I think the inconsistencies in price are due in large part to the number of brokers who list a boat at whatever the seller asks so they can get the listing. Then those numbers get posted on YW or SL and act as a barometer for future sellers to use to price their boat. It's self perpetuating.
Some brokers guide the seller and help them reach a realistic price, one based more on recent sold prices than recent listing prices. And a seller taking that advice will probably sell the boat faster than average.
In real estate, I've seen realtors run from homeowners who have unrealistic expectations about the value of their home. Those who take the listing anyway will put on a show then suggest a price drop if there's no nibbles. And they keep doing that until the home sells.
All selling agents, regardless of the commodity, want to sell because that's how they get paid. Buyer, seller, it doesn't matter, their real loyalty is to themselves and that means getting things sold so they can make a living. So it benefits them to get the seller to lower the price if too high and try to guide a buyer into the deal. But they won't put a lot of time into a boat they feel is overpriced, not when they can sell another boat to that buyer.
$10K may be a lot to the seller but is only $500 to the selling agent, unless he is also the broker, then he keeps the whole $1,000. But if you can make $2K now or $2.5K who-knows-when, you'll take the $2K now and move on to the next prospect.
That's why I'm surprised you don't see more price drops in boat listings. A boat that's sitting for 6 months that has had no price drops means either the broker forgot about it or the seller won't budge. This process isn't just about serious buyers, it's also about serious sellers. And, of course, supply and demand.
A correction, the broker generally receives 50% of what he/she brings in so the $ 500 or the $1,000 would actually be worth half of that to the individual broker.
Interesting that some believe that brokers have little influence when advising an owner about what to ask but have great power when it comes to persuading that same owner on what to take. Neither is particularly accurate.
The reality is that there will always be sellers who want what they want. Should a broker turn that listing down? Maybe sometimes they should as they run the risk of wasting time and money marketing something that is not realistically for sale. OTOH, the broker will receive inquiry on the ad which may mean selling something else. Business decision.
Reputable listing brokers are all about selling the boat and getting the seller the maximum. That is their job and also their fiduciary duty. The latter is a legality that is often overlooked in these discussions. Do some research on Agency Law and you will see what I mean. Remember that legally brokers are generally considered agents not salesmen. Different thing entirely.
As part of getting the seller the maximum, the broker has the responsibility to educate the seller on the current market. If the seller’s idea of what the maximum is differs from what the broker believes it to be then the broker makes the case and the seller, not the broker, decides what the price will be.
BTW, recommending a listing price is a lot more complicated then looking at a list of boats on YW. There are many other factors to consider.
At the end of the day the market consists of Sellers, Buyers and Brokers of widely differing knowledge, motivation and ethics. Making sweeping generalities about it is pretty much useless.