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Boat Loans for december 2022 in the United States

Apply for boat loans from companies verified by our specialists. On 03.12.2022 you have access to 0 car loans with a low rate. Increase your chances of getting money — fill out a multi-application with a free credit rating check.

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Olivia H
01.12.2022 at 06:07
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30.11.2022 at 20:45
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30.11.2022 at 20:40
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Boat Loans for december 2022

Buying a boat is a heavy investment as boats can be even more expensive than cars. Buyers without enough cash to buy a boat can get boat loans to cover the purchase cost. Various lenders in the United States offer different boat loans. Some of them send the funds directly upon credit approval to authorized boat dealers for used or new boats. To understand whether you really need a loan to buy a boat, it is important to learn about all its advantages, and disadvantages, as well as the processes of applying for and repaying the loan.

What is a boat loan?

You can take a boat loan through credit unions, marine finance companies, banks, or boat dealers. Although it is similar to auto loans, boat loan amounts can be higher with many repayment terms that you must meet before you can get this loan product. The loan amount you qualify for depends on different factors, including the loan terms, down payment you need to make, your minimum credit score, and the loan type you choose.

How can I borrow a boat loan in the United States?

You can apply to get a boat loan through various institutions. The most common boat loans lenders in the United States include the following:


You can apply for a bank loan from a bank in your local area or a nationwide bank that offers boat loans. Usually, these are the best boat loans you can get because of the easy loan process involved.

Credit unions

Credit unions offer a variety of financial products that include saving accounts, checking accounts, and loans. They offer loans at lower interest rates to borrowers since they are non-profit financial institutions. You can get a loan from a credit union even though you have a lower credit score, which may disqualify you for a loan in a traditional bank. You can only get a boat loan from a credit union if you are a member. Credit unions have different membership requirements that their members must meet. Most of them are local, but others operate nationwide.

Online lenders

You can apply for a new boat loan from an online lender, especially if you prefer banking digitally. There are different online lenders that you can explore to check if you qualify to get a boat loan from any of them. Look out for those lenders that offer boat-specific loans.

How to choose a boat loan

Boat loans share many similarities with car and home mortgage financing in the U.S. Before you choose the right boat loan, you will need to understand the terms of your lender, including the interest rates and repayment terms of the loan.

Understand your credit score

Financing a boat can be challenging since you need to make a certain amount as your down payment, and your financier will pay the rest. Your lender will consider your minimum credit score before they approve your loan. If your credit score is higher than 600, you will get more favorable terms and rates when taking a boat loan. People with good credit scores will qualify for introductory rates. Make sure you have built a good credit score before applying for a loan.

Determine how much you can afford to pay

Use a boat loan calculator to calculate the amount you can afford to repay. Calculating the monthly amount will help you decide the right amount you can afford to repay, depending on your financial situation.

Find the types of boats financed

Search for lenders that offer loans for different boats in shapes and sizes, ranging from sport boats to houseboats. Search for the type of boat you want to buy before looking at your financing options. Once you know the type of boat you want to buy, look for a lender that can finance that specific purchase.

You can compare interest rates, minimum credit score, and loan terms of different lenders to make a choice. For example, the Bank of the West offers boat loans with an interest of 3.75% and requires borrowers to have a minimum credit score of 700. Besides, the bank’s repayment loan terms can range between one and seven years. On the other hand, Southeast Financial offers boat loans with a starting interest of 3.74% and does not require a minimum credit score. Besides, you can repay the loan for up to 15 years, depending on the amount. Other lenders such as LightStream offer boat loans at an interest rate of 4.49% with an option of AutoPay and Excellent Credit. Although it has no minimum credit score, having a good score is recommended. However, you will repay the loan within 24 to 84 months.

Find the types of loans a lender offers

You need to search for lenders that offer different loans you can choose from. Choosing lenders with various options will make it easier for you to get the type of loan you need to finance your purchase. You also need to ascertain which type of loan will best suit your needs. Here is a rundown of some of the main ‌boat loans available in the United States:

  1. Personal loans. These are short-term loans used for boat purchases. Personal loans are helpful because they offer fixed monthly payments and flexible repayment choices. However, they can have hefty interest rates, ranging from around 3% to 36%, depending on your credit score.

