LOOKING 4 A BOAT
Congratulations on your service. An old friend of mine just retired from the USCG. It is a great service with great people. He is now a diplomat serving in Iraq. I only met a few CG people in my career as a naval officer, but the ones I knew well turned out to be incredible people who did extraordinary things with their lives.
At any rate, I think you will find it much easier to get a good deal on the boat you want without having to go through owner financing. Having a steady income with the CG and no debt (hopefully) should make you qualified for a boat loan. Doesn''t the USCG have a credit union? That would be a start. There is also Trident...they are a loan broker....they get loans for you...so they can access unlimited sources to find a lender willing to take you. You will probably need to put 20% down, especially on older boats. You should also qualify for USAA insurance...they will be helpful in insuring the boat with few if any restrictions.
Boat shopping is easy on yachtworld.com. Assume a settlement price 15-20% below asking, maybe more on smaller, older boats. Also look in Soundings or boattraderonline.com. No doubt there is a local rag for boats for sale.
I would not assume you cannot get a loan. Try first. Only use owner financing as a last resort. In my opinion, for what it is worth, you run into owner financing only when someone is having a tough time selling a boat...either it is junk or needs a lot of work or is a boat no one wants. Try the conventional approach first. Keep your costs low and get a boat that is well regarded.....since it will not be your last boat...you want a boat that will serve you well and one you will be able to sell again quickly.
Good luck and Semper Paratus