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Best Boat Loans

Boat financing lets you get into the boat you want with the chance to make monthly payments until your boat and all your equipment and upgrades are paid off. Find out which lenders offer the best boat loans of 2022, plus how you can apply.

Best Boat Loans
Holly Johnson
Award-Winning Personal Finance Contributor

Buying a new 20’ boat can cost you upwards of $60,000 and potentially more,  and the average costs for maintenance and insurance only add up from there. With the best boat financing in place, however, you can purchase the boat of your dreams and pay for all other necessary expenses. Our team of financial experts reviewed and ranked more than 30 online lenders to help you get funded, so read on to learn more.

Our Top Picks for Best Boat Loans

lightstream._logo
  • Funding as soon as the same day
  • Allows joint applications
  • No origination fee
Min. Credit Score
Min. Credit Score Not Disclosed
Loan Amounts
Loan Amount $5K-$100K
Est. APR
Loan Repayment 24-240 months
 sofi review
  • No origination, prepayment, or late payment fees
  • Joint applications accepted
  • Offers .25% discount for autopay
  • Borrowers up to $100,000
Min. Credit Score
Min. Credit Score 680+
Loan Amounts
Loan Amount $100K
Est. APR
Loan Repayment 84 months
upstart review
  • Loans can be funded in one busines day
  • Prequalification with a soft credit check
  • Accepts borrowers with fair credit
Min. Credit Score
Min. Credit Score 600+
Loan Amounts
Loan Amounts $1K-$50K
Est. APR
Loan Repayments 36-60 months

How to Choose the Best Boat Loans?

To find the best boat loans, our experts compared lenders based on an array of important factors. These factors influence how much boat financing actually costs in the end, as well as the user experience borrowers have along the way.

The following factors should be considered by anyone financing a boat.

  • Loan features: Make sure lenders you're considering offer loans that are large enough to meet your boat financing needs. Also ask about repayment plans, and look for a lender that offers plenty of flexibility.
  • Interest rates and fees: Compare lenders based on their boat loan rates and potential loan fees. Make sure to watch out for hidden fees, such as origination fees and prepayment penalties.
  • Application process: Look for lenders that let you get prequalified for boat financing without a hard inquiry on your credit report. From there, focus on companies that offer a fully online application process.
  • Qualification process: Check for lender qualification requirements, such as a minimum credit score or a maximum debt-to-income ratio. However, know ahead of time that some lenders are more transparent about their requirements than others.
  • Customer support: Compare loans for boats based on the customer service offerings of each company. Look for providers who have plenty of contact options, including phone, email, and online chat.
  • Online user reviews: Read user reviews of the various companies offering boat loans. The best places to look include Trustpilot and the Better Business Bureau (BBB).
  • Perks and Bonuses: Finally, check whether various lenders offer any perks for using their financing, which may include loan discounts or refer-a-friend programs.

Best Boat Loans of 2022 - Full Overview

While there are many reputable lenders offering boat loans online today, we selected the following companies due to their loan offerings and accessibility. Read on to find out which companies have the best boat financing rates and terms.

1. LightStream — Best Overall

There are several reasons we chose LightStream as the best option for boat financing overall, but the biggest one is their incredible rates. Lightstream loans are also offered in relatively high amounts, and they come with flexible repayment plans that let you customize your monthly payment. Also note that all loans from LightStream come with no origination fees, no hidden fees, and a generous discount for auto-pay.
Pros
Check your rate with no impact on your credit
Repay your boat over up to 12 years
Borrow up to $100,000
Generous auto-pay discount
Cons
Not available for borrowers with bad credit
Lowest rates require auto-pay

lightstream
Lightstream loans come in amounts from $5,000 to $100,000, and borrowers who use this company for boat financing can repay their loans over 36 to 144 months. Interest rates range from 3.99% to 19.99% with auto-pay, and these loans require good credit to qualify. Also note that Lightstream loans come with no origination fees and no hidden fees.

The Bottom Line

If you have good credit and you want to borrow up to $100,000 for your dream boat, Lightstream can help you get behind the wheel (or an oar) with no hidden fees. You can even repay your boat loan over up to 144 months if you prefer.

