Determining value of used kayak

Any advice on figuring out how much a used fiberglass kayak is worth? I am considering buying a Valley Avocet that is ten years old but was apparently used fewer than 20 times. The deck and hull are in good condition but fairly scratched up (nothing serious). There is a rust stain on the skeg, near the metal fitting, which makes me wonder about the overall condition, how it was stored and cared for in the past, etc. Anyway, I wonder whether there are general guidelines for determining how much a used kayak is worth, and how much is reasonable to pay for it relative to the current retail price. If there is a related discussion that I missed, I’d appreciate hearing about it as well. Thanks!

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Get it out in the sun, upside down, and
look inside. The scratches might be just superficial, but there could be some delamination or related damage from incidents of marked flexing. Try pressing on the hull to see if you can detect softening.

Price depends on what the seller is willing to take and what the buyer is willing to give. If the kayak is in sound condition, the price range might lie between 50% and 65% of new. I wouldn’t go higher unless, for some personal reason, I just had to have the boat. Sometimes I don’t even make an offer if I sense that there’s no possibility of meeting in the middle.

I have always thought that the value
of a used item is what I would pay for it after examining it.

If in my mind the price is higher then I want to pay, then I pass it up.

You alone are the only one that should decide that.

It seems to me that in the past five or ten years every body is trying to make a killing selling used kayaks and canoes, and sometimes even trying to recoup the full amount they paid for it

Jack L

Pictures help to comment…
If it’s been stored out of the sun, after ten years they will be lucky to get 1/2 price. IF it needs work around $200.

Check the market

– Last Updated: Jan-21-12 10:58 PM EST –

Try to find asking prices of comparable boats from private parties in classified sites, paddling club bulletin boards, etc. If there are retailers in your area who sell on consignment or used boats, a private price would probably be 10-20% less than their asking prices. Then get a feel of how motivated the buyer is. Most important question is, what's it worth to you?

Remember the golden rule: he who has the gold rules. There are usually more sellers of alternatives available to you than there are buyers for the seller. The buyer has leverage.

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Determining value of used kayak`

– Last Updated: Jan-23-12 9:18 PM EST –

Thanks to everyone for the good advice - both practical and philosophical.

I was on the fence for quite a while, scouring the internet for comparable offerings (but that's a bit tough in winter months). The boat does look quite nice. But in the end, I feel uneasy about spending so much given its age, and given my worries about its resale value in case I want to sell it down the line.

Besides, I was a bit skeptical because after the seller told me the kayak was about 5 years old, I asked him to look at the last two digits of the serial number to double check. And then he told me it was 10 years old. So he lowered the price by $1000. But it just didn't feel right. I might have chosen differently if it weren't for the fact that it was to be my second kayak to use for surfing and playing around, and as a guest boat.

Thanks again for the advice!

Ask him to check the length and width
Maybe he’ll knock off another $1000.

knocked off a thousand?

– Last Updated: Jan-30-12 8:43 PM EST –

Good grief how much was he asking? I gave $900 for a five year old fiberglass Impex Susquehanna in the same condition you described about six years ago. I have paddled that thing every day for the past six years and I suspect that I could probably get close to what I paid for it.

If you like paddling it and can get it for $800-$900 it is a fiberglass kayaks are well over $2K.

Used kayaks go for about half price
If they are in good shape they quickly go down to half price in a few years. Then they hold pretty steady on the price unless repairs are needed.

Try …
Valley Sea Kayaks - Avocet

Your Price: $3,749.00

Closer to $4K for a new glassfibre boat. High tech materials even more. So, many base their asking price for a used boat at half or less than current retail.

In 2003, a glassfibre Avocet listed for $2,850. So, an Avocet in really good shape, whether 5 or 10 years old in the $1,800 range would probably be a good deal. If you really wanted one, especially a new one, you would have to pay a lot more. With cost of labor, materials and shipping having gone up so much in the last 10 years composite kayaks hold their value well.

Hello everyone, I have been working on solving the problem of used kayak pricing. It’s in the early stages, but you can check out the progress at

I took a quick look. It seems to me those are very high prices. JMO.

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Thanks for the input! I’ll keep watching the marketplaces and adjust down as needed. I have only been tracking for a few months at this point. The numbers are based off of asking price which is likely the cause for them being high.

Well you asked for feedback. Your methodology for pricing is poor. You don’t have a clue about buying used boats. My suggestion would be to choose a target audience with some other sport you are more familiar with actually buying equipment. It’s easy to gather ads for boats online but those prices don’t reflect reality of purchases in different regions of the country and demand.

I think a database of asking prices could be useful, as long as your customer base knows that is what you are showing… I did a quick look and did not pick up that fact, so maybe make that more visible. I have been collecting this type of information for my own use recently.

The following information would be helpful:
Breakdown individual sellers versus dealers.
Breakdown by regions.
When the price was posted (by month, maybe?)
High, low and median prices.
Sample size.

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I think it’s good for someone to take the initiative with this or any new venture. It’s admirable. Making a website and collecting data is dependent on skills other than kayaking or buying kayaks, namely web design, database schema design and management, etc. All the technical skills involved with the tool itself. The experienced kayakers such as you reside on this forum and elsewhere so are the right people to consult for the project.

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Thanks for the feedback! I’ll definitely make the pricing source more clear.
I do plan to add the region/zip as that has a big impact on price.
I didn’t think about the difference between buying from an individual vs buying from a dealer. I’ll put that on the roadmap too. Thanks again for the advice I really do appreciate it!

Love the concept for the blue book. I agree with one of the other comments that the pricing in that just going by asking prices may not accurately reflect what these boats are selling for. Showing the sources of these aggregated prices would probably help.

Also, geography matters. it matters just as much with kayaks as it does with used vehicles.

Hope that’s helpful!