  2. Credit card cash advance. A good option if you already have a credit card with an outstanding balance. However, credit card loans come with exorbitant interest rates and costs. Only select this option if you are ready to pay off your debt quickly. Otherwise, you will end up paying much more than what you borrowed.

  3. Leasing options. You make payments for a set duration, after which you can purchase the boat. You can also lease a watercraft for a specific period, such as only during the summer. Furthermore, leasing allows you to travel by boat whenever and wherever you want.

Ascertain interest rates and fees

Find out the interest rates for the boat loan you are about to apply for. Consider comparing interest rates from different banks, credit unions, lenders, and marine financing companies, which will help you choose one that offers competitive rates. You also need to look for those with few fees on their loans. The lenders should disclose the fees you will pay for the loan you are applying for.

Choose a trustworthy lender

Dealing with a trustworthy lender will make the entire process easy and manageable. It is crucial to find out a lender’s reputation before submitting your loan application. Measure the businesses’ accountability by checking how they respond to consumer complaints, how long they take to resolve matters, and what are their business practices. The company you choose should have clarity in running the business and be transparent in all their dealings. Ensure they give you all the information you need about their boat loans before you apply. A transparent company should not have hidden charges and should provide all the information about their loans for the consumer to make the right decision.

Confirm how long you will be repaying the loan

Considering the length of your loan repayment is critical before you get a boat loan. The length of the repayment period depends on your lender. Some lenders offer a repayment period of between 24 to 72 months for a smaller loan, while higher loans could last almost 12 years. Others also give a fixed loan rate, which can encourage lenders to take a boat loan. It is crucial to check such loan funding terms and only sign the loan agreement if you are certain that the repayment terms fit your plan.

How to apply for a boat loan

Boat loans can ‌ help you purchase, repair, upgrade and pay off previous debts related to your watercraft. Before applying for a boat loan, you need to understand which lenders can offer your required amount depending on their loan terms. Usually, lending institutions that provide boat financing include banks, credit unions, boat dealers, and marine finance companies. Besides, considering that lending institutions have structured boat loans similarly to car loans, you only need to borrow specific loan amounts less the down payment and then pay interest over a fixed period agreed upon by the lender. The amount of money you need and the available collateral determine the loan you receive.

The first step in obtaining a boat loan is determining how much money you will need. Knowing what type of boat you want to buy, repair or upgrade will help you calculate how much money you need when planning to take a loan from financiers or lenders. Before deciding how much you need as a loan, consider the following costs when purchasing a boat:

  • Boat registration and titling fees. These fees vary by state, so check with your local Department of Motor Vehicles before purchasing your boat.

  • Boat insurance. Boat insurance protects your boat and other people’s boats in the event of an accident and any injuries sustained on the water.

  • Docking fees. Some marinas charge docking fees, while others do not. However, if they do, the prices differ based on where you live (state) and how long you intend to live there.

  • Coast Guard-approved equipment. Any modifications on your boat should not void its warranty or safety rating. You must receive the Coast Guard’s approval before modifying or customizing your boat‌, whether adding a new engine or installing new electronics.

After determining how much money you require, you must gather documents that verify your personal information. Name, address, date of birth, social security number, proof of income, and credit score are examples of personal information.

Once you have gathered all of your personal information, you can go through your preferred lender’s application process and complete the application. Note that every lender might have its own requirements. Besides, most lenders now have an easy-to-use online application that you can fill and wait for loan approval.

You may submit your application in person at the bank or credit union, or you can fill out certain forms on the lender’s websites if you choose an online lender. You are required to enter basic information such as the cost of the boat, loan amounts, your occupation, the age of the boat, your assets, and the status of your debt, which all contribute to ascertaining your eligibility for the loan. After you've submitted the application, the lender will go through the information you provided, and then all you need to do is wait for approval, which might take only a few days.

