Boat bed unstaged on a uk narrowboat
Finished bed on a narrowboat styled by Skipperlings

Boat staging in the UK is just beginning to emerge as an authentic way to help sell boats.

It’s a well-recognised technique within the property market, where house builders invest in staged show homes and quality brochures to sell their new homes. Estate agents, too, are beginning to advise the use of home stagers to UK sellers. According to the The Home Staging Association UK & Ireland, staged residences sell up to 3 times faster and at a higher value than unstaged properties.

In the US, the industry is highly established as a way to increase the value of all types of real estate. This includes yachts and cruisers, as well as smaller vessels. However, the US is not blessed with an inland waterways network like our canals, so these home stagers tend to be marine specialists, focusing on typical sea-going interiors. But boat staging in the UK looks a little different. Here, we see narrowboats and widebeams with a relatively large footprint in terms of floor space and this means that the interior of a canal boat can easily look like an land-based apartment.

All the more reason, then, to consider the importance of staging when it comes to selling a narrowboat or widebeam.

The engineering will always be a priority. Whether you are selling a brand new craft or a second-hand boat, buyers will want to investigate the propulsion, batteries, inverter and all the other technical systems. But in all honesty, prospective customers have a lot of choice right now. The supply of new build boats is somewhat outstripping demand and even within the mid-priced point second-hand market, there are plenty of options for buyers.

Standing out from the crowd is not easy in this climate and that’s where staging comes in. We are told that house buyers make their decision in just a few seconds of entering a property. I would argue that when it comes to boat sales, this is even more true because serious buyers often do a lot of homework before arranging a viewing. Even before they make contact with the seller, they know that this boat is a contender because of price, engine, bow thruster (or not), cassette toilet etc etc. So all the seller needs to do, is capture their hearts when they walk in.

We can help sellers to do this. We can appraise the boat’s interior quickly and see what needs to be done to appeal to the widest selection of customers. We can supply appropriate furniture and decorative items so that the buyer can imagine themselves in the space from day one. This method works for show boats at Crick or Southampton, for boats lying in brokerage marinas and for individual owners looking for a lucrative sale on Apollo Duck. Boat staging in the UK is set to become an essential tool in achieving the best price.