A survey isn't required for insurance, at least for a $6500 boat. Ask me how I know. IMHO, if the rigging is up and it has an outboard, survey it yourself, but ONLY if you are handy. As an engineer/too-cheap-to-pay-anybody-else-to-do-what-I-can-do I do just about everything myself, from electrical to car repairs to installing my own furnace (had a heating guy check it out, adjust and start up). This may put some polish on my brass ones or add to my stupidity, take your pick. But if you are capable of many repairs yourself, the 600 bucks could be new rigging or a used outboard. Now, guys who are about to spout prices, look at the size of the boat he is looking at. I bought my Lancer 25 for $2200 in sail-away condition. Included a dinghy and two 8HP motors. I've since replaced the rigging and made a new mainsail, painted and wired a couple of items. But for the most part, as is. And I haven't sailed it a single NM without full insurance.
Hmmm... were we separated at Birth? My Parents used to kid me about my Phantom Brother... when one is raised as a lone son, (Of a lone son, of a lone son, of a lone son...), in a household of Sisters, and with a fair number of Aunts, but only one Uncle, whom I never met until I was 32, there were times when I needed a Phantom Brother; preferably older, even if only by a few minutes.
("Dammit Dippy! You've been three kinds of Technician, three kinds of Operator, two kinds of Engineer, a Physicist, a Programmer, a Manager, a Machinist, and a Bartender. Just pick one, and stick with it! By the way...Could you spot me a Fiver?")
(I know _exactly_ what my Phantom Brother is like. He takes after my Sisters.)
I looked at a Lancer 25 nearly three years back. The Seller was very honest- there had been a leak in the decking around the bulkhead, so the bulkhead was replaced, and the fiberglass repaired by Svendsen's, who did their usual good job; there was little evidence of repair. However, the boat stank down below, under the hot Spring sun, of Formaldehyde and Acetone...
Anyway, Lancer 25s are nice boats, with some innovations, and this one came with a trailer, all for an asking $2500. But when it came to a Sea Trial, or rather an Estuary Trial, the Nissan outboard refused to cooperate. I was quite willing to push the boat out of berth, and just go by sail alone, but he wasn't. So we parted. (A couple of weeks later, I got an email- the Nissan was freshly rebuilt, and the asking price was still the same. But I had moved on.)
I looked at another Lancer, a 27, a few weeks later, but the Mercury outboard also refused to cooperate. Just as well, the Seller was clearly insane, jumping up and down by the stern, shaking a jerry can furiously above his head, while kicking the cowling. (The Fuel Tank was a Biohazard Zone; had been for years. Any discussion on the subject left me feeling that he would eventually do to me, what he was doing to the jerry can.)
This pattern repeated a couple of more times, a moldy Santana 35, a Marieholm... (We all know that Swiss Cheese has a lot of holes. So did the Marieholm Swedish Saildrive housing...)
The last boat, the Beneteau... We got along just right from the start. Literally. After going over all the contents, it was time to start the Volvo. The Owner was going to do what he had done for 25 years, until I stopped him. I showed him what the green cranking handle was for, and I showed him how to tickle the hidden little green lever. Instead of cranking away for half a minute as he was used to, it started right up on the second revolution. "Well, I never..."
This nonsense started precisely three years back, this week; I had been very ill, and I was just slightly feeling better. (Inner Ear Herpes. Stop! Laughing!!) I had some weird dreams, and one of those dreams was of one our old Sailing Club's West Wight Potters. So I feebly started looking for a Potter as a getting-well present to myself... and I ended up with a Beneteau. (I also dreamt of Planes, but like with Motorcycles, once falling off of one a couple of times, I began to reconsider. Still, the Ercoupe is my very favorite plane. The Beneteau Owner preferred the later Mooneys.)
"Now, guys who are about to spout prices, look at the size of the boat he is looking at."
The problem here is that Surveying doesn't even remotely scale to value. The price for a Survey on a three decade old thirty footer is roughly the same as on a thirty footer two years out from a recent Boat Show. (Marine Insurance _does_ scale; it has for centuries. It has to.)
I gave some advice earlier about getting a Surveyor who charges by time, instead of by the foot. Times are a little lean now for legitimate Naval Architects and Naval Engineers, and they are eminently qualified to conduct Surveys... Instead of some self-shingled Quack who cozies up to Brokers and Bankers.
"And I haven't sailed it a single NM without full insurance."
If my Beneteau sank tomorrow without a trace, well, I can afford that. Rethink Potters. But if with my usual clumsiness, I ram the Beneteau into a much larger Beneteau, with a much richer owner, who will almost certainly be a Lawyer... that I can't afford. Thus Insurance.