2. SoFi — Best for No Fees

SoFi is another top lender that offers unsecured personal loans that work well for boat financing. These loans are offered in amounts up to $100,000, which can help you get into a nicer boat than some other lenders on this list. Best of all, loans from SoFi come with no origination fees, no application fees, and no hidden fees of any kind.
Pros
Borrow up to $100,000 for your dream boat
Check your rate with no impact on your credit
No origination fees or hidden fees
Unemployment protection applies
Potential for same-day funding
Generous auto-pay discount
Cons
Not available for borrowers with bad credit
Lowest rates require auto-pay

sofi
SoFi personal loans come with interest rates that range from 6.99% to 22.28% APR, although auto-pay is required for the lowest rates. Loans can be repaid over 24 to 84 months, and there are no origination fees or hidden fees to be aware of. Boat enthusiasts who choose to go with SoFi may be able to borrow up to $100,000, and the minimum loan amount is $5,000.

The Bottom Line

SoFi is ideal for borrowers who need up to $100,000 in boat financing but don't want to pay any extra fees. Like others in our ranking, SoFi lets you check your rate without any impact to your credit score.

Try SoFi

3. Upstart — Best Boat Loans for Fair Credit

If your credit score is in the fair range, which includes FICO scores from 580 to 669, Upstart is one of the best lenders to consider for boat financing. This lender uses alternate data such as banking information to approve you for a loan, so you may get better rates and terms with them than you would qualify for elsewhere. The best part? Upstart lets you check your rate and get prequalified without any impact on your credit score.
Pros
Available to borrowers with fair credit
No credit score impact to check your rate
Borrow up to $50,000
Competitive interest rates and terms
Cons
Potential for a high APR with bad credit
Only two repayment plans
Beware of origination fees

upstart
Upstart personal loans can be used to finance anything you want, from the boat of your dreams to boating equipment and upgrades. You can borrow anywhere from $1,000 to $50,000 if you qualify, and rates range from 5.35% to 35.99% APR depending on creditworthiness. Loans can be repaid over 36 months or 60 months. Also note that an origination fee of 0% to 8% of the loan amount can apply.

The Bottom Line

Upstart should be on your radar if you're financing a boat with less than stellar credit. If you're unsure whether you can qualify, they let you check your rate without any impact to your credit score.

4. Best Egg — Best for Smaller Boat Loans

BestEgg is another lender to consider if the boat and equipment you want comes in at a price point below $50,000. You can get prequalified online without any impact on your credit score, and this lender has some of the best user reviews of any other company. Like other personal loans, Best Egg loans come with a fixed interest rate, a fixed monthly payment, and a set repayment timeline.
Pros
Check your rate with no impact on your credit
Competitive rates and terms
Borrow up to $50,000 for your boat
All credit profiles accepted
Excellent user reviews online
Cons
Beware of origination fees
Potential for a high APR with bad credit
Only two repayment plans available

bestegg
Best Egg personal loans are offered in amounts that range from $2,000 to $50,000, so they're perfect for borrowers who are financing a moderately priced boat. Interest rates range from 5.99% to 35.99% APR, and loans can be repaid over 36 or 60 months. Watch out for origination fees, which can tack on 0.99% to 5.99% of the original loan amount.

The Bottom Line

Consider Best Egg if you need to borrow up to $50,000 and you want to use a lender that has excellent reviews. Also note that this lender lets you check your rate online before you apply.

5. Credible — Best Boat Loan Comparison Site

If you are hoping to find a platform that lets you compare several loans for boats in one place, Credible may be what you're looking for. This loan comparison site lets you enter your information once then see multiple boat loans with various rates and terms. Lenders compete for your business from there, and you get to choose the best boat loan for your needs and your budget.
Pros
Check your rate with no impact on your credit
Compare multiple boat loans at once
Shop around to get the best terms
No fees to use the platform
Cons
You will have to research lenders
Lender fees and terms vary

credbile
Personal loans through Credible come with interest rates that range from 3.99% to 35.99%, and payment plans can last from 12 to 84 months depending on the lender. Since this is a loan comparison platform, other lender fees and loan terms will vary depending on the company you select for funding.

The Bottom Line

While Credible is a loan comparison site and not a direct lender, this platform makes it easy to compare all the best boat loans in one place. You can also check your rate without any impact to your credit score.

