If you're looking to purchase a boat and you're in need of finance, there are a range of boat loans available for you to consider. The marine financing options can help you purchase a new or used boat through a commercial or private sale. Loans are also available for business purchases. Find out what you need to know in this guide.
How does a boat loan work?
A boat loan can be a secured personal loan that is designed to specifically finance a boat, a more general secured loan that allows boats to be used as a guarantee, or an unsecured personal loan. If you're looking for a competitive rate you may want to consider using the boat as security for the loan.
Boats are expensive so you will find these loans offer larger loan amounts and may give you long repayment terms. Depending on the loan, there may be a balloon payment at the end of the loan term.
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How you can compare boat loans
Finding the right financing for your boat is important. When you're comparing your options, keep the following questions in mind:
What is the interest rate? The interest rate for this type of loan varies depending on what provider you go with, but rates for secured loans are generally low. Make sure you select a loan with a competitive interest rate that will help you save money in the long run.
Are there fixed repayments? Some boat loans offer fixed repayments. It's important to think about whether you want fixed repayments or if you prefer a variable loan to take advantage of market fluctuations.
What is the loan limit? The limit of your boat loan also varies with providers. Have in mind a rough estimate of how much money you need to borrow and find a boat loan that meets these needs. It's important you don't borrow more money than you need and are able to make repayments so you don't default.
How long will your loan term be? The length of your loan term tends to be longer with a boat loan, but some may extend only up to seven years. It's still important to select a loan that gives you enough time to pay off your debt. Do your calculations and figure out how long it will take you to pay off the amount you want to borrow.
Is the loan secured or unsecured.? Boat loans can be secured or unsecured, so you need to consider which one is the better option for you so you can select a loan that matches up with what you want.
How much does a boat cost?
It's important to understand the cost of a boat before you apply for financing.
The boat. The actual cost of a boat varies greatly depending on which type you select. You could expect to pay anything from $20,000 to $200,000.
Boat equipment. Consider the costs of decking out your boat. Electronics, water toys, accessories and safety equipment could set you back $1,500 or more.
Operating costs. This cost will also vary depending on the type of boat you choose and also how you use it.
Boat maintenance. You will be stuck with a higher maintenance cost the older your boat is and the less you take care of it yourself. By, for instance, washing the hull with fresh water after taking your boat out.
Storage. Mooring fees are calculated by the length of your boat and if you store it in a high rate area. For example, a 10-metre long boat in a medium rate area in Sydney (Pittwater and outside of Sydney Harbour) will cost $768 per year.
Boat insurance. Depending on the type of boat you have and where you store it, insurance will cost you $100 a year or more.
What types of boats can you finance?
Bass boats. A small boat that's designed to fish bass or other panfish. It usually comes with features such as swivel chairs, storage bins for fishing equipment and a live well to store any fish that you might catch.
Bowriders. Called so because of their roomy bow area, this is a boat ideal for skis and wakeboards.
Cabin cruisers. Similar to a bowrider except for its top cabin, these boats offer creature comforts such as water heaters, power generators and even heaters and air conditioners.
Catamarans. Known as "cats", these boats can be small vessels designed for sailing and fishing up to naval navel ships. These boats come with two hulls.
Centre consoles. These boats are made for fishing adventures. You'll usually find a bait well as standard as well as fish lockers and a cabin.
Cuddy cabins. Cuddy refers to a small room or cupboard on this boat, which is used primarily for fishing, watersports and other family boating activities.
Dinghies. These small boats can be towed by larger boats into shallow waters or as the main boat for fishing in calm water.
Gameboats. Also built for shipping, this is a larger boat that can come equipped with cooking galleys and sleeping berths to make the boat comfortable for longer trips.
Houseboats. This is a type of vessel that's used primarily as a home, whether for vacationers or permanent dwellers. Many of these are not motorised because they're kept moored at a specific location,
Motor yachts. You'll find various amenities on this boat, which is designed for ocean cruising. Sleeping berths, air conditioning, plumbing and galleys are usually standard.
Runabouts. You won't usually find a cabin on a runabout, which is a smaller boat designed for tow sports or fishing.
Sailboats. "Sailboat" can refer to various types of sailing craft, but the common feature is their reliance on the wind for movement.
Ski and wakeboard boats. If you're looking for a boat for watersports and tow sports, this is the type of vessel for you. The propulsion on these small boats allows for waterskiing jumps and tricks possible.
Trawlers. You can use a trawler for commercial fishing or recreation, but you'll see a distinction between the two. Fishing trawlers will always have a displacement hull but you'll only find a semi-displacement hull on trawlers designed for recreation.
Walkarounds. Called such because you can walk the full way around to anywhere on the boat, these medium-sized boats come with stowaway seating and a central cabin.
What are the benefits and drawbacks of financing a boat purchase?
Specialised loans. While some loans are standard secured personal loans that allow boats as security, there are other options available that are specially designed to finance a boat.
You could get fast loan approval. Boat loans usually have a quick turnaround time once you complete the online application. The application process is relatively easy and you can have the finances for your boat in no time. Some providers even offer automatic approvals for loans under a certain limit so you can get approved even quicker.
Access to competitive interest rates. Some boat loans have competitive interest rates available which tend to be lower than other credit options. If you know that you specifically need a loan for a boat, a boat loan is a great way to potentially save money.
Large loan amounts are required. Boats are expensive and that translates to a larger loan amount. Make sure you choose a term that keeps your repayments manageable.
Additional costs cannot be factored into secured boat loans. You need to consider ongoing boat maintenance, boat insurance, marine equipment and storage fees as well as the cost of the boat. These costs usually cannot be added to a secured loan.
Is there anything to avoid with boat loans?
Unlicensed credit providers. Signing up for a loan with an unlicensed provider is a dangerous mistake. The provider should be registered with ASIC and you can check each lender's registration on the ASIC website.
Getting into a debt spiral. Getting buried in debt can be an easy thing to do once you start borrowing money, especially if you are borrowing from a range of providers. Make sure you know your limits and seek help if you are having trouble with your debt or with making your repayments.
How to apply for boat loans
You can apply for boat loans by comparing with finder.com.au. All you have to do is check out the comparison table on this page and look at your options. Once you have selected an option that is right for you, click "Go to Site" to start your application.
To apply for a boat loan you will most likely have to be 18 years or older. You may also need a good credit rating and be able to provide details about your current financial position, using bank statements or employment details, to get approved. The application is generally quick and easy to complete.
Matt Corke is the head of publishing in Australia for Finder. He previously worked as the publisher for credit cards, home loans, personal loans and credit scores. Matt built his first website in 1999 and has been building computers since he was in his early teens. In that time he has survived the dot-com crash and countless Google algorithm updates.
You'll receive a fixed rate between 10.69% p.a. and 18.69% p.a. ( 11.58% p.a. to 19.53% p.a. comparison rate) based on your risk profile An unsecured loan up to $55,000 you can use for a range of purposes and pay off over up to 7 years. Note: Majority of customers will get the headline rate of 12.69% p.a. (13.56% p.a. comparison rate) or less. See Comparison rate warning in (i) above.
You'll receive a fixed rate between 8.95% p.a. and 16.95% p.a. based on your risk profile A loan from $5,000 to use for a range of purposes. Make additional repayments or pay off the loan early, penalty-free.
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