Donating your boat to the Downtown Sailing Center is a great way to support our Outreach Programs. And because the DSC is recognized by the IRS as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization your donations are deductible.

Often boat owners find themselves “owned” by their boat. It may be you are getting tired of the maintenance and upkeep costs, you’ve bought a new boat or just aren’t using your boat as much as you would like. If you decide you no longer what to own your boat for whatever reason, you have two options. You can try to sell the boat or you can donate it. If you choose to list the boat for sale, you may be in for a long frustrating process. In today’s economy, boats are not selling fast and generally, when they do sell, they go far below the asking price. Until it sells, you are still incurring all those upkeep costs while the boat is listed. When the broker takes out his percentage, the seller is left with very little of what was asked.

If you choose to donate that boat, there are two options as well. The first is to donate it to one of the many organizations that immediately list your boat for sale. Due to IRS requirements, the donor may only declare the actual sale price. The organization is required to report this information to both you and the IRS.

The second donation option is to donate your boat to an organization, like the DSC, who will actually use your donation to further their mission. Boats donated to the DSC are used in our programs for a minimum of three years and meet the IRS’s requirement for “Significant Intervening Use”. This use is carefully documented to protect the donor as well as the DSC. While the boat is in use at the DSC, it will be maintained and improved by our volunteers. The boat will also be available to our members when not in use by our Outreach Programs. So by joining the DSC, you could continue to use your boat even after donating it.

If you have decided you no longer want to own your boat, please consider the following:

  • Donating your boat to the DSC allows us to help people who may otherwise not have the opportunity get to experience the freedom of sailing in an educational environment.
  • You can eliminate the expenses of boat ownership, including maintenance fees, docking fees, insurance fees, registration fees and taxes.
  • You can eliminate the time and effort that burdens boat ownership.
  • You may receive more in tax benefit than selling your boat. Because the DSC uses your boat for a minimum of three years, you will be eligible to deduct the full appraised fair market value.* This value may be higher than an actual sale price of the boat and you don’t have to pay broker’s fees.

It may be helpful to understand our process which can be completed in as little as two weeks.
  1. When you contact us, we will gather information about the boat. It would be helpful to have photos and as much information about the boat as possible.
  2. Our committee will review the information and decide if the boat will meet the requirements of our programs.
  3. Assuming the committee wants to move forward, we will schedule a preliminary inspection of the boat by committee members, to determine overall condition and suitability.
  4. Upon successful inspection, we will schedule a certified marine surveyor to complete a full appraisal of the boat.
  5. If you are satisfied with the appraised fair market value, we will move forward with the acceptance of the donation.
  6. The Donor signs the title or USCG Certificate of Documentation over to the DSC.
  7. The DSC provides a letter of acknowledgement, a completed copy of IRS form 1098-C (indicating “significant intervening use” of the boat for a minimum of three years) and a copy of our IRS status letter.
  8. The DSC completes the transfer of ownership with MD DNR or USCG as appropriate.

Typically, the DSC is accepting sailboats over 27’ in length that can be put directly into service in our programs, with little or necessary repairs. We also are in need of small Whaler type powerboats. However, we may accept donations of other boats if they suit our needs. If your boat is not suited to our needs, we will try to recommend the best direction for you to preceed. Below is a sampling of boats we have accepted.
  • Sweet Surrender – 1979 O’Day 30
  • Best and Final – 1982 Passport 40
  • Nimbus – 1976 C&C 33
  • Chenonceau – 1982 Hunter 37
  • Yellow Jacket – 1990 Bayliner Trophy 21
  • Swiper – 1980 US Yachts 27
  • AirWaves – 1984 J/29
  • Unnamed – 2008 Vanguard Nomad 17
  • Frolic – 1974 C&C 30
  • Zephyros III – 1982 Hunter 33

If you have an interest in supporting the DSC’s mission through the donation of your boat, please contact our Director of Operations, Steve Maddox, by phone (410) 727-0722 or email steve@downtownsailing.org.


* IRS publication 4303 provides full details. Please consult a tax professional to determine your allowable deduction.

The Downtown Sailing Center is a 501(c) (3) nonprofit community sailing center.
Located at The Baltimore Museum of Industry
Photography donated by Andy Herbick Photography, and others.