Re: Is a marine survey really worth it for an inexpensive boat?
This can be a tough call. If you know what you're looking for and don't need to finance/insure the boat then a survey may represent an unnecessary expense esp for a very simple, uncomplicated boat such as some of the examples you cite.
But in many cases this type of purchase will be a first boat.. if you end up paying $3-4 K for a real POS then you stand to lose the whole $4K (plus associated costs)... whereas a survey would/should have detected the issues and cost you only 6-700 and left you much the wiser.
If in fact you need to insure the boat, or finance it, those institutions may insist on a survey.
But it can be a hard pill to swallow... at the very least try to get an experienced owner to tag along and filter out the real dogs... no one wants to buy 3 or 4 surveys before finding the 'right one'.
1984 Fast/Nicholson 345 "FastForward"
".. there is much you could do at sea with common sense.. and very little you could do without it.."
Capt G E Ericson (from "The Cruel Sea" by Nicholas Monsarrat)