BEST OF

Best Boat Loans in 2023: Finance Your Boat

Boat loans can be unsecured or secured by the boat. Compare financing options from online lenders, banks and credit unions.

By Annie Millerbernd and  Jackie Veling 

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Setting sail on your own boat is a priceless experience. But unless you’ve saved a lot of cash, you’ll need a boat loan to make your dreams a reality.

Here are lenders that offer boat loans, plus information on how to finance a boat with a personal loan — including unsecured and secured loan options. Learn where to find boat loans and factors to consider before applying.

Best Boat Loans in 2023: Finance Your Boat

Our pick for

Unsecured boat loans

SoFi
Get rate

on SoFi's website

SoFi

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
SoFi

Est. APR

7.99-23.43%

Loan amount

$5,000-$100,000

Min. credit score

None
Get rate

on SoFi's website


Min. credit score

None

Key facts

SoFi offers online personal loans with consumer-friendly features for good- and excellent-credit borrowers.

Pros

  • No fees.

  • Joint loan option.

  • Rate discount for autopay.

  • Hardship program for borrowers in need.

  • Mobile app to manage loan.

Cons

  • No option to choose initial payment date.

  • High minimum loan amount.

Qualifications

  • Must legally be an adult in your state.

  • Must be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident or visa holder.

  • Must be employed, have sufficient income or have an offer of employment to start within the next 90 days.

Available Term Lengths

2 to 7 years

Fees

  • Origination fee: None.

  • Late fee: None.

Disclaimer

Fixed rates from 7.99% APR to 23.43% APR reflect the 0.25% autopay discount and a 0.25% direct deposit discount. SoFi rate ranges are current as of 8/22/22 and are subject to change without notice. Not all rates and amounts available in all states. See Personal Loan eligibility details. Not all applicants qualify for the lowest rate. Lowest rates reserved for the most creditworthy borrowers. Your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including evaluation of your credit worthiness, income, and other factors. See APR examples and terms. The SoFi 0.25% AutoPay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account.

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Lightstream
Get rate

on LightStream's website

LightStream

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Lightstream

Est. APR

6.99-23.99%

Loan amount

$5,000-$100,000

Min. credit score

660
Get rate

on LightStream's website


Min. credit score

660

Key facts

LightStream targets strong-credit borrowers with no fees and low rates that vary based on loan purpose.

Pros

  • No fees.

  • Rate discount for autopay.

  • Long repayment terms on home improvement loans.

  • Rate Beat program and Experience Guarantee.

Cons

  • No option to pre-qualify on its website.

  • Requires several years of credit history.

  • No direct payment to creditors with debt consolidation loans.

Qualifications

  • Minimum credit score: 660.

  • Several years of credit history.

  • Multiple account types within your credit history, like credit cards, a car loan or other installment loan and a mortgage.

  • Strong payment history with few or no delinquencies.

  • Investments, retirement savings or other evidence of an ability to save money.

  • Enough income to pay existing debts and a new LightStream loan.

Available Term Lengths

2 to 7 years

Fees

  • Origination fee: None.

  • Late fee: None.

Disclaimer

Rates quoted are with AutoPay. Your loan terms are not guaranteed and may vary based on loan purpose, length of loan, loan amount, credit history and payment method (AutoPay or Invoice). AutoPay discount is only available when selected prior to loan funding. Rates without AutoPay are 0.50% points higher. To obtain a loan, you must complete an application on LightStream.com which may affect your credit score. You may be required to verify income, identity and other stated application information. Payment example: Monthly payments for a $25,000 loan at 4.98% APR with a term of 20 years would result in 240 monthly payments of $164.71. Some additional conditions and limitations apply. Advertised rates and terms are subject to change without notice. Truist Bank is an Equal Housing Lender. © 2022 Truist Financial Corporation. Truist, LightStream, and the LightStream logo are service marks of Truist Financial Corporation. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Lending services provided by Truist Bank.

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Achieve
Get rate

on Achieve's website

Achieve Personal Loans

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Achieve

Est. APR

7.99-29.99%

Loan amount

$5,000-$50,000

Min. credit score

620
Get rate

on Achieve's website


Min. credit score

620

Key facts

Achieve is a strong option for debt consolidation loans. Borrowers can have funds paid directly to creditors and benefit from multiple rate discounts.

Pros

  • Option to pre-qualify with a soft credit check.

