Having been on the receiving end of one $400 boat and two free ones I can authoritatively state that the fears of free boat being a money
pit are grossly overestimated. Well no more and often less than an expensive boat is a money
If one has weekends free, is not afraid to get grease on one's elbows and is on friendly terms with a local boat junkyard most of those boats can be brought to life for suprisingly little effort (i.e. a really good scrubbing and cleaning
and some here and there this and that) and not that much money.
But I also walked away from about a dozen or two of other free or next to free boats in various stages of derelict which were beyond my capacity to ressurect.