My experience with Surveyors (labeit limited experience) is that they have been, in general, an expensive waste of money
A surveyor seems to feel obligated to find a handful of things wrong with the boat, otherwise he isn't doing his job. It doesn't seem to matter if the things that he finds do not reflect at all on the seaworthiness of the boat, nor if he faisl to notice things that might have a significant effect on the weaworthiness... as long as he find a few things to put on his report then he is happy and can charge you the proverbial arm & a leg for his "services" with a clear conscience. Couple this with the fact that the surveyor will never actually take any responsibility for the report nor for failing to notice significant and dangerous deficiencies, but that your insurance company will amost certainly expect you to fix everything on their list prior to insuring and you have, in my opinion, at best a necessary evil, and at worst an umitigated and expensive disaster area.
Take, for example, the purchase
of my boat: The surveyor pointed out a single
sprig on the backstay and recommended replacement, upon which my insurance company insisted. That the backstay is entirely and 100% non-critical on a boat with runners seemed to escape his attention, so I had to fix it at great expense, by coresspondence, prior to my delivery
trip (where I could have done it cheaply and at my leisure in my home port). He did not, however notice that the LPG gas lines from the gas locker were in need of replacement, that the pressure regulator
fitted to the cylinder was so old so as to be no longer legal
(and therefore dangerous), that the bilges under the deck
were full of water, that some of the keel bolts
were fully glassed over, that stern light was not approved for the size of boat, that the through hull
for the sink drain was in dire need of replacement. Fortunately, I did notice most of these things prior to purchase
and fixed those that I could prior to delivery
and those that I couldn't subsequently at my leisure. Nevertheless, it was an interesting exercise in wasting my time and money
, but not an excersise that my insurance company would allow me to neglect.
I have had similar experiences in dealing with surveyors when assisting with purchase or selling of boats for friends too.