  • Multiple rate discounts.

  • Direct payment to creditors with debt consolidation loans.

  • Joint loan options.

Cons

  • May charge origination fee.

  • Not available in all states.

  • No mobile app to manage loan.

Qualifications

  • Minimum credit score: 620; borrower average is 700.

  • Maximum debt-to-income ratio: 45% excluding mortgage.

  • Minimum income: None; borrowers' average household income is $115,000.

  • Minimum credit history: 3 years and 2 accounts.

  • Not actively delinquent on debt and no bankruptcy in the last 24 months.

  • Must be a US citizen, permanent resident or visa holder.

Available Term Lengths

2 to 5 years

Fees

  • Origination fee: 1.99% - 6.99%.

Disclaimer

All loans available through Achieve Personal Loans (NMLS ID #227977) are originated by Cross River Bank (a New Jersey state chartered commercial bank) or Pathward, N.A. (Equal Housing Lenders) and may not be available in all states. All loan and rate terms are subject to eligibility restrictions, application review, credit score, loan amount, loan term, lender approval, and credit usage and history. Minimum loan amounts vary due to state-specific legal restrictions – please call an Achieve Personal Loans consultant for further details. Loan amounts generally range from $5,000 to $50,000 including origination fees, and are offered based on loan purpose and underwriting conditions. Repayment periods range from 24 to 60 months. APRs range from 7.99% to 29.99% APR and include applicable origination fees. Example loan: four-year $20,000 loan with a rate of 15.49% and corresponding APR of 18.34%, would have an estimated monthly payment of $561.60 and a total cost of $26,956.80. To qualify for a 7.99% APR loan, a borrower will need excellent credit, a loan amount for $12,000.00 or less, and a term of 24 months. Loan origination fees vary from 1.99% to 6.99%. Adding a co-borrower with sufficient income; using at least 85% of the loan proceeds to directly pay off qualifying existing debt; or showing proof of sufficient retirement savings, could also help you qualify for lower rates. Average interest savings for personal loans range from 0% - 6% based on closed loans that qualified for one or more of our rate discounts in July 2022.  †Times noted are estimates and can vary for a loan request from Achieve Personal Loans (NMLS #227977). Same day approvals assume that a fully completed application with all required supporting documentation is provided early enough on a day that our offices are open. Achieve Personal Loans consultants are available Monday–Friday 6AM to 8PM MST and Saturday–Sunday 7AM to 4PM MST.

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Upgrade
Get rate

on Upgrade's website

Upgrade

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Upgrade

Est. APR

7.96-35.97%

Loan amount

$1,000-$50,000

Min. credit score

560
Get rate

on Upgrade's website


Min. credit score

560

Key facts

Upgrade offers personal loans plus credit-building tools; you'll need strong cash flow to qualify.

Pros

  • Secured and joint loans.

  • Multiple rate discounts.

  • Mobile app to manage loan payments.

  • Direct payment to creditors with debt consolidation loans.

  • Long repayment terms on home improvement loans.

Cons

  • Origination fee.

  • No option to choose your payment date.

Qualifications

  • Minimum credit score: 560.

  • Minimum number of accounts on credit history: 1 account.

  • Maximum debt-to-income ratio: 75%, including the loan you're applying for.

  • Minimum length of credit history: 2 years.

  • Minimum income requirement: None. Lender accepts income from alimony, retirement, child support, Social Security and other sources.

Available Term Lengths

2 to 7 years

Fees

  • Origination fee: 1.85% to 8.99%.

  • Late Fee: $10.

  • Failed payment fee: $10.

Disclaimer

Personal loans made through Upgrade feature Annual Percentage Rates (APRs) of 7.96%-35.97%. All personal loans have a 1.85% to 8.99% origination fee, which is deducted from the loan proceeds. Lowest rates require Autopay and paying off a portion of existing debt directly. Loans feature repayment terms of 24 to 84 months. For example, if you receive a $10,000 loan with a 36-month term and a 17.59% APR (which includes a 13.94% yearly interest rate and a 5% one-time origination fee), you would receive $9,500 in your account and would have a required monthly payment of $341.48. Over the life of the loan, your payments would total $12,293.46. The APR on your loan may be higher or lower and your loan offers may not have multiple term lengths available. Actual rate depends on credit score, credit usage history, loan term, and other factors. Late payments or subsequent charges and fees may increase the cost of your fixed rate loan. There is no fee or penalty for repaying a loan early. Personal loans issued by Upgrade's bank partners. Information on Upgrade's bank partners can be found at https://www.upgrade.com/bank-partners/.

