Buying a boat isn't one of life's necessities, but there's nothing like the freedom of the open water. And, as they say, "you only live once." Boat loans can help people get personal vessels for the ultimate peace and relaxation. You don't have to be rich to get a boat loan; all you need is a great credit score, some extra income and an account with one of many national banks, lenders or credit unions. It's time to get the boat of your dreams and we're here to tell you how. Here are some amazingly affordable boat loans you can qualify for today.

Boat U.S., the Boat Owners Association of the United States, provides loans with APR rates of only 4 to 6 percent based on the size of the loan. A loan of $25,000 to $54,600 has an APR of 6.50 percent while a loan of $350,000 has a rate of 4.75 percent. Individuals with smaller loans must pay within 15 years while higher loans must be paid off in 20 years. A 15 percent down payment is required for all standard boat loans. Houseboat loans require a down payment of 25 percent. Rates are fixed and have no prepayment penalties. Rates are the same for used boats as they are for new boats and refinances. These boat loans can only be used for boats intended for recreational use and not business purposes or living purposes.

U.S. Bank offers competitive interest rates and flexible repayment terms. Applicants can also enjoy low monthly payments and same-day credit decisions. Boat loans from U.S. Bank must be as low as $5,000 and as high as $150,000 on new and used sailboats or motorboats, as well as boat trailers and U.S. Coat Guard documented vessels.

SunTrust offers marine boat and small boat loans. Boats larger than 25 feet must have a minimum loan of $25,000 up to $4,000,000. Rates for these loans are fixed and must be paid in up to 240 months. Boats smaller than 25 feet must have a loan value of $3,000 up to $54,000. Rates for this kind of loan are fixed and feature flexible terms. Marine boats must have fiberglass or aluminum hulls and be used for recreational purposes only. They cannot be commercial vessels or boat homes, and the money cannot be used on anything else.

Most boat loans will provide decent financing and fixed rates. Most rates are said to be competitive but shopping around will be very effective in getting the best loan possible. You can apply for loans by filling out an application online or in person, or call. Once a decision has been made you'll be able to get a boat as soon as possible. Most boat loans will require you use the boat only occasionally, mainly for recreational purposes, rather than business or living purposes, so make sure you're applying for a loan that matches your needs for your new boat. Before applying for a boat loan, use a calculator that may or may not be featured on the website itself to establish how much you will be able to pay per month.