fast. After just the first year of ownership, your brand-new boat will be worth more than 20 percent less than it was on the lot — no matter how little you actually sailed it. For every year after that, your boat will lose about 10 percent of its value. Usually, by the time an owner wants to sell, he or she won’t be able to get a satisfying amount for the vessel. Worse, boats that are in disrepair will likely never sell at all.

In contrast, many organizations that accept boats will provide a fair market price for any craft, regardless of its condition. Plus, donating is fast and easy, which certainly cannot be said of the resale process. You can choose between a lengthy, wallet-busting, headache-inducing sale, or you can get your boat off your property soon and receive a weighty tax deduction, to boot.

How Can Boats Help Charity?

As you likely already know, boats are highly prized vehicles. New boats run several thousands of dollars, and there is no shortage of enthusiastic boaters who are on the lookout for an upgraded vessel. The charitable organization that accepts your boat will use the high demand for boats to earn a profit, which it then contributes to its established cause — providing meals to food-insecure families, producing programs for at-risk youth, rescuing stray and feral animals from kill shelters, etc.

Though your boat donation will not go directly into the hands of a person in need, you donation is perhaps more valuable than clothing, canned goods, and other common donations that go directly from donor to disadvantaged groups because the sale of your boat will fund more resources for charities than other types of donations.

Who Takes Boats?

heartThere are a number of local, national, and international organizations that are more than willing to take your old boat off your hands (and off your driveway). Some may have more stringent regulations than others; for example, some may require that your boat be in good working condition or display no glaring cosmetic issues, while other organizations have no qualms taking broken-down boats. Likewise, some organizations may request you transport your boat, while others will come collect it from you. These features may impact how soon you can get rid of your old vessel.

If you live in a region where boating is particularly popular, like Arizona or Oregon, you might have better luck finding a nearby organization with a good reputation. You will feel better about your donation if you are confident in the organization and support the causes your contribution affects.

What Is the Process Like?

While the precise process will vary depending on the organization you choose to work with, generally you can expect to experience the following stages of donation:

  • Step one: The organization will request information about your boat, including history. Some organizations may request pictures.
  • Step two: The organization will provide an estimation of your boat’s value. This amount is what you will eventually be able to deduct from your taxes.
  • Step three: Within a few weeks, the organization will request a time and place for the boat exchange. When the swap is complete, the organization will provide a receipt which is valid for tax deductions.

When Can I Get Another Boat?

You can get another boat as soon as you feel up to it. Oftentimes, donors will feel nostalgia for their boating days as they watch their old vessel get towed away. Fortunately, now that you know about charitable boats, you know where to look for inexpensive, high-quality craft. Still, we hesitate to say you should buy a new boat right away; perhaps the best advice is instead: As soon as your significant other has forgotten how crowded the driveway was with the old boat.