Set Sail with a Boat Loan

family enjoying vacation on a new sailboat

Owning a boat has become a way of life for many.

Each time you set sail, whether alone or accompanied by your loved ones, you can count on priceless memories being made on the water. Sunrises and sunsets become more special, the air feels crisper, and you get to experience nature in a more intimate way. However, unless you’ve saved thousands of dollars, you may need a boat loan to help turn your dream into reality.

Boat loans work similar to car loans: a lender or dealership will offer you funding for a new or used watercraft, using your vessel as collateral. You pay the loan back at a rate and term agreed upon prior to closing, and you will then make principal and interest payments until your loan is paid in full.

At SouthState, we want to help you finance the boat of your dreams so you can enjoy your days relaxing on the water. Whether you have just begun contemplating a boat, or you have already fallen in love and are ready to purchase, we’re here for you. In this article, we will explore how to get a boat loan as well as share a few things to consider before you make your final decision.

Anchor Your Budget

Buying a boat is a big decision, and spending time to find the perfect match is ideal. Aside from picking out your new vessel, you need to figure out where you’re going to store it, the way you’re going to transport it, and exactly how much boat you can afford. Monthly payments on a boat loan should fit comfortably within a budget that covers all of your needs, wants, debt payments and savings. As a general rule-of-thumb, the payments toward your boat loan combined with all other debt payments should not exceed 40% of your income.

Use our boat loan calculator to estimate your monthly payment and see how this purchase would affect your budget. You will just need to input a few numbers including the purchase price, loan term and loan interest rate. Additionally, don’t forget boat maintenance, fuel, dock fees and insurance costs that will come along with your new watercraft when considering the impact on your monthly budget.

Don’t Cast Off without a Down Payment

Often boat loans require a down payment, like mortgages or auto loans. Generally, you are required to cover a minimum of 10% of the total cost of the boat as a down payment. However, saving up as much as possible to put down a higher down payment could save you money in the long run. Remember: the less you borrow, the less interest you’ll pay.

Apply for a Loan

Once you’ve determined that you’re ready to dive into boat financing, the next step is to apply for a loan. Even if you think you’ve found a good rate, it’s important to shop around and explore all of your options to ensure you get the best deal. At SouthState, we have competitive boat loan rates for any budget, as well as an easy online application process , and funds are often available the same day. As with any loan, you can expect interest rates and approval to vary based on personal factors such as credit score and income.

Your banker will work to find the best loan option for your budget. After the loan receives approval, we strive to make your closing process as seamless as possible. You’ll just sign paperwork and then you’re ready to set sail.

Plot The Course for Future Expenses

Icon for Plot The Course for Future Expenses
Icon for Plot The Course for Future Expenses
As we said previously, boating is a lifestyle. The boat itself is only one of several costs that come with owning a watercraft. Other expenses to consider:
  • Equipment. The fun stuff: Water toys, music speakers, fishing poles, lifejackets and other safety essentials.
  • Fuel. Depending on the size and type of boat you choose, this cost will vary and can add up quickly. You should expect fuel to be a large part of your budget.
  • Storage. There are plenty of options to choose from when it comes to boat storage: marina storage, indoor shelter, or even at your home if you have the space and the means to transport it.
  • Maintenance. All boats need routine maintenance to remain safe. This may or may not get more expensive over time as your boat ages.
  • Insurance. In general, boat insurance typically ranges between $200 to a few thousand dollars each year. Factors that can affect your boat insurance rates are your motor vehicle driving record, your location, and your use of the boat (occasional fishing trips, wakeboarding, etc.)

Beyond Boat Loans

Financing with SouthState Bank is simple and hassle-free. Daily life is stressful with so many things competing for our attention: traffic, never-ending emails, the news, and struggling to find a work-life balance. A study conducted by the University of California Merced showed that people who engage in hobbies enjoy better moods, feel more interested, and have less stress and lower heart rates—even hours after the recreation time.

Jeff Fulp, Director of Consumer Banking shared his perspective with us: "The COVID-19 pandemic drove an increase in outdoor recreational activity. At SouthState, we saw more and more customers seeking boat loans, powersport loans (to include ATVs, UTVs, jet skis and dirt bikes) and RV loans, and we were pleased to help these customers secure the funds they needed in order to make memories in nature. It seems that families have rediscovered a love for the outdoors, and SouthState offers a wide variety of solutions to help make adventures on the road, in the woods or on the water possible."

No matter where you are in your boat financing journey, SouthState is here for you. Our knowledgeable bankers will help you get out on the water in plenty of time to enjoy boating season.

  • This content is general in nature and provided for informational use only. Content may be used in connection with the advertising and marketing of products and services offered by SouthState Bank, N.A. and its subsidiaries and affiliates. This is not to be considered legal, tax, accounting, financial or investment advice. You should seek individualized advice from personal financial, legal, tax and/or other professionals, as appropriate depending on the specific facts of your situation. We do not make any warranties as to the completeness or accuracy of this information and have no liability for your use of this information.

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