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Upstart
Get rate

on Upstart's website

Upstart

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Upstart

Est. APR

6.50-35.99%

Loan amount

$1,000-$50,000

Min. credit score

None
Get rate

on Upstart's website


Min. credit score

None

Key facts

Upstart personal loans offer fast funding and may be an option for borrowers with low credit scores or thin credit histories. Upstart is a solid financing choice for large purchases.

Pros

  • Accepts borrowers new to credit.

  • Fast funding.

  • Option to change your payment date.

  • Option to pre-qualify with a soft credit check.

  • Offers free financial education

Cons

  • May charge origination fee.

  • No joint, co-signed or secured loans.

  • No mobile app to manage loan.

  • Only two repayment term options.

Qualifications

  • Minimum credit score: None.

  • Minimum annual income: $12,000; this lender accepts income from employment, alimony, retirement, child support, Social Security, rentals, trusts, pensions, disability and scholarships.

  • Must have a full-time job or be starting a full-time job in six months.

Available Term Lengths

3 to 5 years

Fees

  • Origination fee: 0% - 10%

  • Late fee: 5% of past due amount or $15, whichever is greater.

  • Returned check fee: $15.

Disclaimer

Your loan amount will be determined based on your credit, income, and certain other information provided in your loan application. Not all applicants will qualify for the full amount. Minimum loan amounts vary by state: GA ($3,100), HI ($2,100), MA ($7,000), NM ($5,100), OH ($6,000). The full range of available rates varies by state. The average 5-year loan offered across all lenders using the Upstart platform will have an APR of 25.05% and 60 monthly payments of $25.80 per $1,000 borrowed. For example, the total cost of a $10,000 loan would be $15,478 including a $804 origination fee. APR is calculated based on 5-year rates offered in June 2022. There is no down payment and no prepayment penalty. Your APR will be determined based on your credit, income, and certain other information provided in your loan application. Not all applicants will be approved. This offer is conditioned on final approval based on our consideration and verification of financial and non-financial information. Rate and loan amount are subject to change based upon information received in your full application. This offer may be accepted only by the person identified in this offer, who is old enough to legally enter into contract for the extension of credit, a US citizen or permanent resident, and a current resident of the US. Duplicate offers are void. Closing your loan is contingent on your meeting our eligibility requirements, our verification of your information, and your agreement to the terms and conditions on the Upstart.com website.

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Laurel Road Personal Loan
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on NerdWallet's secure website

Laurel Road Personal Loan

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Laurel Road Personal Loan

Est. APR

8.99-24.25%

Loan amount

$5,000-$45,000

Min. credit score

660
See my rates

on NerdWallet's secure website


Min. credit score

660

Key facts

Laurel Road offers medium to large online loans with an autopay discount and special terms for healthcare professionals.

Pros

  • Co-sign and joint loan options.

  • No origination fee.

  • Rate discount for autopay.

  • Direct payment to creditors with debt consolidation loans.

Cons

  • Late fee.

  • High minimum loan amount.

Qualifications

  • Minimum credit score: 660.

  • Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.

Available Term Lengths

3 to 5 years

Fees

  • No origination.

  • Late fee: 5% of payment or $28 after 15 days.

  • Insufficient fund fee: $20.

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RocketLoans
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on NerdWallet's secure website

Rocket Loans

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
RocketLoans

Est. APR

7.73-29.99%

Loan amount

$2,000-$45,000

Min. credit score

640
See my rates

on NerdWallet's secure website


Min. credit score

640

Key facts

Rocket Loans offers online personal loans to borrowers with fair credit and over two years of credit history.

Pros

  • Option to pre-qualify with a soft credit check.

  • Rate discount for autopay.

  • Fast funding.

  • Wide range of loan amounts.

Cons

  • Origination fee.

  • No direct payment to creditors with debt consolidation loans.

  • No option to choose initial payment date.

  • Only two repayment term options.

  • No co-sign or joint loan option.

Qualifications

  • Minimum credit score: 640; borrower average is 750.

  • Minimum credit history: Over two years.

  • Minimum annual income: $24,000; borrower average is $110,000.

