The Average Length of Boat Loans: What to Expect When Financing Your Dream Boat

Boat loan terms can be as short as five years, but, typically, they are between 10 to 20 years. The exact length of a boat loan depends on a number of factors including the loan amount, the age of the boat, and the type of boat. Learn more about how to determine the right boat loan term for you.

So you’ve found the perfect boat to fulfill your dreams of spending weekends on the open water. Now comes the next big step – figuring out how you’ll pay for it.

When it comes to financing a boat one of the most common questions is what is the average length of a boat loan? The answer can depend on several factors, which we’ll explore in this article.

Boat Loan Terms Typically Range from 10-20 Years

On average, boat loans can range anywhere from 10 to 20 years in length. According to Discover Boating, lenders historically only offered shorter 5-10 year loans for boats. However, as boat manufacturing quality has improved over the years, lenders are now more willing to offer longer 15, 20 year loans.

The most common boat loan lengths fall between 10-15 years. But loans at the longer end, like 20 years, are becoming more widely available – especially for larger loan amounts.

Key Factors That Determine Your Boat Loan Length

While 10-20 years is the average range your specific boat loan length will depend on these key factors

  • Loan amount – The larger the loan, the longer the term lenders will approve. For example, you’ll have more flexibility to finance a $50k boat over 15-20 years versus a $15k boat.

  • New vs used boat – Expect longer terms for brand new boats, since they hold value better over time. Used boats closer to 10 years may have tighter limits.

  • Your down payment – The lower your down payment, the shorter your lender may cap the loan length. A 20-30% down payment gives more flexibility for longer terms.

  • Your credit score – Borrowers with excellent credit (scores above 700) typically qualify for the full 10-20 year loan terms. Those will poorer credit may be restricted to shorter lengths.

  • Interest rates – Going with a longer term often means a slightly higher interest rate. Make sure it aligns with your budget.

  • Boat type – Unique boats like wood hulls or houseboats may have different rules than mainstream fiberglass boats.

As you can see, the average boat loan length gives you an idea of what to expect. But your specific situation will determine where your loan ultimately lands within that 10-20 year range.

Weighing the Pros and Cons of Shorter vs. Longer Boat Loans

Determining what boat loan term makes sense for you depends on weighing the key pros and cons:

Shorter boat loan terms:

  • Pro: Lower interest rates, saving you money over the life of the loan
  • Pro: Faster build up of equity by paying down the principal more quickly
  • Con: Higher monthly payments, less affordable on a monthly budget

Longer boat loan terms:

  • Pro: Lower monthly payments, increasing affordability
  • Pro: Allows you to purchase a more expensive boat
  • Con: Higher interest rates over the life of the loan
  • Con: Slower equity build up; more interest paid overall

As you evaluate your budget and lifestyle, you’ll get a sense of what term length – and corresponding monthly payment – you’ll be comfortable with. Use an online boat loan calculator to play with different loan amount, interest rates, and terms to find the right balance.

Boat Loan Pre-Approvals: Lock in Your Rate and Term Length

Once you get a general idea of the loan details you’d like, it’s a good idea to get pre-approved by a lender. Pre-approval locks in an interest rate and loan terms, for say 60-90 days. That way, once you find the perfect boat, you can seamlessly move forward with quick financing.

Online lenders like LendingTree allow you to easily compare multiple boat loan offers side-by-side to find the best rate and term for your needs.

Setting a Budget Beforehand Ensures You Get the Right Boat Loan

Whether you end up with a 10 year loan or a 20 year loan, the most important step is determining your overall budget beforehand. This includes:

  • How much you can afford in monthly payments
  • Your ideal down payment amount
  • Whether you’ll need to trade in your existing boat to make the numbers work

Having a budgetdialed in upfront allows you to search for boats that align with an affordable monthly payment – rather than falling in love with a boat and trying to squeeze it into a payment later.

By educating yourself on average boat loan lengths, and tailoring your financing to your specific budget and goals, you’ll be sailing away in your dream boat before you know it. Here’s to many weekends ahead enjoying the wind in your hair!

Dealer Financing

Just as car dealers offer financing when you purchase a vehicle, boat dealers can also offer financing. However, dealer financing could have higher interest rates or include additional fees compared to other lenders like your bank or credit union.

Personal Loans

If you have good credit, you may qualify for an unsecured personal loan to purchase a boat. Personal loans are approved based on your credit score and financial information like your income. But they are not backed by collateral. Interest rates on personal loans tend to be higher than on secured boat loans, but you can use personal loans for a range of purposes.

With a personal loan, you receive a lump sum of money to use toward your expenses. Then, you repay that loan over a set amount of time. Terms of personal loans generally range for two to five years. Many lenders offer a maximum of $30,000 to $50,000, but some lenders may provide as much as $100,000.

Boat Loans 101: Should You Finance A Boat?


What is the average term for a boat loan?

Boat loan terms can be as short as a few years, but the average boat loan term is typically 10 to 20 years. Financing can vary from one lender to the next, but generally, here’s what to expect when you finance a boat: APR range: Prime loan rates may start around 6% to 7% APR for borrowers with excellent credit.

Can you get a 30 year loan on a boat?

A 20-year term is usually the maximum term for a boat loan, however, sometimes a lender will consider a 25-year loan term. The next most common boat loan terms are 15 and 10 years.

What is a typical boat loan interest rate?

Best for…
Starting APR
Loan amounts
Low APRs
$10,000 – $9,900,000
No fees
6.99% (with autopay)
$5,000 to $100,000
Same-day credit approval
$10,000 – $4,000,000
Large boat loans
Up to $25,000,000

Why are boat loans longer?

Many lenders will finance a boat for up to 15 years. A long term is often necessary because many new boats cost significantly more than cars. This helps to keep your monthly payments manageable. There is an important negative to consider with a long loan term.

How long does a boat loan last?

Today, many lenders will finance a boat for 20 years. Obviously, that can bring down your monthly payments quite a bit; you can use our Boat Loan Calculator to figure out exactly how the monthly payments would differ between a 10-year term and a 20-year boat loan.

How much does a boat loan cost?

Loan amounts can also vary widely, from $5,000 for a new jon boat to $5 million for a yacht. Whether you should take on a long repayment will depend on several factors, including what you can afford to pay each month. In general, shorter boat loan terms come with lower interest rates but higher monthly payments. On this page

What are the terms of a boat loan?

Boat loans include many of the same terms you’ll find with other loans. APR range: For boat loans, interest rates typically start at between 6% and 7%, but depend on the lender, how much the down payment is, and the borrower’s credit score and history. Amount range: Boat loans can vary greatly, depending on the type and age of the boat.

Should you take on a long loan for a boat?

For one, some boat loans are more like mortgages than auto loans, since the payments can stretch out as long as 20 years. Loan amounts can also vary widely, from $5,000 for a new jon boat to $5 million for a yacht. Whether you should take on a long repayment will depend on several factors, including what you can afford to pay each month.

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