6. OneMain Financial — Best Boat Loans with Bad Credit

If you need a boat loan with bad credit, OneMain Financial is one of the few lenders who may be willing to work with you. This financial company has 1,400 branches nationwide, but you can also apply for a boat loan online if you prefer. Interest rates are relatively competitive for people with bad credit, and borrowers can gauge their approval odds online before they apply.
Pros
Check your rate with no impact to your credit
Available for bad credit and fair credit
Visit 1,400 nationwide locations
Flexible repayment plans
Cons
Loan amounts capped at $20,000
Potential for a very high APR
High origination fees likely

OneMain
OneMain Financial offers personal loans in amounts that range from $1,500 to $20,000, so they may not work for you if you need more financing than that. However, borrowers with fair credit and bad credit can qualify with interest rates falling between 18% to 35.99% depending on their creditworthiness. Repayment terms can last from 24 to 60 months, so applicants can tailor their monthly payment to their budget and goals. Note that an origination fee of 1% to 10% (or a flat fee) can apply, so make sure to check.

The Bottom Line

OneMain Financial offers boat loans for bad credit when other lenders won't. Consider this company if your credit is subpar but you still want a boat loan up to $20,000.

Best Boat Loans — Feature Comparison

Company Name

Estimated APR

Minimum Credit Score

Loan Amount

Loan Terms

Lightstream

3.99% to 19.99% APR with auto-pay

660

$5,000 to $100,000

36 to 144 months

SoFi

6.99% to 22.28% APR with auto-pay

Not disclosed

$5,000 to $100,000

24 to 84 months

Upstart

5.35% to 35.99% APR

300

$1,000 to $50,000

36 or 60 months

Best Egg

5.99% to 35.99% APR

550

$2,000 to $50,000

36 or 60 months

Credible

3.99% to 35.99% APR

Varies by lender

$600 to $100,000

12 to 84 months

OneMain Financial

18% to 35.99% APR

Not disclosed

$1,500 to $20,000

24, 36, 48, or 60 months 

Understand the Costs of Owning a Boat

There's a reason many people joke that B-O-A-T stands for "bring out another thousand." In addition to the costs involved in buying a boat, there are myriad expenses and fees required to use and maintain a boat throughout the year.

Common costs of owning a boat include:

  • Cost of a trailer to transport your boat, which can vary
  • Annual or monthly charges for boat insurance (varies)
  • Boat storage, which can cost several thousand dollars per season
  • Costs involved in winterizing a boat and preparing it for storage (when applicable)
  • Marina fees, which can vary
  • Maintenance costs, which can vary widely depending on the type of vessel and its age
  • Boating equipment and accessories
  • Fuel costs
  • Expenses involved in acquiring a boat license

At the end of the day, there's a lot more involved in paying for a boat than coming up with the cash for the purchase price. You can finance some of the costs of boat ownership within your boat loan, yet you should also set a monthly or annual budget that will account for all the other boating expenses you'll pay throughout the year.

What is a Boat Loan?

A boat loan is a personal loan that comes with a fixed monthly payment, a fixed interest rate, and a set repayment schedule that will never change. These loans let boating enthusiasts get the financing they need to purchase the vessel they want, and they can use any additional funds for upgrades, equipment, and ongoing maintenance expenses.

Secured Boat Loans vs. Unsecured Boat Loans?

While the boat loans we highlighted in this guide are unsecured, there are also secured boat loans to be aware of. The main difference in these two types of loans is that one requires collateral and the other does not.

  • Unsecured boat loans do not require any collateral, so they are not secured by the boat or any other assets you own.
  • Secured boat loans require collateral, so the lender can take possession of your boat if you don't pay your loan back.

While secured boat loans require you to put your boat up as collateral for the loan, they may come with lower interest rates since the loan is backed up with assets. Secured boat loans can also be available to borrowers with shaky credit since the boat itself can be repossessed at any time.

Before you decide on the type of boat loan you want, it can help to check your credit score to see where you stand. If you have a good credit score, or any FICO score of 670 or higher, it's likely an unsecured boat loan will work for your needs and be more convenient overall.

Where to Get a Boat Loan

Whether you opt for an unsecured personal loan or a secured boat loan, there are several types of institutions you can turn to for funding.

