Can you trust a survey??
Whenever I have a boat surveyed, I do careful research of current and previous owners, etc. and compile a list of "typical" items found to be lacking/problems of the particular design/model. That list is handed to the surveyor prior to survey and to be completed by him --- in addition to the normal survey routine - costs more to do this. Surveyors are only human, dont know the foibles of each and every boat.... anything you can do to ''help'' them will benefit both of you.
"Seems like" or "appears to be" are indeed actually quite valid as many times it is only possible to have a visual inspection - not destructive testing to verify the strength or integrity of a part / component, etc. You must remember that there are various types of surveys: 1. an "insurance survey" - will the boat sink or hurt someone during the term of the insurance policy and become a casualty risk for the underwriter. 2. a comprehensive mechanical, structural, etc. survey (including nondestructive testing of critical components to validate integrity, etc.) ..... more time consuming and vastly more costly than a plain vanilla "insurance" survey.