  • Maximum debt-to-income ratio: 70%; borrower average is 18%.

  • No bankruptcies in the last two years.

Available Term Lengths

3 to 5 years

Fees

  • Origination fee: 1% to 6%.

  • Late fee: $15 after 10-day grace period.

  • Unsuccessful payment fee: $15.

Disclaimer

All personal loans are made by Cross River Bank, a New Jersey state chartered commercial bank, Member FDIC, Equal Housing Lender. All loans are unsecured, fully amortizing personal loans. Eligibility for a loan is not guaranteed. Please refer to our Disclosures and Licenses page for state required disclosures, licenses, and lending restrictions. Borrower must be a U.S. citizen or permanent U.S. resident alien at least 18 years of age (in Nebraska and Alabama a borrower must be at least 19 years of age). All loan applications are subject to credit review and approval. Offered loan terms depend upon your credit profile, requested amount, requested loan term, credit usage, credit history and other factors. Not all borrowers receive the lowest interest rate. To qualify for the lowest rate, you must have excellent credit, meet certain conditions, and select autopay. Rates and Terms are subject to change at any time without notice. Please refer to RocketLoans.com and our Terms of Use for additional terms and conditions.

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How do boat loans work?

A boat loan is an installment loan with fixed monthly payments typically over two to 20 years. You can get a boat loan from a bank, credit union or online lender.

Interest rates and loan terms vary based on the lender, the size of the loan, your credit score and income, and whether the loan is secured by the boat or unsecured.

Applying for an unsecured boat loan is typically fast, and some loans can be funded the same or next day after you’re approved. Lenders usually deposit the funds into your bank account, from which you can withdraw the money to purchase a boat.

Secured boat loans vs. unsecured boat loans

Boat loans can be secured by the boat or unsecured and backed by your signature. Here are basic differences.

Secured boat loans

Secured boat loans use the purchased boat as collateral. They may have higher loan amounts, longer repayment terms and lower rates than unsecured loans. The risk is that you can lose your boat if you default.

With a secured boat loan, you may also need to make a down payment, which means you’ll need cash upfront.

Secured loans work best for borrowers who don’t qualify for an unsecured loan, want a higher loan amount and are comfortable with the risk associated with secured loans.

Unsecured boat loans

An unsecured boat loan doesn’t use the boat or anything tangible as collateral. Without that backing, rates on unsecured loans may be higher and terms shorter.

Approval for an unsecured boat loan is based on factors like your credit score, income and existing debt.

If you default on an unsecured loan, you may not lose the boat, but you’ll still face consequences, including a damaged credit score and wage garnishment if the lender takes you to court.

Pros and cons of secured and unsecured boat loans

Pros

Cons

Secured boat loans

  • May carry lower interest rates and longer terms.

  • If you have a low credit score, you may have an easier time qualifying.

  • You may need to have cash on hand for a down payment.

  • If you fail to repay the loan, the lender can seize your boat.

Unsecured boat loans

  • No collateral is required, so you won’t risk losing your boat.

  • Interest rates may be higher and terms shorter.

  • You’ll need a strong credit score and solid finances to get the best offer.

  • If you fail to repay the loan, the lender can take you to court.

How long are boat loans?

Repayment periods for boat loans vary depending on the type of loan you choose.

Unsecured personal loans typically have shorter repayment periods — two to seven years. If you choose a secured boat loan, your term can be as long as 20 years.

Keep in mind the term you choose affects the interest you pay. Shorter terms have higher monthly payments but carry less interest.

For example, a four-year, $30,000 boat loan with an annual percentage rate of 15% will have monthly payments of $835 and cost $10,076 in interest. The same loan with an eight-year repayment term will have monthly payments of $538 and cost $21,683 in interest.

Use NerdWallet’s boat loan calculator to calculate your boat payments.

What is the average interest rate on a boat loan?

Boat loan interest rates vary by lender. An unsecured boat loan will have an annual percentage rate ranging from 6% to 36%. See the table below for average unsecured interest rates based on your credit bracket.

How's your credit?

Score range

Estimated APR

Excellent

720-850.

10.6%.

Good

690-719.

15.7%.

Fair

630-689.

19.4%.

Bad

300-629.

25.2%.

