"However, unlike all the other information, the survey comes from a neutral, licensed third party,"
Really now ?!
In what state are marine surveyors licensed by what government entity?
Maybe privately credentialed by some independent organization of debateable standards, but never licensed in the US, in my limited knowledge.
And as to being independent, every written article on surveying for at least the last 50 years will tell you, don't ask the yard or the broker for a surveyor, because they have to work and play and live together, and it isn't impossible for one hand to scratch the other, as happens in almost every trade and every community.
A survey beats nothing. But surveyors, like cops and Congressmen, are still sometimes only human. And they're not licensed either, are they?
I never said they aren't human. Everyone has biases. Let's put it this way - the surveyor is the one guy in the transaction who has "no skin in the game" if you are careful to pick one who is not in cahoots with the broker or other interested parties.
When I said "licensed" I picked the wrong word. Sue me. There are independent certifications based on training, and they have to be maintained. That's no guarantee of quality, but it beats no training at all.
I've only hired a surveyor once, so I'm no expert (but I'm more of an expert than some people here who have never hired a surveyor). When I was interviewing potential surveyors four years ago, two of the candidates declined because their business had declined so much that it was no longer worth their money to keep their certifications current (their words, not mine). They had basically left the business because they refused to do surveys without their certifications. It was upon these statements that I surmised that there is at least one certification process for surveyors. Is it required? I'm sure it's not, and you can go hire any damned stooge you want, if that's what it takes to prove your point.