Minimum Credit Score
3.99% to 19.99% APR with auto-pay
$5,000 to $100,000
36 to 144 months
6.99% to 22.28% APR with auto-pay
$5,000 to $100,000
24 to 84 months
5.35% to 35.99% APR
$1,000 to $50,000
36 or 60 months
5.99% to 35.99% APR
$2,000 to $50,000
36 or 60 months
3.99% to 35.99% APR
Varies by lender
$600 to $100,000
12 to 84 months
18% to 35.99% APR
$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
- 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
- Traditional banks: Traditional banks like Chase and Citi
also offer boat financing, as well as personal loans consumers can use for boat
- 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
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
- 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.
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.