Who is eligible for a boat loan?

Boat loans are available to different borrowers, from individuals to businesses. Each lender determines the eligibility criteria for a boat loan in the United States. However, this is the standard criteria for both individuals and companies.


To apply for a boat loan, you must be over 18 years old with a valid Social Security number. You must also provide proof of a valid source of income, a credit score, and the ability to pay the down payment.


Businesses are eligible for loans if they meet the requirements set forth by their state’s incorporation laws and those set forth by the lender. These requirements may include having an income that exceeds the minimum amount required by the lender, sufficient income-producing assets (property), or sufficient collateral (vehicle).  However, there is no limit to how many people can be involved in the application or who signs off on it.

Requirements for getting a boat loan in the U.S.

To obtain financing for your new or used boat, you must satisfy the following requirements:

  • Afford the boat’s down payment, which depends on whether you will use it for recreational or commercial purposes.

  • Provide proof of income and documentation that you can afford your loan’s monthly installments.

  • Have a good credit score and history. Your credit score and history may have negatively affected your credit score, including any previous bankruptcies or foreclosures. For instance, if your credit score is above 600 and you have been employed for at least two years with your current employer, you will probably get the boat loan approved. If not, consider getting a co-signer who meets the requirements above but doesn’t qualify on their own like a parent or a spouse.

How boat loan financing works

Boat financing works like auto-mobile loans. Boat loan providers will give you the money to purchase that boat of choice. Notably, some loans may need a down payment, while others do not. The amount you get depends on the boat you choose and your borrowing capacity. The applicant then gets to pay back the money lent in installments. The application process is thorough. Applicants have to fill out details on a form. Some of the things you have to put down include:

  • Personal financing

  • Tax information and records

  • Proof of assets

While the application process can be full of scrutiny, approvals are fast. Applicants with a good credit score get their loans faster than those with a bad score. Also, anyone with the ability to pay back the loan gets a higher chance of approval. Banks may ask for a down payment between 10 and 20% before giving you the loan. Yet, anyone with a good credit score (781+) can get complete financing for the boat without a down payment. Get to know the difference between the available boat financing methods before you make an application.

Secured boat loans

A secured loan uses collateral to cushion the lender if the borrower cannot pay the loan. It can use assets like a home, cars, and any other assets accepted by the lending institution. The boat on sale can also act as collateral. A secured loan offers people with bad credit a chance to secure boat financing. With security, the lender has control over the money they spend. Bad credit history should not discourage a borrower from finding boat financing. A little research on borrowers in the area can give a clear picture of offers in their area.

Unsecured boat loans

Unsecured loans can be a challenge for people with low credit scores. They do not need collateral to acquire. While they have no collateral requirements, they come at a higher cost. Also, the application process is thorough and challenging. Other than the two types above, some people may find personal loans a better financial option. They present better rates than other traditional sources of funding.

Personal loans

A personal loan can help finance a boat purchase. Personal loans offer decent interest rates and flexible terms of repayment. A good credit score and a sufficient income are all you need to secure a personal loan. Personal loans are also easier to pay off as the borrower can make extra deposits to pay off the principal. They can also choose to pay off the loan before the repayment period lapses. Personal loans solely depend on your credit capabilities and financial muscle. On approval, banks transfer the loan balance to your account. From then on, you can arrange with the boat seller.

How to repay a boat loan debt

Boat loans are a great way to invest in your future. A boat loan can help you realize your ambitions and understand whether you want to enjoy the delights of sailing or use the boat as a commercial enterprise. Paying off your debt is vital to keep your boat for secured loans. It will also determine whether you can get credit in the future. However, your dream can become a nightmare if you do not know how to repay a boat loan debt. Use these tips to pay off your boat loan debt:

Pay your monthly installments

Defaulting in monthly installments can only make matters worse. It may earn you fines and late fees. Plan your finances to ensure that you have enough to make your monthly repayment schedule.

