If we were playing word association games and someone said the word “boat” it’s pretty unlikely that the next person would say “affordable.” Boat ownership has this idea around it of being unrealistically expensive. And as someone who’s spent nearly a decade helping central Minnesotans finance their boat purchases, I’ve seen firsthand how affordable boat ownership can be.
Boat loans can fit just about anyone’s lifestyle. Here’s what you need to know.
Financing a Boat vs. Auto Financing
A lot of first-time boat buyers come in with the idea that boat financing is going to be just like auto financing. And right off the bat, it’s important to clarify that idea. Comparing boat financing to auto financing is like apples to oranges. Sure, they’re both fruits, but you’re going to get an entirely different experience depending on which one you go with.
Perhaps the biggest difference I help customers wrap their heads around is that auto financing is measured in months, and boat financing is measured in years. For example, a 10- or 15-year finance agreement is perfectly normal in the marine industry. That means buyers can get a much lower monthly payment than they might think.
The next thing to realize is that the rate of depreciation on a boat is much slower than it is with vehicles. In other words, boats hold onto their value much longer than an automobile does. When you’re looking at used boats, there isn’t a whole lot of difference between 10-, 12-, or 15-year-old models.
And in line with that, interest rates for boat financing aren’t usually different whether you’re looking at 8, 10, 12, or 15 years. That means there are many boat financing options for buyers who are looking at a lower monthly payment.
New Boater Financing Tips
If you’re a hopeful first-time boat owner who’s been told that boat ownership is financially unrealistic, I advise you to take another look at the realities of the situation – especially if you’ve been comparing a boat payment to an automobile payment. To help you clarify things, try out our payment calculator. You just put in a few variables, and it figures out a payment based on your info. Feel free to tweak your numbers and play around with it.