If someone cannot evaluate a boat he is going to own, he is not ready to own the boat. It's my opinion. Boat construction is not a rocket science. Construction is very simple, most system are rudimentary compare to systems we have in a houses and cars. If you are buying used boat, most likely there is a ton of information on any given models on internet, with all possible flaws shown. There are books and courses.
Wow, I totally I disagree with this statement. I agree that boat owners should become familiar with the equipment on the boat, I don't think it's likely that they will be expert enough to evaluate the condition of a prospective boat owner. I don't think that most potential boat owners can determine if standing rigging is in good condition or worn out, if the rudder and steering gear is OK, if the stuffing box, electrical system, furler, etc. are in good or bad condition. Personally, I want an expert to look at all those things, AND all the things I don't even consider.
If you going to buy the boat – take digital camera with you. Shoot every inch of the boat. Especially shoot every corner you actually cannot see – under floors, bilge, under settees, hull to deck joint, etc.
Do not trust your eyes; take as many pictures as you can, bring them home, drool over them one evening or too, take notes… Go there second time and check every point you didn’t like – cracks, rust, bubbles, color mismatch etc…
Now you may need a surveyor, as a second opinion, or may not…
My surveyor didn’t find 70 % flaws I knew already there. I had to hire him to get insurance.
I think this is excellent advice. IMHO, if you STILL like the boat, hire a surveyor to check the things you didn't see, especially if the boat is in the water.
My last comment. I have had two boats surveyed. I didn't get price reductions after either survey. I did have the current owners make some simple repairs. I did learn much about the boats, and I received a list of items to be corrected, some immediately, and others to be done either in the off season or at my leisure.