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Boat FAQs
What types of boats can I finance with Essex?
We offer financing options for: Standard & Custom Power or Sail Boats, Multi-Hull Boats, Pontoon Boats, and Electric Boats 1997 model year and newer. Pleasure use rates published on Essex websites are available for boats 2007 model year and newer. Different rates apply for model years 1997 - 2006.

We also offer financing options for High Performance Boats, Houseboats, Older Boats (1970 – 1996), Antique & Classic Boats (1919 - 1969), Wooden Boats and Repowers. Different rates, down payment requirements, and restrictions may apply.

Essex does not offer financing for vessels capable of speeds greater than 99 mph.

Does Essex offer boat loans for people residing in all 50 states?

Yes, Essex offers boat loans in all 50 states and Puerto Rico.

What are the largest and smallest boat loan amounts that you offer?

The minimum loan amount for pleasure use is $10,000 in all states where Essex originates loans. The minimum loan amount for live-aboard use (the vessel is used as a residence) is $25,000 in all states where Essex originates loans. The maximum loan amount in all cases is $5,000,000.

What are the shortest and longest terms available?

We offer a variety of terms ranging from 4 years to 30 years depending on the loan amount and age of the vessel. Please see our rate tables for all rates and terms available.

Can I apply for financing through Essex if I am not a United States Citizen?

Yes, as long as you reside in the US. Additional boat use restrictions may apply.

Does Essex work with dealers/brokers?

Yes, we work with dealers/brokers across the US and in Puerto Rico.

Does Essex finance Live-Aboards?

Yes, our minimum loan amount for Live-Aboards is $25,000 in all states. Please see our full rate table to view current rates and terms for Live-Aboard financing.

How much of a down payment do I need?

10% for $10,000 - $150,000 Purchase price plus Tax, Title, License & Loan Processing fees
15% for $150,001 - $250,000 Purchase price plus Tax, Title, License & Loan Processing fees
20% for $250,001 - $500,000 Purchase price plus Tax, Title, License & Loan Processing fees
25% for $500,001+ Purchase price plus Tax, Title, License & Loan Processing fees
30% on older boats ages 1919 to 1996
Additional down payment may be required for certain high performance vessels, houseboats and wood hull boats.

Does Essex require a minimum credit score?

Yes, the minimum FICO credit score considered for published rates is 690.

What might disqualify me from getting a boat loan with Essex Credit?

The following situations, in addition to other factors, may negatively affect a loan decision: a high debt to income ratio, unverifiable income, a credit score below 690, bankruptcy, outstanding collections, delinquent payment history, limited installment loan history, insufficient collateral value (LTV).

Does Essex offer pre-approvals?

Essex does not offer a pre-approval because our loan decisions consider not just the applicant(s) but the collateral as well. You may apply using the vessel you are currently interested in and should you find a different boat, the collateral can be changed. The updated collateral must remain within approval guidelines. Please note that rates and terms may change based on your final loan amount.

How do I apply?

Fill out and submit our secure online loan application or download our .pdf application and then fax or mail it to Essex Credit. Or call us at 866-377-3948, and we will take your application over the phone.

Essex Credit, A Division of Bank of the West
12677 Alcosta Blvd. Suite 400
San Ramon, CA 94583
Fax: 866-377-3939

How long will it take to receive a credit decision?

A credit review on an application is generally completed within 1-3 business days. A credit decision will be sent via email if an email address was provided on your application. Remember to check your Junk or Spam folder in addition to your Inbox.

Does Essex charge an application fee?

No, Essex does not charge an application fee.

Does Essex charge closings costs or other fees?

Yes, a loan processing fee will apply and varies depending on the nature of the title work associated with the vessel you are financing. Please contact your Sales Representative for more detailed information.

Can I finance any taxes, title, registration and/or loan processing fees?

Yes, taxes, title, registration and/or loan processing fees may be included in your loan amount subject to the loan amount meeting our LTV (Loan to Value) guidelines. You may also choose to pay for them out of pocket; in which case, payment must be received prior to funding your loan.

