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So how do we make money? Our partners compensate us. This may influence which products we review and write about , but it in no way affects our recommendations or advice, which are grounded in thousands of hours of research. Our partners cannot pay us to guarantee favorable reviews of their products or services.Here is a list of our partners.
Calculate Payments With Our Boat Loans Calculator
Use our boat payment calculator to determine a monthly payment that you can afford when looking to finance a new or used boat.
Simply enter your desired amount, estimated interest rate, and the loan term over which you intend to pay back the loan. Once you’ve input the information, the calculator will generate your estimated monthly payment on your boat loan. Take this number and plug it into your current monthly budget.
Other Lenders We Considered
- US Bank: This lender’s loan interest rates weren’t the most competitive, starting at 5.24% for a new boat. The bank states that rates may be higher for private party boat purchases, loans under $25,000, and used boats. Ultimately, lower rates may be available elsewhere.
- USAA: USAA is only available to people with military affiliations, limiting the number of people who can access these loans. However, even those eligible could get a better rate from one of our top picks interest rates start at 5.25% with USAA, about a percentage point higher than a LightStream loan.
- Navy Federal Credit Union: Like USAA, membership with this credit union is only available to certain people. However, a starting interest rate of 5.95% for new boats and 7.45% for used boat loans mean there are better deals to be found elsewhere.
- Boat US: This online boat loan marketplace didn’t beat interest rates offered by other lenders. A high minimum loan amount of $25,000 also may be more than many borrowers need.
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Can I Get A Loan For A Used Boat
You can get a loan for a used boat but there are some limitations. The boat lender usually requires that the boat be no older than a certain age. Most lenders wont finance a boat that was built before 1999 or 2000. However, some lenders will finance boats of any age and price range, but you may end up paying a higher rate and putting down a larger down payment.
Different lenders have varying requirements when it comes to financing used boats. Some lenders will require an inspection and an appraisal and others will only finance up to 85% LTV and will expect a down payment.
Financing a used boat is usually more affordable than financing a new boat, but its important to know the condition of the boat so you dont end up with unexpected repair costs.
Who Should Get A Boat Loan
You should get a boat loan if:
- You want to purchase your first boat but dont have the cash.
- You want to upgrade and buy a new boat.
- You want to buy a used boat.
- You want to refinance your current boat.
- You want to purchase a yacht and use it for charters.
A boat loan is usually not a good idea if youre living paycheck to paycheck and arent sure if you will be able to make the payments on time. Its also not a good idea if youre not going to use your boat very much, you may be too busy, or live somewhere with a short boating season.
You want to make sure that the high associated costs of owning a boat and financing it are worth it before deciding to get a boat loan.
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Consumer Boat Buying Guide
Homes and cars represent some of the most expensive single-item purchases individuals make during their lifetimes, but spending doesn’t always cease at the shoreline. Boats add to the cost of living for water sports enthusiasts, who eagerly take-on the cost of ownership. And though boat buying is born of passion for the open water, a prudent approach makes the most of recreational budgets and ensures affordability.
As you prepare to take the plunge, due diligence guarantees a smooth transition to boat ownership. From choosing the best boat for your needs to securing reasonable financing, weigh your options carefully before making commitments.
The Best Boat Loans Of September 2021
|Check rates > >|
*With auto-pay discount
The best boat loan depends on your budget, the type of boat you’re purchasing, and the age of the boat. From financing for small ski boats to full-size yachts, there’s a loan out there for most things that float. But they’re not all the same.
Once you’ve narrowed down the type of boat you’re interested in buying and what model year you’re looking for, you can start shopping for a boat loan. Many lenders will only finance certain types of boats, or require a boat to be newer than a certain model year. To make sure you make the most of your shopping, know this going into it.
There aren’t as many lenders offering boat loans as there are auto loans. But there are still a few to choose from.
Here are Insider’s top picks for boat loans in September 2021.
Types of boats financed: LightStream doesn’t list any specific requirements
4.29% to 10.39% APR, with auto pay discount
Loan amounts available: $5,000 to $100,000
Watch out for: High credit score requirements. LightStream only works with borrowers with good or better credit, so anyone with a low credit score may not qualify.
LightStream boat loans are a strong option for most borrowers looking for an inexpensive boat and fast funding.
LightStream is an online lender backed by Truist . With a completely online experience, same-day funding available, and many loan types offered, LightStream is one of our picks for the best RV loans and best personal loans.
