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Single-Engine Sportboat Lending Picture Improving—Slowly

While the overall lending picture for high-performance powerboats remains tight, the single-engine sportboat segment of the market is showing signs of loosening up. According to Dave Patnaude, vice president/northeast client relationship for Bank of America Merrill Lynch Marine, RV and Aircraft financing, there are “greater opportunities now” for securing loans for single-engine sportboats—within certain parameters.

“The opportunities are much greater than they are for twin-engine performance boats,” said Patnaude. “There are several banks that will look at financing single-engine sportboats because of the much lower speed and because, in terms of collateral, you’re not looking at a $300,000 or $400,000 boat that if repossessed, historically speaking, has a good chance of coming back to the lender without its engines and drives. You just don’t see that happening with single-engine sports.

“We will lend on those boats with a single 496 Mag engine or lower,” he added. “But with a 525 engine, you’re definitely pushing it.”

Patnaude said that lending institutions are also beginning to loosen up, albeit slowly, on the cruiser side of the powerboat market.

“I do see that, and it’s a positive sign,” he explained. “But I think it will take quite a bit of time for any kind of real player to come back and do significant lending in the performance-boating world.”