Pay extra if you can

Pay more than the statutory minimum amount on your loan each month, even if it’s only $10 more. Check if you have excess funds in savings or checking accounts to pay off your loan. If so, consider transferring those funds into an account dedicated to paying the boat debt. Doing this will save you money in the long term by lowering the total interest charged‌. Besides, paying more than the monthly installment can help clear the debt faster than arranged. Some lenders allow you to pay as much as you wish, and the extra goes towards cutting the principle. It can save you more money you would spend on interest.

Save before taking a loan

Save up some money before you apply for a boat loan. Paying off a part of the cost can help lower the loan rates.

Have enough cash in your account

Make sure that you have enough money in the bank to cover the payments on your loan. You will want to make sure that there is no way that you could miss a monthly payment and give yourself plenty of time before each payment is due so that there is no chance of missing it.

Earn more

Consider working extra hours or taking up a second job for a short time to put more money toward paying down your boat debt faster than usual.

Only take a loan when you can finance it

If you cannot afford it, avoid taking out additional loans while paying off an existing boat loan because it will make repaying more difficult.

Generally, making repayments for your boat loan can be difficult. Most people can pay off the debt through monthly paychecks. You can have a specialist help you calculate the boat installments before signing the papers. If you default on repayments, the bank or lender can repossess the boat, or you may lose your collateral. For faster repayment, deposit any extra cash to clear the debt. That can help you save money on interest rates. Some online tools and websites can help you calculate your boat loan, so you understand the kind of an arrangement you are entering into when you take a boat loan. They can also help you keep track of your repayment history. That information is essential when planning strategies to clear your debts.

The lender may also explain the terms by outlining the repayment process. For example, you may not use loan proceeds to refinance an existing loan with your lender. Instead, repayment usually involves making monthly payments or installments to pay off the debt. The borrower can pay more than the installments if they so wish. If they default on payments, they can lose the boat and get a bad credit score. Overall, borrowers should ensure they have enough income to make payments for their boats in time to avoid such issues.

Pros and cons of taking a boat loan

Boat loans are a good financial investment for anyone. Yet, they can sink some people deep into debt. Comparing the advantages and disadvantages can help you make the right choice. Here are the pros and cons of securing a boat loan.


  • Secured boat loans have low-interest rates and present longer payment terms.

  • Secured loans are available for people with bad credit scores. The lender can risk financing the borrower as the loan has security.

  • There is no need for collateral for unsecured boat loans.


  • Secured loans call for a down payment. Most lenders will ask you for a part of the financing.

  • Failure to pay for the boat can lead to repossession of the boat.

  • Unsecured loans take longer to pay with higher interest rates. That means you pay more for the same loan and take more years to complete.

  • Unsecured boat loans are highly competitive. Borrowers need a good credit score and solid financial capability.

  • Defaulters for unsecured boat loans face lawsuits.

While taking a boat loan may seem easy, it comes at a high price. One should also explore other available avenues before settling on loans. If you have the financial muscle to buy a boat, save up for a few months and use financing to top up the rest. That way, you can pay for it in a shorter period.

Legal regulation of boat loan lenders in the U.S.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regulates lenders in the United States. They set the terms that are ideal for consumers to get financing from various lenders. They also ensure that lenders get their money back for financing borrowers. The FTC plays a crucial role in lending. They have regulations that guide the lenders in their practice and help borrowers understand permissible borrowing provisions. Here are three rules as set by the FTC for lenders:

  • No late charges in some cases

  • Creditors must not use particular contract provisions that do not show fairness to the consumer. They include waivers of exemption, security interests on consumer goods, confessions of judgment, and wages of assignment

  • Creditors must advise the consumers about their liability if they cannot pay for the loan.

The rules above apply to creditors, retailers such as auto sellers, financial institutions, consumer credit contracts, and credit unions. Most importantly, these rules are set to ensure that lenders comply with the Credit Practices Rule. Using the enforcement above, the lenders must comply before financing your boat purchase. The rules also provide for the following:

  • A consigner of a loan must know the terms before they agree to guarantee the loan. That means they accept liability for the debt.

  • The consigner can be asked to pay for the loan they agreed to guarantee if the borrower fails to pay.

