Boat loans are a great way to finance the purchase of a boat, whether new or used. Boat loans can be used to finance a variety of boat types, including launches or long boats, yachts, outboard engines, personal watercraft, and more.
How to compare boat loans
With the choice of boat loans on the market, here are a few of the key features to consider when weighing up who to set sail with.
- Boat loan lenders. Banks and credit unions typically offer lower interest rates, but, may require a higher credit score. Online lenders, on the other hand, may offer more flexible terms on boat loans, but they also tend to have higher interest rates that vary based on your credit score.
- Boat loan rates. Generally speaking, marine loans tend to have lower interest rates compared to vehicle loans. Additionally, lenders may offer different rates for new and used boats. Compare rates from different lenders to find the best deal. Don't just settle for the first one you see.
- Loan terms. The length of the loan term can affect the amount of interest you pay over the life of the boat loan. Longer loan terms can mean lower monthly payments, but, it also means paying more in interest overall. Consider what you can afford based on your budget and financial situation.
- Loan amount. Consider how much you need to borrow and ensure the lender can accommodate that amount. Different lenders may limit the amount you can borrow as a boat loan.
- Fees. It's common for there to be additional fees and charges such as application fees, establishment fees, and early repayment fees.
- Loan security. The boat you want to buy with the boat loan may be required as collateral to secure the loan. Consider whether you are comfortable using your boat as security for the loan, and what the risks may be should you fall behind with repayments.
- Eligibility requirements. Check what criteria you must meet to qualify for the loan, such as minimum income, credit score, or employment status. Different lenders may have different eligibility requirements for their boat loans.
Pros and cons
- Buy your dream boat. A boat loan can provide you with the funds needed to purchase a boat that you may not have been able to afford otherwise.
- Flexible loan terms. Boat loans typically come with a range of interest rates and tenures, making it possible to find a loan that suits your budget and needs.
- Easy application. With many lenders offering a streamlined online application process, it's easy to apply.
- Builds credit. Making timely payments on your boat loan can help you build a positive credit history and improve your credit score over time.
- High repayments. Depending on the loan amount and term, monthly payments for a boat loan can be quite high.
- Collateral requirement. Since boat loans are secured loans, the boat itself is often used as collateral. If you cannot make payments, the lender may repossess your boat.
- Risk of depreciation. Like any other vehicle, boats depreciate over time. If you take out a boat loan, you may owe more on the loan than the boat is worth, in case you decide to sell it.
- Additional expenses. Owning a boat comes with additional expenses such as insurance, maintenance, and mooring fees. These expenses can add up quickly and may impact your ability to make loan payments.
What you need to apply for a boat loan
Applying for a boat loan is relatively straightforward. Here's what a typical lender would ask for.
- Personal details. You'll need to provide information such as your name, age, address, whether you are a homeowner, etc.
- Boat details. For example, the make, model, and purchase value.
- Proof and documentation. You'll also need to provide proof of income that demonstrates your ability to repay.
- Credit score. As with any loan application, the lender will check your credit.
How much can I borrow with a boat loan?
The amount you can borrow with a boat loan will depend on the lender and your personal financial circumstances. Some lenders may have minimum or maximum loan amounts for boat loans, with some being more generous than others.
How long can I take to repay a boat loan?
Boat loans typically have loan terms ranging from one to seven years, although some lenders may offer longer or shorter terms depending on the size of the loan and your creditworthiness.
What interest rates can I expect with a boat loan?
Interest rates on boat loans can vary widely depending on the lender and your creditworthiness. Typically, secured boat loans will have lower interest rates than unsecured loans, and fixed-rate boat loans may have lower interest rates than variable-rate boat loans.
Can boat loans be refinanced?
Yes, it is possible to refinance a boat loan if you find a better interest rate or loan terms that better suit your financial situation. Refinancing can help you save money in the long run.
Are there any fees associated with boat loans?
Yes, boat loans may come with application fees, establishment fees, and early repayment fees. Make sure you understand the fee schedule before signing up.
Who can get a boat loan?
Eligibility requirements for a boat loan depend on the lender and the type of loan. Factors that affect eligibility include your credit score, income, and employment status.