Is it worthwhile to incur the expense of a survey when buying a used sailboat?
Tom Wood responds:
By all means, get a survey—especially if you are new to sailing and the boat is an older model. Many astute buyers even have brand new boats surveyed before they put them into the water for the first time to guarantee that the builder did his job correctly.
A survey and haulout may not look cheap to you now, but they are an inexpensive insurance policy against buying a boat with potentially massively expensive repair problems. In the long run, a good, professional survey will discover deficiencies both large and small that you can hang a price on, making your purchase a known quantity rather than a boat in a poke. And you can sometimes use the information from the survey to bargain the seller down in price to cover the cost of repairs—this alone can be enough to cover the cost of the haulout and surveyor's fee.