This graph illustrates the depreciation on the boat (blue) versus the amount owed (red) and the cumulative interest paid (yellow), at 10%, which is typical on a high-risk loan. It is amortized over ten years to make the monthly payment "affordable". But as we see here, it means the owner is "upside down" for at least seven years into owning the boat. Moreover, the he pays over half the price of the boat, over time in interest payments. This is a horribly bad bargain and a good way to get into serious financial trouble, fast. Why do banks loan money like this? It is, to say the least, reckless.
Note in the chart above, I am showing the boat value and loan value starting out at $100,000. Many boat dealers in the past would do 100% financing. But it also reflects the situation even with a 10% down payment, as the minute Jim drives the boat off the dealer lot, it is worth 10% less than he paid for it. So if he paid $110,000 for the boat, it is worth exactly the balance on the loan on the day of purchase, and then depreciates rapidly after that. Actually, in most cases, the boat is even upside-down on the day of purchase, particularly for low-down or nothing-down loans. The chart above is for illustration purposes. You could construct a more detailed chart using NADAguides numbers, but it would pan out about the same, I'm afraid.
Slick salesmen sell people expensive assets on "monthly payment" and never explain that they will be "upside down" on the loan for most of its term. If they decide, before the end of the loan, to do something different with their lives, they are stuck, plain and simple.
We have avoided this nightmare by paying cash for our boats. And even then, we still lost our shirts in depreciation, particularly on the last one. If we had borrowed money for that boat, we literally would have been unable to sell it, as we would have owed $45,000 on it, and it was worth only $35,000. Many people list their boats for the balance due on the loan - and usually don't get it. When I listed my boat for sale, some other owners of similar boats got upset, saying I sold it "too cheaply" - they had the same boat and owed far more on it that what I sold mine for.
So I lost a lot of money selling that boat (about $30,000) but at least I paid no interest (which could easily have been $15,000) and I didn't have to pay to sell the boat, and my options were flexible. Many folks keep boats like this, if they are "upside down" and end up paying for maintenance and storage as well - for years. Rather than take a modest hit all at once, they bleed to death slowly, over a decade.
If you are not sure you want to get into RVing or Boating, rent one first! RV rentals are not cheap, but they are far less expensive than making a $100,000 mistake if you buy one and it doesn't work out. Similarly, if you only go boating occasionally, renting a boat might make more sense.