Source: Average rates are based on aggregate, anonymized offer data from users who pre-qualified in NerdWallet’s lender marketplace from March 1, 2022, to Aug. 31, 2022. Rates are estimates only and not specific to any lender. The lowest credit scores — usually below a 500 credit score — are unlikely to qualify. Information in this table applies only to lenders with APRs below 36%.

Secured loans may have lower APRs, with many lenders offering single-digit rates. If you're not sure what credit bracket you fall into, check your credit score for free on NerdWallet.

Where to get a boat loan

In addition to getting a boat loan from an online lender, you can also get a secured boat loan from a bank, credit union or marine lending specialist. Here are some examples.

Secured boat loans from banks

You’re more likely to find secured loans from banks. Banks may offer perks to existing customers, like discounts and favorable loan terms. If your bank offers boat loans, it’s a good place to start.

Bank of the West

Bank of the West offers boat loans in all 50 states, but not in Washington, D.C. You can submit your application online. You'll then be assigned a sales representative who will work with you to close the loan.

Loan amount: $10,000 to $5 million.

Rates: 4.24% to 10.49%.

Terms: 4 to 20 years.

U.S. Bank

U.S. Bank’s boat loans are available in the 25 states where the bank has branches. You may have to visit a branch to close a boat loan, but the bank says it can make same-day preapproval decisions.

Loan amounts: $25,000 to $150,000.

Rates: Starting at 5.24%.

Terms: 1 to 20 years.

USAA

USAA works primarily with military members and their families. Though you can apply online, you must call USAA to complete your application.

Loan amounts: $5,000 to $500,000.

Rates: Starting at 6.20%.

Terms: 1 to 15 years.

Truist

Truist Bank has locations primarily along the East Coast, and existing account holders can apply by phone. Those without accounts will need to apply in person.

Loan amounts: Starting at $3,500.

Rates: 6.30% to 8.52%.

Terms: Up to 20-years.

Secured boat loans from credit unions

Credit unions can offer low-rate secured boat loans to their members. These not-for-profit lenders may look past a low credit score or rocky credit history on a loan application and consider a borrower’s whole financial picture, including the relationship with the credit union.

Your local credit union is a good first stop, though national credit unions also offer boat loans. Navy Federal and First Tech, for example, both offer boat loans with 15-year repayment terms with rates starting below 10%.

Loans from marine lending specialists

Marine lending specialists are financial service companies that act as brokers to find you a boat loan. They secure funding through outside sources such as banks.

Boat loans from marine lenders may have similar rates and repayment terms to personal loans. One advantage might be the ability to work with a specialist who understands the boating business, according to the National Marine Lenders Association.

These loans must be secured by the boat and require down payments from 10% to 20% of the purchase price.

How to get a boat loan

To get boat financing directly from a lender, you’ll need to apply for a loan. Most loan applications are online and require you to submit personal information like your name, address, contact information and Social Security number. You may also need to submit proof of identity, employment and income.

If you’re applying for a secured loan, you’ll want to have information about the boat on hand, including the builder or manufacturer, model, model year and purchase price.

Once you submit your application, you’ll wait for an approval decision. If you’re approved, you may need to visit the bank or credit union to close the loan and receive funds. Unsecured personal loans, especially from an online lender, can typically be closed online and funded the same or next business day.

Can I get a boat loan with bad credit?

Borrowers with bad credit may still qualify for a boat loan. Some online lenders offer unsecured personal loans specifically to borrowers with bad credit.

Secured loans from a bank or credit union may also be a smart option for borrowers with bad credit since approval decisions rely less on their credit.

Alternatives to boat loans

Financial experts don't recommend personal loans for discretionary purposes, particularly if you already carry credit card or other debt. If you can’t afford to buy a boat today, or you’re not quite ready to make the commitment, here are some alternatives.

Save up for the purchase. Consider holding off and starting a savings plan toward buying a boat. You may be able to negotiate a cheaper price by paying with cash, and you’ll avoid paying interest on a loan.

Join a boat club. For a one-time fee and ongoing monthly or annual dues, boat clubs provide access to a fleet of boats for their members and guests.

Consider peer-to-peer rentals. Similar to renting a house on Airbnb, you can temporarily rent a boat through a peer-to-peer rental marketplace, such as Boatsetter or GetMyBoat.

Last updated on April 19, 2022

To recap our selections...

NerdWallet's Best Boat Loans in 2023: Finance Your Boat

Frequently asked questions