Originally Posted by eeyorebob
If you don't have anyone with boat knowledge when you are looking to buy your boat, I'd suggest you definatly DON'T go second hand, but go to a boat dealer who is local to you, ...
I disagree. There's usually someone around who can tell you if the boat will at least float. That's all I wanted to know when buying my first. I had no knowledge of what it took to maintain a sailboat but that was one reason for buying an inexpensive, not overwhelmingly large, used boat: so I could learn and poke around and try to fix stuff without having paid a ton of money for the boat-and still have it float so I could sail it. There are a great many resources out there to teach a novice how to repair fiberglass, paint a hull, gelcoat, rig, etc. So any of the big stuff can be taken to professionals. I didn't mess with anything that potentially impacted its ability to float. So when I wanted the head thru-hull glassed up (there was no holding tank), I had a professional do it.
The experience of learning how to do things on my own rather than always paying someone to do it, was invaluable.