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Boat Loans: Questions To Ask Before You Apply
How does the loan fit into my budget? Monthly payments on a boat loan should fit comfortably within a budget that covers all of your needs, wants, debt payments and savings. Use our boat loan calculator to see estimated monthly payments, interest costs and total payments.
Payments toward the boat loan combined with other debt payments shouldnt exceed more than 20% of your income.
What is the true cost of boat ownership? Buying a boat isnt your only new expense. Additional costs include fuel, licenses, insurance, storage, maintenance and repairs. Boats also depreciate over time, just like a car.
Does my boat have resale value? Its smart to buy a boat that is both affordable and popular, as this can attract potential buyers if you decide to sell it and pay off your loan at any point in the future.
What To Consider For Boat Payments And Affordability
When you’re in the market for new or used boats, it can get rather daunting when you have no idea where to start. One of the keys to a successful boat purchase is knowing what you can afford. This boat payment calculator takes all the hard work out of making a sound financial decision. Simply enter in your desired monthly payment or vehicle price and it will return your results.
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The Basics Of Boat Loans
There are three main strategies used to buy boats: traditional boat loans secured by the watercraft, unsecured loans, such as personal loans, and home equity loans and lines of credit .
Secured: Much like a loan for your car or recreational vehicle is backed by your vehicle or RV, secured loans are backed by your boat. The lender places a lien against your watercraft, so you dont own it outright until youve paid off the entire debt. The loan application process can take longer because the lender will consider the boat and your credit before deciding. David Mann, manager of membership programs at BoatUS, said this is the most common type of boat financing, especially for loan amounts over $50,000.
Unsecured: When you take out an unsecured boat loan, youre only backing up the loan with your credit and not the boat itself. Its essentially a personal loan for cash, which you can spend however you want, including by buying a boat. This speeds up the application process, so these loans are growing in popularity.
Unsecured loans may also be your only option to buy inexpensive boats worth less than $10,000, as secured loans generally do not go this low. However, theres a limit to how much you can borrow through an unsecured loan, so realistically this approach will only work for loans up to around $50,000.
Best Commercial Loan: Coastal Financial
Why We Chose It: Coastal Financial is our top choice for the best commercial boat loan because the company specializes in charter boat financing and will also take care of setting up charter management and boat insurance for you.
Offers boat insurance and charter management
No upfront rates
No published loan fees
You have to contact the company for borrower requirements
Coastal Financial offers a quick application process and fast funding. It finances new and used boats, charter boats, refinances, and RV purchases. It offers boat loans from $5,000 $5 million and approvals take less than 24 hours. You can apply online or over the phone.
In addition to boat loans, Coastal Financial also offers U.S. Coast Guard documentation, boat insurance, and a boat charter management program. Coastal Financial offers commercial loans for yachts, fishing boats, catamarans, and sailboats. Youll need to contact the company for loan fees and specific loan requirements and terms as they are not available on the website.
Once the borrower and vessel are approved for a charter loan, you put the boat in your companys LLC and you can enter it into a charter program. You can choose how often you want the boat chartered, and when you want to use it, and the company will handle the rest.
Coastal Financial has mostly positive customer reviews with customers appreciating the marine industry knowledge, easy application process, and fast funding times.
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Bank Of The West Boat Loans
Types of boats financed: Boats must be model year 2001 or newer to be eligible. Bank of the West specifically says that it finances standard or custom power or sailboats, multi-hull boats, pontoon boats, and electric boats. The lender also offers loans for high-performance boats, houseboats, and wood hull boats. However, it does not finance boats that can exceed 99 miles per hour.
4.29% to 9.99% for both new and used purchases, and 3.59% to 3.94% for live-aboard boats
Loan amounts available: $10,000 and up for new and used boats, $25,000 and up for live-aboard boats. Loans over $2 million are available.
Watch out for: Credit score requirements. Bank of the West states on its site that it lends only to people with credit scores of 700 or higher.
Boat loans through Bank of the West and its lending division, Essex Credit, are a good option for people planning to get a boat loan of $50,000 or above.
A $10,000 boat loan with Bank of the West would have a starting interest rate of 8.89%, a $15,000 boat loan would start at 8.39%, and a $50,000 loan starts at 4.29%. While their rates for loan amounts over $50,000 are competitive, anyone looking for a smaller loan may find a better rate with LightStream.
It’s worth noting that this lender does have a loan processing fee that could add to your total cost of borrowing. A 10% down payment is also required for loans between $10,000 and $200,000, and percentages increase for higher loan amounts.
