Boat Loans for Bad Credit in 2024

Checking rates won't affect your credit

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How Does LendingTree Get Paid?

LendingTree is compensated by companies on this site and this compensation may impact how and where offers appear on this site (such as the order). LendingTree does not include all lenders, savings products, or loan options available in the marketplace.
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Best boat loans for bad credit

Written by Amanda Push | Edited by Katie Lowery | Reviewed July 20, 2023
How Does LendingTree Get Paid?
LendingTree is compensated by companies on this site and this compensation may impact how and where offers appear on this site (such as the order). LendingTree does not include all lenders, savings products, or loan options available in the marketplace.

How Does LendingTree Get Paid?

LendingTree is compensated by companies on this site and this compensation may impact how and where offers appear on this site (such as the order). LendingTree does not include all lenders, savings products, or loan options available in the marketplace.
LenderStarting APRLoan termsLoan amountsMinimum credit score
iNet logo7.49%Up to 240 months$5,000 to $2,000,000550See Offers
Southeast Financial logo6.99%Up to 240 months$10,000 to $4,000,000575See Offers
8.49%24 to 84 months$1,000 to $50,000580See Offers
One Main Financial logo18.00%24 to 60 months$1,500 to $20,000Not specifiedSee Offers

Read more about how we chose the best bad credit boat loans.

Boat lenders at a glance

iNet logo

Starting APR7.49%
TermsUp to 240 months
Amounts$5,000 to $2,000,000
Minimum credit score550
ProsCons

 Offers joint applications

 Offers private-party financing

 No down payment required for some loans under $100,000

 Doesn’t offer loans in Alaska or Hawaii

 Unclear boat loan eligibility requirements

 Doesn’t disclose APRs on its website

Southeast Financial logo

Starting APR6.99%
TermsUp to 240 months
Amounts$10,000 to $4,000,000
Minimum credit score575
ProsCons

 Offers boat refinancing

 Offers private-party financing

 May provide same-day credit decisions

 Doesn’t finance houseboats or speedboats

 Only lends to U.S. citizens

 Doesn’t offer loans in Alaska or Hawaii

Upgrade logo

Starting APR8.49%
Terms24 to 84 months
Amounts$1,000 to $50,000
Minimum credit score580
ProsCons

 Offers unsecured loans

 May receive funds in one business day

 Offers joint applications

 Maximum loan amount isn’t as large as other boat lenders’

 Comes with an origination fee

 High max APR of 35.99%

One Main Financial logo

Starting APR18.00%
Terms24 to 60 months
Amounts$1,500 to $20,000
Minimum credit scoreNot specified
ProsCons

 Offers secured personal loans

 May receive funds in one business day

 No prepayment penalties

 High minimum APR

 Small loan amounts may make it difficult to finance expensive boats

 1.00% - 10.00% origination fees

What is a bad credit boat loan?

A bad credit boat loan is a traditional boat loan that is offered to borrowers with low credit scores. The exact definition of a bad credit score depends on which credit scoring model you’re using: FICO Score or VantageScore. A bad credit score is under 580 for FICO or 600 for VantageScore. Since a boat is considered a “luxury” purchase, most lenders prefer borrowers with strong credit.

Consumers with a bad credit score can have a harder time qualifying for a loan and can expect to receive high interest rates. Unless you apply for a secured loan or apply with a cosigner who has strong credit, you may have a difficult time qualifying for an affordable boat loan.

How to get a bad credit boat loan

Getting a boat loan if you have bad credit may be difficult, but you may still have a chance of qualifying for one if you apply with the right lenders. Here’s what you need to know about how to get a boat loan with bad credit:

  Check your credit

Your credit score will help you determine which lenders you’re most likely to qualify with and the interest rates they may offer you. If your credit score is low, you should the time to improve your credit score before applying for a loan. Raising your score before applying can save you money in interest and fees, reducing the total cost of borrowing.

  Create a budget

The cost of a boat depends on the size and type of boat you’re shopping for. You’ll want to pay close attention to how much of a down payment is required, plus the minimum you’ll pay each month. Typically, you’ll need to save up between 10% and 20% of the boat’s total price to offer as a down payment. Use a boat loan calculator to estimate your monthly payments and determine whether a boat loan fits into your budget.

