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High-Performance Boat Financing Still “Extremely Limited.”

The lending picture remains bleak for would-be performance-boat buyers. According to Dave Patanaude, vice president/northeast client relationship for Bank of America Merrill Lynch Marine, RV and Aircraft financing, banks are still leery of making loans on go-fast boats.

“Financing for high-performance boats is extremely limited,” he said. “There are maybe four banks that will look at loans for V-bottoms that run less than 100 mph, and financing for high-performance catamarans is even harder—almost impossible.”

Patanaude said the tightening on consumer credit for performance boats only will ease when bank losses decrease significantly.

“The banks aren’t losing as much money as they were three years ago, but they’re still losing more money than they were five years ago,” he explained.

Another impediment to lending on go-fast boats? Historically speaking, they make poor collateral for financial institutions, thanks to unscrupulous owners who, when facing default, strip the boats of their engines—and sell them—prior to repossession.

The primary finance options for go-fast boat buyers, Patanaude said, remain home equity loans and loans secured against investment portfolios. But for buyers without those options, finding financing remains difficult at best, and while most estimates range from 18 to 24 months, no one can say with certainty when the credit crunch will begin to ease.