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Have you recently upgraded your boat? Are you retiring or moving, and just don’t want the pontoon or fishing boat anymore? If you don’t want the hassle of selling it or just don’t have the time, you can simply donate it. 

In this guide, we’ll look at how to donate a boat when you don’t want to sell, and who you should donate it to. 

When to Donate a Boat

Every boat owner’s story is unique. You may have had your boat for years, but find you’re just not using it. You’re spending more time paying your boat storage or docking bill than you are spending on the actual boat. Alternatively, maybe you’re moving across the country and don’t want to tow the boat along with you. 

You can get that space in your yard back, or stop paying those storage fees when you donate your boat. Doing so is quite simple and you’ll even get a tax deduction if you donate the vessel to an eligible non-profit.  

If your boat is in disrepair, you’re not using it as much as you like, or it’s become more of a financial burden than you anticipated, it may be time to explore how to donate your boat. Again, everyone’s story is different. No matter yours, though, you can donate your boat relatively easily. 

The most important thing to remember when you choose boat donations is that you won’t receive any money in return for your vessel. You may be able to take a tax credit, but if cash in hand is important to you, selling may be a better option.

With that in mind, let’s look at the process of boat donation.

Who Will Take My Boat Donation?

If you do a simple Google search for “donate my boat” or “charity boat donation program” you’ll receive dozens of returns. Most of these are for charities. Most non-profits are worth exploring, and it can be quite emotionally rewarding to donate your boat to a charity you care about.

A few examples we found are:

  • Wheels for Wishes – this charity benefits Make a Wish, which benefits children with terminal illnesses.
  • Vehicles for Veterans – you can donate a boat to provide monetary or therapeutic resources for American veterans.
  • Boat US Foundation – your boat donation will help, in their words, “to keep boating programs afloat.” Boating safety and clean boating are two programs offered by the Boat US Foundation. 
  • Boat Angel – if you donate through Boat Angel, you’ll be contributing to one of over 50 charities. Note that this is a religious, “Christian” organization so your donation will likely benefit a religious non-profit. 

Take a look around and find a charity you want to support. When you donate your boat, be sure that your selected charity will provide you with a receipt for your gift. That receipt will be the proof you need when Uncle Sam has questions about that multi-thousand dollar deduction on your return this April. 

How to Donate a Boat

If you’ve decided you’re ready to give your boat to a deserving charity, boat donation is surprisingly easy. Contact the charity of your choice and ask them to pick up your boat–it’s really that simple! 

The charity will have contractors (or they may do it themselves) who will pick your boat up from your driveway or slip. The vessel will be towed away at their expense, and you’ll receive a receipt for the boat that you can use when you file your taxes. 

In preparation for your donation, determine whether you want to get your boat valued. This will cost money, sure. But if your boat is in great condition, it may be worth it so you can get the full value of the boat as a deduction. Also, it’s a kind thing to do for the non-profit that will be inheriting your boat. 

If your boat is in bad shape, you can expect to receive about $500 or so as a deduction on your tax return. 

Summary: Old Boat and Other Vehicle Donations

Donating your boat is a stress-free and easy process. In fact, all you have to do is pick the charity you want to support. You will free up space in your driveway or save money on that boat slip you’ve been renting, and you’ll be doing good in the process!

Be sure you’re ready to let go of your vessel, then follow these steps on donating a boat. You’ll feel good about it, and your income tax refund will reflect your generosity, too!