  Choose a boat

During the boat loan application process, you’ll need to disclose which vessel you plan to purchase, so it’s a good idea to make this decision ahead of time. Lenders typically want to know the make, model, year, mileage and condition of the boat, as well as its history.

  Apply to lenders

Rate shopping for a boat loan can help you nail down the rates and features that best fit your financial needs. During this part of the process, the credit scoring models will count all of your loan inquiries as one, as long as you do it within a 14-day window. It’s always a smart idea to apply to multiple lenders so you can find the least expensive loan with the best features.

  Close on your loan

After you choose a lender and meet their qualifications, you’ll need to sign your loan agreement and close on your loan. Be sure you understand what your repayment schedule will be, so you don’t miss a payment.

Alternatives to bad credit boat loans

Bad credit boat loans aren’t a good fit for everyone. Rates may be too high or you may not qualify with many lenders. If this is the case, consider these alternative options:

  • Secured personal loan: While most personal loans are unsecured, some lenders offer secured personal loans. This means that your loan will have to be guaranteed by collateral, likely your boat. Keep in mind, personal loan APRs can get as high as 36%. If you’re unable to make your loan payments, your lender can legally seize your collateral.
  • Cash: Instead of applying for a loan, consider saving your money aside and paying cash for your boat. This can save you money on interest and fees, but this approach may take some time and won’t help you build credit.
  • Home equity loan or HELOC: If you’re a homeowner, you also have the option of applying for a home equity loan or home equity line of credit (HELOC). Both of these types of credit use your home as collateral. You can typically borrow up to 85% of your home’s equity. It’s important to note that if you default on your loan, you risk foreclosure on your home.

What to do if you aren’t approved

If you aren’t approved for a bad credit boat loan, you can take the following steps to improve your odds of getting approved for credit:

Apply with a cosigner: If a friend or family member with good credit is willing to apply jointly for the boat loan, this can increase your odds of approval. A co-borrower or cosigner can offset the lender’s risk, since two people are taking responsibility for repayment as opposed to just one.

Make a larger down payment: Offering a larger down payment can make your application more attractive to lenders since you’ll be more financially invested in the boat. Plus, with a larger down payment, you’ll only need a smaller loan and that reduces your total cost of borrowing.

Choose a less expensive boat: Used boats may not come with all the bells and whistles that new boats have, but they often come with a much smaller price tag. If you have bad credit, qualifying for a large loan may be difficult, so consider shopping around for a cheaper used boat instead.

Get credit counseling: If your credit score needs work and you’re overwhelmed by your current debt, it may be beneficial to seek credit counseling. A certified credit counselor can help you navigate your financial situation and take steps to improve your credit. If you qualify, a credit counselor can also help you qualify for a debt management plan.

How we chose the best bad credit boat loans

A bad-credit boat loan is simply a regular boat loan from a lender that is willing to work with borrowers with poor credit scores. To help you sort through the competition and get the best rate, we examined thousands of bad-credit boat loan applications from those with FICO Scores of 619 or lower during the first quarter of 2023. These four companies offer a wide range of terms, flexible loan amounts and preliminary decisions in as soon as a few minutes to borrowers with FICO Scores below 600.

Frequently asked questions

Yes, you can get a loan if you have bad credit — but you might have a difficult time qualifying if you don’t have a cosigner or don’t offer a large down payment. Before applying for a boat loan, consider taking some time to improve your credit score first.

Boat loan terms can range anywhere from 12 to 240 months, though some lenders may offer longer or shorter options. Keep in mind that the longer your loan term, the more you’ll pay in interest. For this reason, it’s wise to select the shortest loan term you can comfortably afford.

Typically, lenders require that you provide a down payment between 10% and 20% of the total cost of the boat. Some lenders may offer 0% down boat loans, but putting money down will reduce the amount you pay in interest, lower your monthly payment and keep you from becoming upside down in your loan.

Yes, you can get a boat loan for a private-party purchase, but some lenders only offer funding if you’re shopping at a dealership. Before you get your heart set on a boat, be sure to check with your preferred lender to see whether they offer private-parting financing options.