As far as surveys go, if you don't need one for the insurance, don't get one. Buy Don Casey's book, get permission to spend the day on the prospective boat, buy a six-pack, a bag of ice, and make yourself a couple PB&J sandwiches. Spend the day getting close to your new boat. If you can't find anything that makes you worried, don't worry. If you can't negotiate a lower price without a survey, you're not a very good negotiator. (sorry BLJ)
No need to apologize. Your interesting point above brings up a couple of questions which also play into the survey/no survey question:
What is your time worth?
Are you someone who likes working on things and understands how they are supposed to work, and can inspect a boat and actually know what you are seeing?
You'd be amazed how many people can't, and maybe slightly less amazed at how many who can't, but think they can.
Regarding that "what is your time worth?" question- a good pre-purchase survey (not an insurance survey or appraisal survey- whole different kettles of fish. boatpoker has a great explanation on his great website: My fee Schedule and why marine surveys cost what they do
) on a 30-35' boat should take at least 3 hours.
I value my spare time at $150/hr. that is what the little spare time I have is worth to me. So, if I am going to inspect a boat in Bayfield, for example, 3 hours away, it is gonna cost 6 hours of travel, plus 2-4 hours of poking around- that is near enough to$1500 of my time to do something that someone else, who is likely better at it than I am, would charge half that or less. I know I know, that $150 spare time value is imaginary. But it isn't, really. If you have to do your DIY survey on a workday, you've lost a day that needs to be made up, that has to come out of your spare time- your spare time always has value.
I like kicking around boat yards and checking out boats, because that is the kinda guy i am. I can fumble my way through most boat systems and can likely figure out what i need to know- but as hard as it is to believe, not everyone is like me.
So, if you don't like that sorta stuff, if you are a clean hands sailor, (lots of them out there- it is why yards stay in business) how good is your self-survey going to be, and how much do you NOT want to do it?
Regarding your assertion: "If you can't negotiate a lower price without a survey, you're not a very good negotiator."
Of course you can negotiate a lower price- but a survey in hand will allow you to negotiate the LOWEST price. Bear in mind when a survey is occuring- as a condition of sale.
You have already negotiated the best price, subject to survey. Then the surveyor finds something you missed, or something you didn't think about or found an elevated moisture reading around every stanchion that you didn't notice when you were jumping up and down on the foredeck during your pre-purchase inspection.
A survey that notes deficiencies re-opens the negotations... and there are always deficiencies.