  • Online lenders: Online lenders like Lightstream and Upgrade offer unsecured loans that work well for boat financing, as well as the financing of related equipment and upgrades for your boat. Rates and terms are very competitive, and online lenders let you complete the entire funding process without visiting a loan office.
  • Credit unions: Credit unions also offer boat financing, and members can qualify for exceptional rates and terms. Examples of Credit unions that offer boat loans include Chevron Federal Credit Union and PenFed Credit Union.
  • Traditional banks: Traditional banks like Chase and Citi also offer boat financing, as well as personal loans consumers can use for boat expenses.
  • Boat dealers: If you buy a boat from a dealership, the company may have their own financing options available. Make sure to compare in-house boat financing with online loans and boat financing from traditional lenders.

How to Get a Boat Loan

While the steps involved in getting new or used boat loans varies by lender, you'll find a general overview of moves required to get boat financing below.

  • Step 1: Find the boat you want, which will help you get an idea of how much you need to borrow.
  • Step 2: Look for boat loan companies that offer the amount of financing you need, and use a loan calculator to see what your monthly payment might be.
  • Step 3: Check your rate with at least three or four lenders that offer boat financing.
  • Step 4: Compare each lender based on their boat loan rates and lender fees, and make sure to watch out for hidden charges.
  • Step 5: Decide which lender you want to move forward with, and check their qualification requirements before you apply.
  • Step 6: Fill out the lender's loan application with the information they request, such as your contact details, Social Security number, your employment data, and your income.
  • Step 7: Wait for your loan to be approved, which could take several hours up to a few weeks.
  • Step 8: See if your lender needs any additional documentation to approve your loan, and send it right away if they do.
  • Step 9: Receive your loan funds as a direct deposit into your bank account.
  • Step 10: Use your boat loan funds to purchase your boat, then get out on the water as soon as you can.

What are the Repayment Periods for Boat Loans

Repayment periods for boat loans vary widely by lender, and they can even vary based on the amount of money you borrow. As an example, Lightstream lets you borrow up to $100,000 in boat financing then repay it over up to 144 months. However, other loan companies offer shorter repayment periods that last up to 60 months or 84 months at most.

Boat Loan Alternatives

  • Boat rentals: If you can't qualify for a boat loan or you're not quite sure you want to take on the responsibility of boat ownership, renting a boat can work as well. Websites like GetMyBoat.com let you rent nearly any type of boat in a variety of destinations around the world, and you get to enjoy boating with less hassle and stress overall.
  • Home equity loans: If you have considerable equity in your home, a home equity loan can also fit the bill. This type of loan requires you to use your home equity as collateral, yet you get to repay your loan with a fixed monthly payment, a fixed interest rate, and a fixed repayment schedule.
  • Home equity lines of credit: Home equity loans also rely on the equity you have in your home as collateral, and they come with variable interest rates. Instead of a lump sum of cash, HELOCs extend a line of credit you can use when you need it.
  • Credit cards: You can also use a credit card to finance your boat, but interest rates can be incredibly high. If you are thinking of using a credit card for boat financing, look for one that offers 0% APR on purchases for as long as possible.

Conclusion

The best boat loans can help you get into the boat you've always wanted, but you need to make sure you shop around to find the right fit. Factors to consider include the boat financing rates you're being offered, the repayment plans you can choose from, and your monthly payment.

Also make sure you set aside some money in your budget to pay for boat upkeep, maintenance, and all the fun accessories you'll want to buy along the way. Boating can be an expensive hobby, so having your finances in order first is crucial.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

Can I get a boat loan with bad credit?

While some lenders only offer loans to borrowers with good credit, several extend financing options to borrowers with bad credit or imperfect credit scores. Just remember that you'll typically pay a higher APR with bad credit, and that additional fees (like origination fees) are more likely to apply.

Can you get a boat loan on an old boat?

Unsecured personal loans let you use funding for anything you want, so they are perfect as used boat loans. All you need to finance an old boat is sufficient credit and income, and you can get the funding you need within a few days of your application.

Is financing a boat a bad idea?

Financing a boat isn't necessarily a bad idea, but you should make sure you can afford to pay for everything boating entails before you move forward. In addition to the monthly payment on your boat loan, you'll need to have extra cash for maintenance, repairs, fuel, boat storage, and other costs involved in this hobby.

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