Originally Posted by jwing
The boat you buy for $10,000 will probably be needing lots of deferred maintenance tasks taken care of - do it now safely and conveniently or do it later expensivley and maybe hazardously. I think you should forgo paying a surveyor and learn to inspect boats yourself. There are at least a couple of good books that will guide you through the inspection process. This will be your first step in learning how to do all those deferred maintenance tasks yourself. If you find inspecting boats to be too tedious, you should probably stay in the metal box in Mesa. So YES to your first premise of doing your own survey.
Liability insurance? Absolutely. The reasons have been well-explained by previous posters. Even though it's not part of your dream, much of your anchor time is likely to be near other people, so be responsible for the damage you may cause them. Clearly you don't have the money to self-insure and liability insurance is not very expensive. So YES to liability insurance. But your question was, "Is a survey necessary for liabiltiy insurance?" My experience says the answer to that question is NO, you do not need a survey to get liability insurance. It may depend on your engine, though. I have a fairly new outboard engine and did not need a survey to get liability coverage.
This sounds like some of the best advice so far - maybe cause it's what I was already thinking... *grin*
I'm not sure I'd call it my 'dream', no stars in my eyes here, but you need a plan and something to get outa bed for...