Feeling the wind in your hair and sun on your face while you enjoy being behind the wheel of your very own boat is an experience like no other. If you are new to boating or are about to purchase your very own watercraft, it’s time to familiarize yourself with marine financing before you set sail into some uncharted waters. Here at NBOA, the National Boat Owners Association, our goal is to ensure our clients receive premier quality boat financing. We are also here to prepare you with all the information needed to make the best decision when it comes to your marine loans and boat financing options.

Boat Loan Pre-Approval

The benefits of getting a pre-approved boat loan are comparable to that of a pre-approved car loan. Once you have a prequalified boat loan, you will be able to comfortably shop around for the best boat, yacht, or other watercraft knowing what you can and cannot afford. You will also be able to create a budget for yourself, considering what it may cost you in fuel/gas, boating license, boat-slip or storage, trailer, maintenance and repairs, boat insurance, and gear, such as life jackets and ACR electronics. You can get boat financing pre-approval through NBOA’s instant credit decision approval by visiting

Pre-Approval Boat Loan Process

In order to secure pre-approval for a boat loan, you will need to have a few things at the ready while filling out the forms online. This may include proof of identity, paystubs or current tax forms, current debt to income ratio, like student loans or mortgages, and other financial assets like stocks, investments, and savings accounts. Boat loan credit requirements fall between a credit score of 680 and above. Before applying for a pre-approved boat loan, you can raise your credit score by requesting a copy of your score to ensure there are no discrepancies, paying off existing debt, or applying for a secured credit card.

If you are an experienced boat buyer, you are sure to have a leg up when it comes to your boat financing rates. This is due to the fact that you already know how to handle watercraft while on the water as well as the ins and outs of owning a boat or yacht. Marine finance companies and other lenders can assume you are well versed in the commitment, financial responsibilities, and ongoing costs of being a boat owner.

Differences Between New and Old Boat Loans

When you apply for a boat loan, securing a “new boat loan” versus a “used boat loan” will come with a few differences. On one hand, new boat financing rates may take up to one week to secure. While over 85% of boats sold in the U.S. are considered to be pre-owned, the process of financing a used boat requires a lot more time and is commonly more expensive. This is because used boats need to be surveyed and appraised and the title will need to be examined. In addition, fair market values are harder to find on pre-owned, unique, and older boats, although financing used boats up to 30 years old is possible. As a general rule-of-thumb to remember, financing a boat all depends on each unique watercraft in addition to a wide variety of other personal factors, such as credit score, debt to income ratio, financial assets, etc.

Financing Different Types of Boats

The price of a boat is dependent upon multiple factors, including location and season of purchase, type and size of the boat, and any bells and whistles or upgraded features the watercraft comes with. If you find yourself purchasing a boat in the “off-season” or colder months, you may notice the prices tend to be lower than when purchasing a boat in the midst of summer. As in real estate, the pricing of boats is also about location, location, location. Purchasing a boat in the northern region compared to a hot/popular southern beach may be less expensive as well.

The pricing and rates of boats have dramatically increased since the spring of 2020. As more and more families traded in their vacation plans and summer camps for a family boat, the supply and demand has shifted in favor of sellers. From sailboats to yachts and ski boats to houseboats, depending on the type of watercraft that best fits your needs, your financing options can greatly vary.

The difference between purchasing a yacht and a standard boat boils down to square footage and upgrades. While there is no concrete definition, some will say a watercraft that measures approximately 38 feet or below is considered a standard boat, while any boat measuring about 39 feet or above is categorized as a yacht. Of course, the bigger the boat you choose, the bigger your monthly budget will need to be. While there are numerous different kinds of boats at different prices, if your watercraft has upgraded features, such as new upholstery, state-of-the-art stereo systems and smart devices, autopilot systems, LED lighting, Wi-Fi, built-in refrigerators, etc., these things will be reflected in the price of the boat as well.

Reasonable Boat Rates

According to, the average loan for a new boat is around $200,000. This figure also reflects the fact that more and more boats are getting larger, coming equipped with new features and upgrades, and prices have generally increased due to supply and demand. If you’re looking for a boat that comes with additional bells and whistles, make sure to have extra room in your budget to keep up with monthly financing.

For a more specific breakdown of reasonable rates and pricing on various boats, we have you covered. Non-motorboats, such as kayaks and canoes range from $200 to $1,500. While your loan for a sailboat may need to cover $12,000 and up, jet skis and other personal watercraft boats can cost between $5,000 to $18,000. Speed boats, like wake boats, ski boats, and other standard sized motorboats are on average beginning at $75,000 and can reach upwards of $200,000. Yachts and houseboats can start at $100,000 or $300,000 depending on the model.

Benefits of Financing with NBOA

Competitive Rates and Terms

NBOA financing can start at $10,000 and rise past $2,000,000 with fixed-rate loans as low as 4.5% for those with qualifying credit scores. Our marine finance programs offer a variety of longer-term options to choose from in addition to no payments for the first 45 days of your loan. You can also make sure you never miss a payment and set up a convenient automatic payment plan. This allows you to easily make your monthly payment online or instantly send a check each month.

Getting pre-approved for your loan with NBOA’s instant credit decision application has never been easier. The process is simple and fast, and reflects our unmatched, high level of customer service. Upon approval, you may have the ability to take advantage of our exclusive equity “out” program with up to $50,000 cash-out.


Many of our customers and members of NBOA love that we are a one-stop-shop for marine financing, boating insurance, towing programs, and safety equipment. Our store will equip you with everything from life jackets to ACR electronics. We carry top of the line brands like, Mustang, Stearns, and Rave, with products to keep you and your friends and family safe on the water.

NBOA Member Benefits

Members of NBOA receive great benefits such as exclusive financing and refinancing options with no application fees. Our emergency towing and dispatch services with quick response times, are available for our members 24 hours a day, seven days a week. As a member, you’ll also receive coverage while on the road, including $150 towing expense coverage when traveling with your boat and/or trailer.

In addition to safety services, NBOA membership comes with travel perks such as discounts on select car rental services, marine industry discounts ranging from manufacturers and retailers to marinas, and exclusive savings from NBOA’s online store, including state-of-the-art equipment and safety technology. Our member’s credit card has no annual fees and the ability to earn travel points as well as cashback. All of our members stay up to date with the latest weather and storm tracking, safety tips, and other helpful information to keep you prepared while you’re enjoying the water. Simply opt into our convenient email alerts.

Premier NBOA Insurance Coverage

Protect your purchase as well as yourself and others with NBOA’s boat insurance. Liability coverage begins at $100,000 and our Dealer Services program ensures our quote process is streamlined and offers the greatest coverage at the best rates. Our premier coverage gives you a wide range of deductibles to choose from, based on your needs, and replacement policies with select programs. With NBOA insurance, you can take advantage of customary towing, protection from unexpected spills and cleanup costs, personal property coverage for your gear, and navigational area coverage.

Quality is Paramount

At NBOA, quality is our top priority! When it comes to insurance, we only work with A-rated carriers. Our team makes sure each customer and member receives the same service, attention, and care we give to our own family members, no matter what their needs are.

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