Our reviewers evaluate products and services based on unbiased research. Top Consumer Reviews may earn money when you click on a link. Learn more about our process.

The Best Boat Loans

Where Can You Get the Best Boat Loans?

No matter what kind of watercraft you have in mind - from a simple fishing boat to a luxury yacht - you want financing that allows you to make it happen. While you could turn to your local bank for a loan, you might find a better offer elsewhere. There are a number of lenders who specialize in marine loans, and they might give you more competitive interest rates and terms.

What are the requirements for qualifying for a boat loan? That varies widely. Of course, it helps to have good-to-excellent credit. For high-end boats of $200,000 or more, expect lenders to have minimum credit score requirements of at least 700 along with the income and assets to support such a purchase. Also, for bigger boats, your loan approval process is likely to require a marine survey: just like buying a home, an inspection shows both you and the lender that it's a sound vessel.

Thursday, February 9th

2023 Boat Loan Reviews

LightStream Review Top Consumer Reviews Best-In-Class Blue Ribbon Award 5 Star Rating


5 Star Rating Top Consumer Reviews Best-In-Class Blue Ribbon Award

As part of the Truist financial family, LightStream puts nearly 150 years of experience to work for you in getting financing to buy a boat for $100,000 or less. Their interest rates are very competitive and have repayment terms from 2-12 years. Funds can be available the same day you apply, and you don't have to provide any documentation on the watercraft you're purchasing. With lots of positive customer feedback and one of the easiest application processes around, LightStream is the right choice for boat loans under $100,000.

Trident Funding Review 4.5 Star Rating

Trident Funding

4.5 Star Rating

For those who aspire to own a luxury watercraft, Trident Funding is a great source of boat loans. With nearly 30 years of experience, and as the largest originator of boat and yacht loans nationwide, this provider can help you get the vessel of your dreams. Their lending network includes approximately 20 banks, allowing Trident to source a funding package customized to your particular boat purchase. "A+" rated by the BBB and with plenty of glowing client testimonials, Trident Funding is the best choice for boat loans of $100,000 or more.

Excel Credit Review 4 Star Rating

Excel Credit

4 Star Rating

Excel Credit is a terrific option for financing on boats from $25,000 to $10 million. In service for nearly 30 years, the company has an impressive track record for helping clients purchase the boats of their dreams in 7 business days or less. Even more impressive are the testimonials from repeat customers who describe the entire process as lightning-fast, professional and responsive. Excel Credit is a solid choice for your higher-end boat loan.

LendingTree Review 3.5 Star Rating


3.5 Star Rating

LendingTree can be used to comparison shop loans of all kinds, including financing for new and used boats or to refinance a current boat loan. The service connects you with loan offers from up to five fully-vetted partners in their lending network, and you have ample information about each financial institution that can help you make your choice. LendingTree enjoys a strong reputation and can be a quick and easy way to compare several boat loan options at once.

Upgrade Review 3 Star Rating


3 Star Rating

Upgrade doesn't offer loans specifically for buying boats, but rather offers personal loans for any purpose up to $50,000. Because there are only two lenders in their network, Upgrade loans can often be funded within a single business day when you accept an offer. If you're looking for a smaller boat loan, this "A+" rated service is worth looking into.

BoatUS Review 2 Star Rating


2 Star Rating

BoatUS has two featured lenders for boat loans: Trident Funding for boat loans over $25,000, and First Approval Source for loans less than $25,000. Since Trident Funding we already have a review of Trident Funding, we focused this review on First Approval Source. Unfortunately, they have a long way to go before earning a higher rating among sources of boat loans.

Compare the Best Reviews

Continued from above...

On the other hand, for smaller watercraft, you may not need a boat-specific loan. These loans are usually structured as a traditional personal loan and are based solely on your creditworthiness, not on what you're buying. That's good news if you have less-than-perfect credit too: you'll pay more in interest on your marine loan, but at least you can still qualify as a borrower.

There are quite a few options out there for boat loans, and it can be challenging to determine which financial institution or lending service is the right one for your unique situation. To simplify your search for a marine loan, here are several factors to consider:

  • Loan amount. How much do you need to borrow to buy the boat? Some lenders only provide up to $50,000, while others have a minimum loan amount of $25,000 and go all the way up to $50 million. Make sure the provider you're considering is appropriate for the loan size you need.
  • Funding timeframe. If you already have a boat in mind and you live in a hot market, it'll be important to get your loan proceeds quickly. A few boat loan companies can have the funds deposited on the same day you apply.
  • Loan information. Does the company tell you upfront what you can expect in terms of interest rates, loan amounts, and any fees associated with the loan? Is it easy to get a preliminary quote?
  • Reputation. What do other boat owners say about their experience getting a boat loan from the service you're considering? Has the Better Business Bureau given the company a strong rating?

TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best providers of boat loans available today. We're confident that this information will help you get the financing you need to purchase the boat of your dreams!

The Best Boat Loans Compare Boat Loans Compare Boat Loan Reviews What are the best Boat Loans Best Boat Loan Reviews

Boat Loan FAQ

Boat loans range from $1,000 to as much as $50,000,000. Your ability to qualify for a marine loan is heavily dependent on your financial situation, including your credit history, income and savings/investments, and the age and price of the watercraft you hope to buy.
On luxury watercraft, yes. If you're obtaining a boat loan of $100,000 or more, expect a down payment requirement of 10-20%, depending on the lender you choose. If you're buying a lower-priced boat, your funding will probably be structured as an unsecured personal loan and won't need a down payment.
What do you have in mind? If you're purchasing a million-dollar yacht, your boat loan will require a considerable amount of documentation, including a marine survey, prior to being approved. On the other hand, if you're taking out a loan to buy an inexpensive, used fishing boat, it'll likely be a personal loan that can be used for any purchase.
As long as you've entered your information accurately and you pass a credit check, your loan approval can happen almost instantaneously, though for higher loan amounts it may take a day or two. But, getting the funds for your loan won't necessarily be same-day, especially for more expensive boats that require a marine survey and other paperwork prior to funding.
On some boat loans under $100,000, you could be approved and have the money deposited to your account on the day you apply! On larger loans, expect the entire process to take at least a week or two, because your lender will likely request a marine survey that can take some time to arrange (similar to a home inspection when buying a house and applying for a mortgage).
It always helps. There are a few lenders who will approve you for a boat loan with poor to average credit, but you'll pay much higher interest rates. And, for luxury boats with price tags of $100,000 or more, you typically need a credit score of at least 700 to be eligible for a boat loan.
All boat loans will require a credit check, and further verification may require basic financial documents such as tax returns, bank statements, and proof of income. When buying a bigger boat - in price, size, or both! - your process is likely to include much more extensive paperwork, like a marine survey and a personal financial statement.
The most obvious fee is interest. Depending on the size of your loan, the lender you choose, and your credit history, you could pay as little as 3% or as much as 36% APR. Your boat loan may also come with a one-time origination fee, costs for a marine survey or other paperwork necessary before your loan is approved, and so forth. Be sure to get a fee breakdown before you sign on the dotted line with any provider of boat loans.
The Best Reviews of Boat Loans