Alternatives To Boat Loans
If you would rather not go the traditional route or your credit is challenged, there are other methods of financing your boat purchase. These include:
Home equity loans or lines of credit. Since these loans are secured by an asset your home you may be able to find competitive rates. At the time of publication, APRs for home equity loans and HELOCs of $25,000 could be found for 6%, slightly higher than the 5.59% APR for the same amount from Essex Credit. However, an advantage of a home equity loan is that rates are typically fixed. Be aware that if youre tapping the equity in your home for a pleasure purchase, be certain that youll be able to repay the debt, or you risk losing your house. Furthermore, you may find yourself paying pricey closing costs and other fees, though some lenders will waive these fees.
A typical home equity loan has terms from five to 15 years, which may be longer than you need for a relatively inexpensive boat. HELOC terms vary but may last up to 20 years. An advantage of a HELOC is that you only pay interest on what you borrow but interest rates may be variable. You can read more about home equity loans versus HELOCs. Remember that good credit is vital here you typically need a FICO score of at least 680 to qualify for either a home equity loan or a HELOC.
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Are Va Loans Available For Boats Or Rvs
Unfortunately, VA loans for boats-houseboats or otherwise-are not allowed. The reason for this has primarily to do with the fact that a boat cant be considered real property or real estate under the law. The lack of a permanent foundation prevents the boat from being considered under the VA loan program.
How To Find The Best Boat Loan Rates
Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the authors opinions and recommendations alone. It may not have been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.
When youre shopping for a boat, your focus might be on the size, year and model of your new watercraft. But before you start seeing whats out there, consider figuring out your boat loan first. While financing is available, qualifying for decent terms can take some research and preparation.
Whether youre buying your very first boat or are an experienced sailor, this guide will help you find your best rates for your upcoming loan. Weve analyzed the different options available and asked for tips from experts at the National Marine Lending Association and the Boat Owners Association of the United States , a national advocacy group for recreational boaters that also offers services such as boat loans, insurance and towing for boats stuck on the water.
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Are Boat Loans Hard To Get
Youll typically need good to excellent credit and verifiable income to qualify for a boat loan. If you have poor or fair credit and can wait to take out a loan, it could be a good idea to build your credit before applying.
Keep in mind that with secured boat loans, the people applying for the loan typically need to be listed on the vessel title. This means that if you apply with a cosigner, theyll most likely need to be on the boat title.
Some manufacturers and dealers also offer their own in-house financing, which might be easier to qualify for. Be sure to consider all of your options to choose what works best for you.
Learn More: Bad Credit Loans
How Do Boat Loans Work
Boat loans work by offering you funding for a new watercraft that uses your vessel as collateral. Its similar to a car loan: You can find a boat loan directly through a dealership or private lender.
If you finance through a lender, you can either have the funds sent to you or have the lender directly pay the dealership.
What gets me the lowest rates and longest terms?
To qualify for the most competitive deal, youll need to meet the following criteria:
- Strong credit. You generally need near-perfect credit and income well over the minimum requirements for the rates lenders advertise.
- Expensive boat. Higher loan amounts might come with lower rates and longer available terms, depending on the lender.
- New boat. Used boats tend to come with higher rates and more limited terms.
- Sign up for autopay. Often lenders offer a 0.25% discount for signing up for automatic repayments.
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Best For Bad Credit: Southeast Financial
For borrowers with bad credit, Southwest Financial is a good choice for a boat loan. This lender has no minimum credit score requirements, and loans are available even for borrowers with past bankruptcies.
No minimum credit score requirement
Discharged bankruptcies okay
Rates starting at 4.49% APR
Not available in Alaska or Hawaii
$20,000 minimum loan
High debt ratios may be a limiting factor
With a history dating back to 1936, Southeast Financial has been providing loans and other financial products to customers across the country for over 80 years. When it comes to boat loans, though, Southeast Financial excels at connecting borrowers with poor credit to lenders willing to finance their purchase.
Through Southeast Financial, subprime borrowers can access boat loans ranging from $20,000 all the way up to $4 million, with no published credit score minimum. Borrowers with low credit scores or high debt ratios may not qualify for the best possible rates, but loans are available even to those with past bankruptcies.
New and used boat loans are not available in Alaska or Hawaii, and borrowers are only allowed to finance their purchase if the boat is intended for recreational useno full-timers or liveaboards allowed. Repayment terms may vary according to the loan amount but are available all the way up to 15 years.