Does Essex require income verification on all loans?

Income verification is generally only required on loan amounts $150,000 and above. However, Essex reserves the right to require income verification on any loan application.

If income is being verified, you may be asked to provide such info as:
- Completed Personal Financial Statement
- If salaried, year to date paystub and/or most recent W-2 & two (2) years 1040 tax returns with all schedules and statements.
- If self-employed, most recent two (2) years personal federal tax returns including all schedules & two (2) years business returns including all schedules & K-1's, if applicable.
- If retired, Social Security, Retirement, and/or Disability Benefit Award letter, current pension statement, annuity statement, investment and/or deposit account statements

What will my interest rate be?

Your rate depends on your loan amount, the loan term requested, the age and type of boat and planned vehicle use. Please see our full rate table to view current rates. Pleasure use rates published on Essex websites are available for boats 2007 model year and newer. Rate bumps apply for older boats, cash out requests, electric boats, houseboats and high performance boats; multiple rate bumps may apply for a single request.

How is interest on Essex loans calculated?

All Essex loans are simple interest loans. You only pay interest on the principal owed.

What other documentation will I need to provide prior to closing my loan?

You will be asked to provide:

- Copy of Driver’s License – clear and legible; more specific instructions may apply depending on State of residence
- Insurance binder listing Bank of the West as the lien holder
- Copy of the Purchase Agreement (if applicable)
- Proof of Deposit (if applicable)
- Additional documents may be required

When is a boat survey required?

Surveys are required on:

Purchase
- All Private Party purchases
- All vessels with loan amounts $500,000+
- All vessels with loan amounts $100,000 - $499,999 AND 2 model years and older
- All vessels with loan amounts $10,000 - $99,999 AND 5 model years and older

Refinance
- All vessels with loan amounts $250,000+ AND 2 model years and older
- All vessels with loan amounts $100,000 - $249,999 AND 5 model years and older; an Inspection Report is required for refinance transactions for 2-4 model years
- All vessels with loan amounts $10,000 - $99,999 AND 10 model years and older; an Inspection Report is required for refinance transactions for 5-9 model years

Essex reserves the right to request a survey on any boat loan transaction.

If I am approved, how long will it take to fund my loan?

A refinance loan generally funds 7-10 business days after loan approval and receipt of all requested documents.
A purchase loan generally funds 5-7 business days after loan approval and receipt of all requested documents.
If a survey is required, you can expect your loan to fund 12-14 business days after loan approval and receipt of all requested documents.
For individuals who use their vessel as a primary residence, an additional 3 business days should be added to the normal funding period.

Please keep in mind that delays can and do arise. Delays in providing documentation by any party can cause the funding to take longer than anticipated.

Is there a pre-payment penalty on Essex loans?

There is not a pre-payment penalty or minimum interest charge when Essex is the lender.

Does Essex allow loans to be in the name of a Corporation or a Limited Liability Corporation (LLC)?

Yes, Essex does allow either as a Joint Borrower along with a qualified related individual(s). The purpose of the loan must be personal as Essex does not provide financing for commercial purposes. We are unable to process Montana LLC’s at this time.

Will Essex allow me to place my vessel in a Trust?

Yes, please be prepared to provide your trust documents when requested.

Does Essex finance loans for charter boats?

Yes, Essex offers financing options for boats that will be limited charter (not more than 73 days per year). We also offer financing for full-time charters through our Certified Charter Company program. Different rates, down payment requirements, and restrictions may apply. Please contact your Sales Representative for additional information.

Does Essex finance loans for re-powering a boat?

Yes, please contact your Sales Representative for more detailed information.

If I own my boat free and clear, can I borrow against it?

Yes, subject to certain restrictions, you may receive cash out up to $50,000. The boat must be 10 years old or newer. Different rates may apply. Please contact your Sales Representative for more detailed information.

Ineligible collateral for cash out requests include: Houseboats, High Performance boats, electric powered boats, personal watercraft and custom built marine vessels.