  • Lenders can use methods such as garnishing your income and suing to recover their money.

  • The FTC allows the lenders to add a defaulter’s loan to a guarantor’s record.

  • There should be no pyramiding late charges to protect the borrower from losing too much money.

  • A collateral agent may be appointed to administer the collateral for both parties before the payment period lapses.

  • Financial institutions can accept collateral such as machinery and equipment, cars, and homes.

Other legal regulations of the loan market in the U.S.

Other legal terms of the loan market in the U.S. include the number of interest rates that financial institutions should charge. The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) determines loan interest rates. However, there is no federal regulation on the maximum rate that a loan issuer might charge, although this differs from one state to another. There are state Usury Laws dictating the lowest and maximum interest rates on boat loans. Financial institutions can charge boat loan interest rates according to their terms. Banks operating in many states may use different lending interest caps that suit their business.

The real cost of a boat loan in the U.S.

Boat loans are more like other loans. The lender gives you a loan to purchase the water vehicle of your choice. The amount of loan and interest depends on the type of boat you intend to buy and the model. It also depends on the age of the boat. Some older models can be more costly than newer ones. At the same time, older boats cost less due to depreciation.

After affirming all the factors above, the lenders may ask for a down payment. They may ask for a 10 to 20% down payment for the boat deposit. Making a down payment ensures that you do not spend more money than your boat’s worth. The lending company then determines your interest rates. The PRAs can range between 4 and 6% and then be readjusted depending on your credit score and income capabilities. Some loan terms can span up to 8 years. While financing the boat purchase is the elephant in the room, other expenses also count. Things like paying rent for parking, maintenance, and insurance can drain your resources. Keep track of all expenses before you decide to get that boat. Ensure that you have enough to make monthly payments and maintenance.


Various institutions offer flexible boat loan financing products you can choose from when looking to get a boat loan. The best option will vary from one borrower to another based on the type of boat they want to purchase and their budget. You can access a secure or unsecured loan through a boat dealer, a bank, or other unsecured financiers throughout the country. Research widely to have a variety of options to consider. Besides, the process of finding boat financing is usually faster and easier than many people imagine, provided that you have the required documents. Your lender will consider your capacity to repay the amount in your loan application. You can go into a dealership and choose a boat you feel is within your budget, and if you qualify for a loan, you are likely to go home with your boat. You need to provide your lenders with enough proof that you can repay the amount borrowed. Disclose information about your investments, bank savings, constant income, or evidence of employment. You may also need to declare your assets to prove that you can repay the loan.

Getting a boat is often an exciting endeavor, particularly if one can get advantageous financing terms. However, it would be best if you investigated a variety of financial institutions to ensure that you are not paying greater rates of interest and fees than necessary when there are other, more advantageous choices available. If you follow the recommendations above, you should be able to choose the most suitable lender to finance the purchase of your boat.


What is a secured boat loan?

A secured loan will require you to put up collateral when taking a loan from a lender. In the case of a boat loan, most lenders usually consider the boat to serve as collateral. It means that the lender will take possession of your boat if you fail to repay your loan as in the agreement.

What is an unsecured boat loan?

An unsecured boat loan does not use the boat or any other asset or property as collateral when you take it. This is because unsecured loans are not anchored to any of your specific assets. Therefore, lenders consider unsecured loans to be riskier and can always charge higher interest rates.

What credit score do you need for a boat?

Most lenders will look for credit scores of between 670 and 739. However, a credit score of between 580 and 669 is considered fair, whereas a credit score of 800 and above is considered an excellent credit score.

What is the average interest rate on a boat loan?

Borrowers with a strong credit score can expect to get a boat loan at interest rates of between 4% and 5% APR for new or used boats.

How long are most boats financed for?

Most lenders extend short-term boat loan financing of under 60 months, while an average loan term is usually between eight and 12 years. Other lenders can offer long-term loan terms of between 12 and 15 years.

Is it easier to finance a new or used boat?

It is easier to consider purchasing a used boat because it is cheaper than a new one.