.... Either way, the discussion is just getting silly. The process is not backwards, you can do your own inspection and get questions answered before anyone expects you to make an offer. There is no legal requirement for a full disclosure, but it's the same as buying a car in that regard. No one expects you to "bid blind" and frankly it is a bit absurd to even suggest that they do....
Agreed. The basic common law rule of the marketplace in the US (and AFAIK
any country whose legal system derives from English law) is, and has always been, caveat emptor, or buyer beware. As such, the seller has no disclosure obligation whatsoever. None. It is entirely up to a buyer to make any inspections and investigations, directly or via agents, that s/he believes wise before agreeing to buy from and to pay a seller.
Now it's also true that in the past 40 years or so, this common law rule has been changed, on an ad-hoc basis, typically by statute or regulation at the federal level and in many states, to protect ordinary consumers when buying necessities or similar common items - but the coverage of these ad-hoc legal changes is variable and patchwork. For example, there are (after the fact) lemon laws for automobiles, warranty disclaimer limitation laws for manufactured household goods, and many required up-front disclosures for residential real estate. But all these consumer protection laws remain limited exceptions to the otherwise prevailing, ancient, general rule of trade.
If there is a theme to those ad-hoc legal exceptions, it has been to regulate the sale of ordinary everyday items that ordinary people use regularly as an essential part of living an ordinary, modern, urban or suburban life.
To date, boats and boating are not considered as such, but rather as luxuries, or at as least unessential, recreational things. So the common rule of trade still applies.
Whether the law for boat transactions should be different is another question (and if so, this is hardly the forum to effect legal changes). Regardless, the law today is what it is.
Some people are honest, some are incompetent, some are lazy, some are one or more or none of these, and it's up to potential buyers to size up sellers and to make best use of their time and money. If you feel (or think) that a seller is not a stand up person, often the best course is simply to go elsewhere. If the goods on offer are tempting enough to continue on anyway, then for boat purchases a survey is a prudent expense - it's the buyer's best insurance against the buyer's unknowns (whether the seller knows of them or not).
It seems to me that you (or the OP) decided to go for the insurance (wise) but now are upset about having paid the premium (surveyor's fee). That was the buyer's choice. S/he could have walked away for nothing, and didn't. Man up, and accept that's the way it is.
Hindsight is 20/20, and maybe looking back that wasn't the optimal choice. Well, that wasn't the first nor will it be the last time you (or me, the OP, or any of us) decide to spend a little time or money to avoid a possibly bigger headache. It seems that in the bigger picture, all ended well. Smile!