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4 Ways to Finance a Boat

Interested in buying a boat? Before you buy, make sure you know your options when it comes to financing.

4 Ways to Finance a Boat

If you haven’t bought a boat recently and are looking to make a purchase, you might be surprised to discover that there are many financing options available in the current marketplace. In fact, it’s easier than ever to finance a boat. You just need to decide which financing route is best for you.

To help you decide, here are four of the most popular options:

  • Financing through the dealer.
  • Working with a marine lending specialist.
  • Getting a bank loan.
  • Utilizing a different form of loan and applying it to the boat purchase.

1. Financing a Boat Through the Dealer

Most new boat buyers trust their dealer to set up the financing, and it’s no wonder why. Dealers arrange boat financing on a daily basis. They know the best terms available at any given time, and it’s in their own interest to make sure the process goes without a hitch and serves you well. In fact, financing a boat purchase through a dealer isn’t unlike getting financing at the dealership when you buy a car. There is, however, one very big difference: The pool of boat buyers is far smaller than that of car buyers. Boat dealers depend on making their customers happy over the long term and keeping their repeat business through the years. As a result, most reputable dealers will do their best to make sure the process goes smoothly and you end up happy.

2. Working with a Marine Lending Specialist

Though your boat dealer usually provides the best lending options, it’s not a bad idea to research lenders who specialize in boat and yacht loans to examine more options. Just be aware that your dealer is probably already checking with lenders like these to see what terms they’re offering.

3. Borrowing from the Bank

Many banks will provide boat financing, and some buyers prefer their local bank because they have an established relationship with the staff and are accustomed to working with that business. However, the process is rarely as streamlined as it is with a lender that specializes in boat loans.

4. Utilizing Other Loan Options

In some cases, utilizing a loan not specifically designed for boat financing could be advantageous. Taking out a second mortgage on your home, for example, might provide you with all the finances you need to purchase the boat outright, and that route can have some tax benefits. You might also be able to secure a lower interest rate by utilizing a line of credit. And some people even use a credit card to finance their boat purchase as a matter of convenience, or to act as a short-term “bridge” loan while other deals are in the works. Of course, all these options carry the potential for substantial pitfalls. Putting your home on the line, risking variable interest rates, navigating different term limitations or paying additional fees are just a few of the issues that can arise. So while these alternate forms of financing are options, they’re generally avoided. You should carefully examine all the pros and cons before signing any dotted lines.

As you consider your boat financing options, also remember that every borrower and every deal is different. Your credit rating, debt-to-income ratio, net worth, job history and related factors can all come into play, which is why we often circle back to letting the dealer arrange the financing. In the long run, this is almost always the fastest, easiest way to finance your purchase — and get you out on the water where you belong.

To find a Mercury Marine® authorized dealer near you, please click HERE.

For more information on financing a boat, be sure to review “Five Things to Know When Buying a Boat and Financing It.”

And if you think you might want to repower your boat rather than buying a new one, see “Financing for Boat Repowers.”

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