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Boat Loans Frequently Asked Questions

By Rob Bowman | Posted On Apr 27, 2021
Updated On May 18, 2022

The joys of owning a boat are endless. No matter where your passion for being on the water leads you, the process of financing a boat is much less daunting when working with a professional who has experience helping owners of all different types, sizes, locations, and prices of vessels. Sales of new power boats increased 12% in 2020 over 2019 according to the NMMA, partly due to the low interest rates being offered by banks. United Yacht Sales is seeing a similar trend as the first quarter of 2021 off to an incredible start with a 104% increase over last year. The cost to purchase a yacht can easily be made more palatable by working with a finance specialist.

To answer some of the most frequently asked questions about boat loans, Shana White of OceanPoint Marine Lending gave us her perspective and advice for those seeking to get approved. OceanPoint is a division of Bank Newport and offers the industry's lowest rates, flexible programs for older boats, liveaboard boats, and other "no doc" loans. Also, don't forget to read about 7 Tips For Getting A Boat Loan.


1. Can you finance a yacht?     

Yes yacht financing is common, subject to credit approval, there are many available and attractive finance programs for the purchase of a yacht. I am always happy to speak to any boater about their particular needs and will work to tailor a finance program to meet all or most of their preferences. By utilizing the yacht as collateral, a marine loan program removes any requirement for compensating bank balances, hypothecation of securities, or pledging of other assets that may be required in other personal loans. The application process is simple and credit dispositions are usually rendered within a 24 – 48 hour period. I am happy to explain in detail what levels of income and asset verification, if any, are required to secure that credit disposition. Once a loan application is approved, as your finance specialist, I will navigate you through the settlement and transfer of the title process with the goal of getting you and your family on the water as soon as possible!


2. Do big insurance companies like Geico finance yachts? What are the pros/cons ?

Large insurance companies, like Geico, do not directly finance yachts, but rather refer their customers to marine finance experts such as OceanPoint Marine Lending. You would do better by contacting your finance specialist directly to remove that unnecessary level of communication that would come from making credit “application” through an insurance company. You will also receive a much greater customer service experience going directly through your finance specialist 


3. How long can you finance a yacht?

Depending on a number of factors that include but may not be limited to; loan size, age of boat, amount of down payment and overall financial profile of the applicant(s), loan terms are available for up to 20 years and in some rare instances 25 years.


4. What are the current rates for boat loans? Are they favorable?nbsp;

In general, interest rates in the marine market are very attractive in comparison to various other consumer lending products. The interest rate in a transaction is dependent on factors including, but not limited to; loan size, age of boat, credit score, amount of down payment and overall financial profile of the applicant(s). Industry rates currently are available, subject to credit approval and the previously referenced factors, in the low 4% range with possible additional discounts. Again, speak to your marine lending finance specialist to determine the interest rate programs available finance programs for your anticipated purchase.


5. How hard is it to get financed for a boat or yacht? What credit score do you need?

Most industry finance programs are available for applicants with credit scores of 700 and above. However speak to your OceanPoint Marine Lending finance specialist about industry finance programs for sub 700 credit scores. Securing a boat loan is likely easier than you might imagine; marine loans have historically performed better than many consumer loan portfolios and are attractive to lenders. We look forward to assisting you with your planned acquisition


6. What kind of down payment is needed for financing a yacht?

The standard industry down payment is identified at 15%- 20% of the boat purchase price including tax, title and registration, again dependent on factors including, but not limited to; loan size, age of boat, credit score and overall financial profile of the applicant(s). However, speak to your OceanPoint Marine Lending finance specialist about your individual needs and the available industry programs that may require a smaller down payment.


7. How long does it normally take to get approved?

Getting approved for a boat loan normally takes between 24 – 48 hours. This is the standard “turnaround” time to secure a credit disposition.


8. What happens if I want to put my boat into a charter program?

Utilizing the boat in charter or for some similar commercial venture changes some aspects of the transaction and requires certain specialized loan documentation. Many industry lenders only provide financing for yachts to be utilized for pleasure purposes. Available “charter” finance programs may require a larger down payment and slight bump in the interest rate. It is important to disclose your charter or commercial intentions up front as failure to do so might lead to the execution of loan documents where utilization of the boat in charter or for commercial purposes would be identified as means for default on the loan. Speak to your preferred lending specialist to secure dependable information on available programs.


As the largest yacht brokerage firm in the industry with over 200 brokers worldwide, providing exceptional support for our clients is of the utmost importance. Shana White and OceanPoint Marine Lending are our preferred financing company because of their reputation, their professionalism, and customer service. If you have questions about financing a boat or want an easy, fast quote, contact Shana directly by going to our finance page.

Shana White Marine Finance Specialist

If you're new to boating or looking to purchase a newer boat, give us a call today at 1-772-463-3131 and we will connect you with the right professional yacht broker near you that specializes in your type of boating. Our team will explore all of the costs of owning a yacht with you so you are completely educated on everything from routine yearly maintenance to storing your boat. From helping you through a new build process, to finding the perfect boat for sale on the brokerage market, the United Yacht Sales team is with you every step of the way.

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