people buying boats...
Regarding surveys and boats. IMHO, the type and cost of the boat have a bearing on if a survey is required. The potentional owner''s experience also come into play.
When I bought my first boat, a 1981 Catalina 22, I didn''t hire a surveyor. I bought it directly from the owners, and I had a real good feeling about them (and the boat). Also, those boats are very simple. No inboard engine, no thru hulls, no galley, tiller steering, etc. I looked the boat over carefully, it was clean, looked good, and only cost $4500. I sailed it for a year then sold it to buy a bigger boat.
The bigger boat was a 86 Newport 28. That one I had surveyed. It cost a lot more ($15K), had a diesel inboard engine, pressure hot and cold water, galley with stove, sink, etc, head with shower, wheel steering, autopilot, etc. I bought it from a broker, so I couldn''t get a feeling for how the owner''s cared for the boat. Anyway, the broker was great, he told me I should get the boat surveyed. He said he could recommend some surveyor''s, but that I probably would not accept them (I didn''t). The surveyor did a great job. I was very interested in what he was doing, so I followed him all over like a puppy. I think he appreciated my interest and took his time explaining what he was doing and why. When I got his report to went over it with me and explained what needed to be done ASAP, what could wait until the end of the year when the boat got hauled, and what didn''t have to be done, but would be nice to do.
Finally, my insurance company did not ask for a survey. They asked for year, make and model. They asked what I paid for it, and since it was in line with BUC values they wrote the policy.