Is it hard to get a boat loan?

This is the second most asked questions regarding boat financing (click here for number 1) and the answer might surprise you. What are banks and lenders considering before they agree to loan you money for a boat purchase?

Behind the Boat Loan Curtain

The short answer to “Is it hard to get a boat loan?” is no!how hard is it to get a boat loan In fact, in today’s market it has never been easier to obtain a boat loan! Many lender will even offer same day financing if you have great credit and you could be hitting the water sooner than you thought possible However, banks are a little bit more strict when it comes to buying boats, particularly used boats, so here are a few things to consider.

Your Credit History

When you fill out a credit application to obtain your loan, they will of course run a credit check. While you may still obtain a loan with only decent credit, the obvious applies in that the better your credit score…the more likely you will be approved for the boat loan. There are exceptions such as people who have high incomes, a large share of liquid assets, or more than one person on the loan document, however this is a general rule of thumb.

Is it tough to get a boat loan?

The Loan Amount

Boat pricing is a little bit more tricky than car or house pricing so banks are more careful. Generally they will use a guide such as Nada to base their estimate of how much they are willing to loan as well as other market evaluations. If you are already at the new boat dealership, they will have financing in place and will be more than ready to sell you on their rates, however it pays to shop around so it is suggested to never take the first finance offer on a new boat you find.

The Used Boat Market

The used boat market is a whole different ball game but is a great place to find a deal. For many smaller value boats (think 10k or less) and boats that are less than ~3 years old, a simple proof of ownership from the seller and Hull ID verification will be enough to satisfy their requirements. However, on boats that are more expensive or older, lenders will require a marine survey by an accredited SAMS surveyor to be performed.

Your lender will generally require the survey results and will potentially adjust their loan amount if the boat is found to have large issues or not be up to market standards. Though surveys come at a cost of ~$20 a foot, they also provide you peace of mind that a certified professional has been through the boat.


There are quite few factors that determine whether it will be hard to get a boat loan, however in the current boating and financial markets, securing one has never been easier. With solid credit and a boats under $100,000, it can be incredibly easy to secure a lender including many same-day options.