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If you’re getting ready to buy a boat, these questions may be familiar to you. Below are some typical answers.

How much can I afford to spend?

Most people make monthly payments. Know how much of your monthly disposable income you can devote to a boat budget. Subtract the following from that amount:

  • Insurance
  • Fuel
  • Dockage
  • Monthly allowance for maintenance/repairs
  • 10 – 15% for surprises

Find out what that payment will buy.

Is my credit score important?

Boats lost about 35% of their value in 2009 and credit scores tanked. Poor credit histories have a life span of 2 – 7 years.

  • Credit scores above 660 should qualify for loans easily
  • Below 660, results in much higher interest rates and down payment amounts
  • Interest rates are currently between 4 – 6.5% with 10 to 25% down

Should I rehab an old boat?

It depends on whether you enjoy restoring older boats regardless of time and cost. Good reasons are:

  • You don’t mind waiting to get out on the water while you do your project
  • You like old things like houses, cars, and boats because they are unique
  • You understand the amount of work involved and can follow through

How much insurance do I need?

Insurance protects your boat from damage and from liability for damage or injury to others. Not having it exposes you to financial risk. Your policy has two parts:

  • The value of the boat
  • A liability amount between $100,000 to $1,000,000, though $300,000

Your insurance company should specialize in boats.

Where can I search the title history for a boat I’m looking to purchase?

You can query state databases for title history, but not every state requires titles. They are not marked as rebuilt, sunk, or totaled and warranty work and claims aren’t tracked in a single database. A title will note if a boat has a current lien on it. Searching the U.S. Coast Guard database shows ownership information and liens.


Fort, C., You Have Boating Questions? We Have The Answers, https://www.boatus.com/magazine/2017/august/boating-questions-and-answers.asp

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