Boat Loans FAQ
Frequently Asked Questions
To get started, you will need to complete our online loan application. Our team will do an initial review and credit inquiry then send your application to one of our lending partners. Our lending partner will then make a credit inquiry and likely will request additional financial information such as tax returns or bank statements to help them make a decision. Once approved, the lender will list any additional items needed prior to closing (for example, a marine survey and executed sales contract). Next, either our finance department or our lending partner will collect information from the seller(s) to finalize the loan closing paperwork. Once readied, our finance department or our lending partner will send closing documents to the buyer(s) and the seller(s) for completion. Lastly, our lending partner would send the loan proceeds to the seller(s) in accordance with the funding instructions.
Boat loans share some similarities with both vehicle and home mortgage financing. You will need to complete a loan application for our lending partner to underwrite. Similar to a home mortgage, the bank can ask for your personal federal tax returns, proof of assets, and may ask for additional financial information depending on each situation.
Similar to a vehicle loan, the lender has a loan‐to‐value guideline that is based on the book value for used boats and the contract price for new boats. All of the lender's underwriting criteria must be met to offer approval, and these guidelines tend to be more rigorous than vehicle financing. If approved, the lender would outline any additional items needed prior to closing and closing paperwork would be prepared once all of the necessary information has been collected.
You will need to provide basic demographic and employment information, complete a personal financial statement that lists all your assets and liabilities, and provide us with information on the boat you are interested in buying or refinancing. As part of the underwriting process, our lender will likely ask for tax returns and bank statements for non-retirement and retirement assets to verify your income and net worth, a copy of the sales contract, and a marine survey report (on most used boats). At the end of the application, you can securely upload these documents to help speed up the review of your application.
Most applicants can expect to have a decision on their application in 2-4 business days. Our lenders will often ask for financial information before making a decision so to speed up processing, please upload a copy of your 2017 and 2018 tax returns and a copy of the sales contract after completing your application.
Typically, our lenders will require a boat to be documented with the United States Coast Guard if it meets the Coast Guard's net tonnage standard. If the boat you wish to purchase is eligible to be documented, our finance department or lender will prepare a First Preferred Ship Mortgage as part of the loan closing paperwork and file it with the Coast Guard as the instrument that secures the bank's lien on the vessel. If the boat is not large enough to be documented with the Coast Guard, a formal mortgage would not be prepared; however, the lender would still record its lien against a state title or equivalent document. In either event, the lien would be released once the loan has been repaid.
Our lenders do not issue pre-approvals that are similar to what you get when purchasing a house. You are able to apply without having a sales contract on a boat, and you aren't locked into buying the boat that you apply with, but you do need to list a boat on the application.
The rates and terms are highly dependent on the boat, so we recommend applying with a boat that is similar in age, length, and type to the one you are interested in purchasing, and use a realistic purchase price. If approved, the rate is valid for 30-45 days — depending on the lender — and your application is valid for up to 6 months.
Credit requirements vary by lender, but our lenders generally require applicants to have a credit score above 680 with no major credit issues such as a bankruptcy, foreclosure, settlement or charge-off within the past 3 – 5 years.
Generally, marine financing is subject to higher credit and other underwriting standards than that for vehicles or even home mortgages. Our lenders look for applicants with better credit, but there are other companies that will consider individuals with past credit issues.
Our lender will first review your credit score and history to determine if you meet their credit guidelines then review your financial information. When evaluating your application, our lender will look to see that you currently have the funds to make the down payment without depleting your assets, and verify your net worth and debt-to-income ratio (monthly debt payments divided by monthly income) meets their guidelines. They will also review the boat to ensure the purchase price is in line with the market value of the boat by using third-party valuation guides like NADA, BUC and ABOS.
The loan term available will largely depend on the boat you select. We work with banks that can offer terms up to 20 years, subject to the age and type of boat, as well as the loan amount available from the lender.
Once our finance department or lender collects all the required information from the buyer and seller, both parties will receive paperwork that they need to sign and notarize. Once the lender receives the paperwork back from both parties, they will disburse funds in 1-2 business days. The buyer and seller do not need to visit a bank or be in the same place to close the loan. If the boat is currently financed, our lender will disburse the funds directly to the lienholder to pay off the loan, otherwise, the funds will be paid to the seller by check or wire transfer.
BoatUS partners with leading marine lenders that consider various types of collateral, including larger, more expensive vessels. Some restrictions do apply — for example, we cannot accept applications for steel‐hull boats at this time.
Use our online loan calculator to determine your monthly payment or enter the desired monthly payment to see the loan amount. to determine your monthly payment or enter the desired monthly payment to see the loan amount.
BoatUS offers a free Boat Value Check program for Members.
- Loan amounts from $15,000 for boats model year 1999 and newer
- Loan amounts from $25,000 for boats model year 1990 and newer
- Multi Hull Boats
- Pontoon Boats