A boat is a major expense. For most people, then, buying a boat means taking out a loan but you may be wondering at this point, where to go to? Who does boat loans in this market?
Dealers, marine lending institutions, boating associations, and banks and credit unions all do boat loans. To determine the best lender for your situation, consider first whether the lender will lend money for the specific boat you want; some will lend only for boats of a certain size or age. Then determine whether the lender is appropriate for you as lenders vary on what they require in terms of credit scores, repayment schedules, down payments and assets. Comparing offers from multiple lenders will help you find the best lender for you.
Dealers typically set up boat loans through lending partners and many also provide help in steering you toward the partner most likely to fit your personal situation. They also can often provide insurance, making for a convenient one-stop option. For example, MarineMax Sail and Ski Center, based in Austin, Texas, provides financing and insurance through its partners for both used and new boats that it sells. Seattle Boat in Washington is another example of a dealer who provides these services, as is Russell Marine, which has several locations throughout Alabama.
Marine lending institutions specialize in boat loans. Examples of marine lending institutions are:
- SeaDream, based in California
- Specialty Marine Center, which offers terms up to 20 years and works with a variety of lenders
- Sterling Associates, which operates with a network of local agents, and finances the purchase of new and used boats
- Newcoast Financial Services, which specializes in loans for boats and recreational vehicles.
Boating associations, such as the American Boating Association, also make loans.
Banks, Credit Unions, and Brokers
Banks and credit unions differ widely in the amount they are willing to lend, the interest rate (both fixed and variable) and the loan length.
- Suntrust Bank provides boat loans through two different divisions. Marine Loan offers secured loans to buy or refinance recreational boats that are 25 feet or longer. The loans can range from $25,000 up to $4 million and have terms up to 20 years. Those with good or excellent credit can borrow up to $100,000 without having to put up any collateral through its division Lightstream.
- J.J. Best Banc and Co. provides loans and insurance for new, used and classic powerboats and sailboats and advertises that it can accommodate people with less than perfect credit as long as they have not been late on their mortgage or car payments recently.
- US Bank provides loans up to $150,000 for purchase of new or used boats. These loans have repayment times of up to four years.
- Bank of the West, which has offices on the West Coast, the Southwest, the Midwest, and the Rocky Mountain states, offers loans to enable you to buy your boat. It also offers a cash recapture program which allows you to obtain a loan within 60 days of buying your boat with cash.
Examples of credit unions that lend money for boats are:
- First Tech Federal Credit Union, for example, offers fixed-rate loans for up to 180 months for the purchase of boats 10 years old or newer.
- Teachers Federal Credit Union offers loans with a repayment period of up to 240 months for new or used boats. The repayment period depends upon the cost of the boat and longer repayment periods are reserved for those buying boats that have sleeping, cooking and bathroom facilities.
- America First Credit Union offers loans for boats and small watercraft, such as jet skis, and advertises online approval.
- United Federal Credit Union offers loans for boats and other recreational vehicles
Online brokers can help match borrowers with lenders. One example is Lending Tree.
Other ways to finance a boat
Although many banks and credit unions may not offer loans specifically designed to finance boats, they offer personal loans or home equity loans and home equity lines of credit that can be used to finance boats. Using these types of loans may enable you to borrow to buy a boat that does not otherwise meet a lender's specification.
Personal loans, because they are unsecured, require excellent credit and are more likely to be obtained for less expensive boats. They also typically will carry a higher interest rate than a loan secured with collateral. They also will need to be repaid in a relatively short period of time.
Home equity loans and lines of credit use the equity in your home (the value of your home minus what you still owe) to buy the boat. Because this loan is secured with your home as collateral, the interest rate will likely be lower than many other financing options. Depending on your tax situation, you may also be able to deduct the interest you pay. If you default on the loan, however, you will likely lose your home.
Does LendingTree do boat loans?
LendingTree itself is not a lender, but you can obtain boat loans through LendingTree. LendingTree is an online marketplace that connects borrowers and lenders. It does provide opportunities for those who want boat loans to connect with lenders.
Does Capital One do boat loans?
As of this writing, Capital One does not do recreational boat loans. However, Capital One does home equity loans. In this type of loan, a borrower uses the equity ( value of the home minus what is owed) to purchase the boat. An advantage of this type of loan is that it typically has a low-interest rate; a disadvantage is that if you default on the loan, you could lose your home. Capital One also has a commercial maritime lending group, which serves businesses with transactions from $3 million to more than $100 million.
Does Wells Fargo do boat loans?
Yes. Wells Fargo does loans for new and used boats (up to 26 feet long) and yachts (longer than 26 feet or weighing more than five tons.) The loans use the boat or yacht as collateral and have no prepayment penalty.
Does Bank of America do boat loans?
Bank of America does not specifically do boat loans as of this writing. However, Bank of America does home equity loans which could be used to finance a boat.
Does Chase do boat loans?
Chase does not specifically do boat loans as of this writing. However, it does home equity loans which could be used to finance a boat
Does USAA do boat loans?
Yes, USAA lends money to purchase motorboats, fishing boats, pontoon boats, sailboats, and yachts. They also do loans for small watercraft, such as jet skis.
We hope you find this list helpful! If you have your heart set on a gorgeous new boat but need help with financing, now you know where you can apply for a loan! And if you want to learn more about the topic, try our posts: