The problem is that the seller cannot disclose what he does not know.
It takes a professional such as a surveyor, rigger or diesel mechanic to find certain types of problems.
TJ, no offense, but how long have you been around boats? How many boats have you bought/sold?
When I sold my last boat, the surveyor found (minor) things that I was not aware of. In fact it is very, very unusual for a survey to come out entirely without findings.
You should not be too pissed off on spending $1K on a survey that made you walk, how much would it have cost you in the end if you had bought the vessel?
Again, no problem with the normal minor things a survey would find.
The issue is disclosure. The problem is the sellers/brokers do know but do not disclose. it is what has the OP so upset that he calls them lying DBs! I agree with him.
As far as how many boats have i owned and how long i've been around boats? Funny how by my questioning the process you take me as newb who just fell off a hay wagon. Apparently questioning an imbedded process is a foreign concept here. So just to restate it again, I question the offer - disclosure order of business that is the boat selling industry. Bidding without disclosure is bidding in the blind. Of course all offers are contingent. And surveys will turn up nit picking problems. Most of which won't slow the process. Not what this is about.
To answer your question:
I've owned boats since i was 17 years old. Lets count the boats i've owned-
18' Winner ( or was it a 19'?)
Hobie 16 ( I've owned 3)
Beneteau First 345
Boston Whaler Dauntless 18
Sea Ray 270 Sundancer
Sea Ray 370 Sundancer
How many is that? I bought and sold every one of these boats myself with exception of one Hobie 16, which i still own. Am i qualified to speak or are there more tests?