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How Much Can You Scrap a Boat for? – Maximize Profit

Written by J. Harvey / Fact checked by S. Numbers

How Much Can You Scrap a Boat for

Sadly, many boats out there become too old enough that the scrapyard becomes their final destination.

If you own one yourself and have decided it’s the best course, “How much can you scrap a boat for?” likely popped into your head, which is why you’re here.

The money you can make depends on whether your boat has components and materials that hold their value. The short answer is don’t expect much in most cases.

Average Scrap Value


It’s hard to arrive at any set average scrap value because every boat differs in size, material, overall condition, and components. There are also the changing market prices of scrap metals based on location to consider.

Getting 30% of the original value of the electronics and 15% for the motor are already considered high. Hulls can effectively be crossed out since most scrap metals cost next to nothing. And don’t even get me started on a fiberglass boat – they cost zilch.

Sure, cruise ships are a different story because some can be scrapped for as much as $500 per LDT (light displacement ton). But that’s because if they’re repaired to be good as new, they’ll literally cost millions!

Outlining the Value of Each Part


Obviously, we’re not ship but boat owners. I, too, once thought, “Why not scrap my boat for cash?” so I asked around in various boat scrap yards in my area about selling my old aluminum fishing boat.

I looked up the value of aluminum scrap as well as most of the spare gadgets and accessories it had. That’s when reality bit me fast.

Let’s say you’re trying to scrap a 12-foot aluminum boat with a dry weight of 170 pounds. As of this writing, the nationwide scrap price of aluminum is $0.43 per pound. That means the boat’s entire scrapping value tots up to a “stellar” $73.1.

You’re a bit luckier if you live in a state like New York, where scrap metal price is a bit higher, or if you have a larger boat. But, still, the total is often just beer money for a lot of us regular folks.

In most cases, the scrap yard will just cut the boat up (including all its metal parts like the jack plates, engine brackets, T-tops, bow rails, seats, wires, etc.) along with its metal trailer if it had one.

The work is not exactly a walk in the park, and there’s the boat disposal cost to consider, too, which may go over the recoverable value! Now do see why most sailors will recommend you sell a junk boat and just donate it to charity?

Here’s what I’ve researched when it comes to any other notable factors to consider when you choose to scrap a boat:

  • Your best bet would be old outboard motors that have stood the test of time and can still be used on new vessels. Back in 2018, someone offered to buy my card 2-stroke outboard for $1,000. They may be worth higher now.

All the more so if your boat has a vintage one since some, like the 1956 Johnson Javelin, can fetch prices up to $3,000. Higher horsepower motors tend to retain their value best.

Other types of engines and motors will likely not sell as much since outboards are treated as separate from most watercraft and are, thus, priced independently as well.

  • Used electronics rarely hold their value. If, by chance, it was fitted with newer rod holders and other nice fishing gear that are in good working condition, then you may just be able to sell them for 50% of their original value (or more).

And that’s really it. Incidentally, if you’re trying to scrap a boat without a title, some states like Washington require you to get a “Junk Vehicle Affidavit” first.

That’s another step you need to take that may understandably turn you off altogether from your junk boat removal pursuits.

Factors Affecting Boat Scrapping Prices

1. Material


Boats with metal hulls are assigned a price per pound precisely because they’re being valued for the present market price of the scrap metal. Aluminum is common since it’s one of the most widely-used hull materials.

2. Hull Size


A bigger, heavier hull with more scrap metal will fetch a higher price tag.

3. Overall Condition


This includes the hull, motor, and electronics, but mostly the latter two. Anything that’s still functioning and new may still have value and don’t necessarily have to be scrapped but sold instead.

Tips to Make More Money When Scrapping Boats


Check out the following tips to make the most out of the “scrappy” situation:

Step 1: First, ask yourself the question, “Do I really need to scrap the boat?” Perhaps, it can still be salvaged? If that’s the case, know that you can sell it for 10% of its resale value. A $40,000 boat can gross you $4,000, for example.

Step 2: Take the time to ask every scrap yard in your area that takes boats to get different rates.

Step 3: Dismantle the boat yourself to reduce, if not completely eliminate additional labor costs. This also takes care of yards that don’t accept whole boats. Be prepared for elbow grease, though.

Step 4: If you know that your boat has a relatively decent amount of parts made of more valuable metals like copper, then it may be worth setting those apart from their aluminum counterparts. You can strip all the copper wires, for example.

Step 5: Make sure to have enough materials to sell. Bulk them up, so the scrap yard will offer to buy them for better prices.

How to Determine Boat Scrap Value


There’s no better way to do this than to ask around about the value of every specific component worth scrapping.

  • Check the present rates of aluminum scrap or any other metal your boat may have. The same goes for the electronics.
  • Afterward, you can add their respective values together, then deduct any labor or disposal cost the job entails.
  • This gives the net scrap value, which (fingers crossed) should still be high enough to warrant scrapping in the first place.


Overall, the answer to “How much can you scrap a boat for?” swings from close to “not worth it” to “fairly decent.” Most of the time, the former applies, unfortunately. After all, scrapping is already an extreme step when trying to get value out of your boat.

Still, knowing that certain parts like outboard motors retain their value and that there are other avenues to try to make more money should still motivate you.

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