If I paid cash for my boat and now would like to obtain a loan, can Essex help me?

Yes, our Cash Recapture Program allows you to get a loan within 6 months of your original purchase. All terms and conditions must meet purchase program guidelines. An Original Purchase Agreement or Bill of Sale must be provided.

Can I defer my first payment?

Yes, you may qualify to defer your first payment up to 60 days.

Can my payments be automatically deducted from my bank account?

Yes, just let your Sales Representative know prior to your loan closing.

Does Essex offer repossessed boats for sale?

No, Essex does not currently list any boats for sale.

What documents are needed to transfer ownership into my name?

Documents required to transfer ownership into your name vary from state to state and also depend on the type of transaction. You will be provided with a checklist indicating what title documents are needed when you receive your loan package. It is very important to deliver all of the documents requested within 5 business days of your loan funding.

Do I have to send my title to Essex if I live in an “owner held” state?

Yes, the title is needed to secure our lien and update your registration with the new lienholder information.

Does my boat have to be registered?

Generally, yes. Most states require documented vessels kept in state waters for a certain period of time to be registered and get a state sticker to indicate that the required state taxes have been paid. Registration requirements can vary by state and even county.

Does my registration have to be current?

Yes, your registration must be current to update it with the new lienholder information. If your registration is due within 30 days of completing your loan application, please let your Sales Representative know.

Can I use my boat while I'm waiting for my registration to be processed?

In most cases, new boat owners are required to have a temporary registration so they can use the boat while the application is processed. This information can be found by contacting your local motor vehicle agency.

What happens if I am traveling/out of town and unable to provide the supporting documents needed to title and register?

If you are unable to provide the required documentation within 5 business days of funding your loan, you may incur additional fees.

What is US Coast Guard Documentation and will my boat need it?

US Coast Guard documentation is a federal form of boat registration controlled, monitored, and completed by the US Coast Guard and typically applies to boats 26 feet or longer. When a vessel is documented with the US Coast Guard it is given an official document number which remains with the boat and permanently displayed on an interior part of the hull. The issuance of the document number begins the US Coast Guard’s history of the vessel. All future transactions are recorded and appear on the Abstract of Title produced by the Coast Guard. If your boat is required to be Coast Guard documented or if you choose to do so, Essex will file a First Preferred Ship Mortgage recording the lender's lien with the US Coast Guard. Federal documentation in no way replaces state registration, nor does it exempt boat owners from complying with state laws. The basic requirements for documentation are to demonstrate ownership of the vessel, U.S. citizenship, and eligibility for the endorsement sought.

What is a Preferred Ship Mortgage?

A Preferred Ship Mortgage is a mortgage given status as a maritime lien. As such, it enjoys a certain priority in the event of default. In addition, the US Coast Guard is prohibited from making certain changes in documentation including, but not limited to, change of vessel ownership, name, and hailing port without consent of the mortgagee. For this reason, many financial institutions require vessels eligible for documentation to be documented and to have a Preferred Ship Mortgage recorded.

What are the advantages of documenting my boat with the US Coast Guard?

US Coast Guard documentation provides a history and record of build and ownership for the vessel owner. This history is maintained at the Coast Guard and is provided upon request in the form of an Abstract of Title, reflecting all recorded ownership transfers, mortgage recordings, claims of lien and releases. A link to the US Coast Guard National Vessel Documentation Center is provided below for additional information. http://www.uscg.mil/nvdc/nvdcfaq.asp

What is an Abstract of Title?

When a vessel is initially documented, the US Coast Guard generates a corresponding master record which is titled "General Index or Abstract of Title". In addition to some basic information about the vessel, all transactions involving changes of ownership, mortgages, supplements, and liens are recorded as individual entries. The abstract may also contain notational information regarding a vessel's documentation status.

Who will document my boat?

We will use a documentation specialist in your area to obtain an Abstract of Title and also document the vessel with the US Coast Guard.