Boat Buyer's Guide:
Boat Loans & Marine Insurance
Financing a new or used boat is a fairly straightforward process if you've got a good credit history and the 15-25% down payment. You may even want to pre-qualify for a loan before you go boat shopping to give yourself some extra leverage when it comes to negotiating prices with dealers.
On a new boat, the Manufacturer's Statement of Origin certifies that it has had no other retail owner. With used boats, lenders check for a clear title or record of ownership. In addition, information about pending liens or unpaid debts may be recorded in the county court where the boat is kept or where the owner resides.
For larger boats, lenders usually require marine insurance coverage and federal documentation (see Boat Documentation) as conditions for loans.
Basic marine insurance includes Hull Coverage for damages to the boat whether it is on land or in the water and Protection and Indemnity Coverage (also called P&I coverage or personal liability insurance) for property damage claims and claims for injuries to your crew or those on a boat you may have damaged.
Insurance costs are affected by length of boating season, area of navigation, previous insurance claims, and boating experience. Expect to pay more if you own a "muscle" boat, a wooden boat or if you live aboard or cruise offshore.