Relieve Cabin Fever with a Good Read This Winter

Now that the holidays are over and it’s too cold to enjoy boating to its full extent, why not keep your boating skills sharp through reading and re-education.

For some heavy reading, the consummate compendium on boating and seamanship is “Chapman Piloting,” the 66th edition published by Hearst Marine Books. This comprehensive resource is recommended by both the U.S. Power Squadron and the USCG Auxiliary as a reference.

“Chapman Piloting” covers all the basic topics of boating and seamanship (weather, handling, docking, anchoring, knots, etc.), a broad review of related information, and the etiquette of proper boating, including flag display and dockside behavior.

I would recommend this publication to any boater, new or experienced, who is interested in pursuing the details of boating and seamanship. It makes a complete library almost by itself.

Chapman Piloting : Seamanship & Small Boat Handling (66th Edition)
by Elbert S. Maloney, Charles Frederic Chapman, Published by Hearst Books, Reviewed by: Dr. Steve Batson
You can order Chapman Piloting from right now

If you have been following the BoatSafe Blog, you know that I have published a couple of articles warning of the dangers of relying solely on GPS as your primary navigation source. Why not use the winter to learn or relearn additional navigation skills, to get you from one place to another without depending on GPS?

The Nautical Know How navigation course is a combination of a printed text/workbook for home study, sample and real time chart work, online animated demonstrations and testing, and email instructor assistance.

Topics covered in the course include:

  • Introduction to Navigation
  • Understanding Latitude & Longitude
  • Reading the Nautical Chart
  • Finding Latitude, Longitude & Distance
  • Finding Direction
  • Distance, Speed & Time Calculations
  • Getting to Know Your Magnetic Compass
  • Dead Reckoning
  • Two & Three Bearing Fixes
  • Running Fixes
  • Finding Set & Drift
  • Estimated Position
  • Finding Course to Steer
  • Finding Relative Bearings
  • Tide and Current Calculations
  • Publications: Coast Pilot, Light List, Local Notice to Mariners
  • Publication Excerpts
  • Putting It All Together
  • Final Exam

For additional information and to order the course go to:

If you’re more in a philosophical mood you might want to check out the following:

First You Have to Row a Little Boat : Reflections on Life & Living
by Richard Bode
cover Jon Ayers sends the following review:

It’s really a book about life, in which the author relates what he learned through his experiences with small boats while growing up on the south shore of Long Island, and how those experiences guided him later in life.

In a questionnaire sent three years ago to all owners of Nonsuch yachts, which generated some 300 responses, this book was mentioned as a favorite more than any other.
It’s what I would call a ‘dear’ book, in that there is no single overpowering message, but when you finish it, you realize that you have thought a great deal about your own life. You can order this book from

If your boat sports an outboard motor you might want to read: The Outboard Boater’s Handbook : Advanced Seamanship and Practical Skills by David R. Getchell , Sr. (Editor)
The Outboard Boater's Handbook: Advanced Seamanship and Practical SkillsOwners of larger boats have their bibles, but, until now, outboard boaters have been neglected. This comprehensive manual shows you how to go places and do things you never thought possible in a small outboard motorboat. Covers all the popular types – and some alternative craft – as well as methods that might change your entire boating outlook.
Topics include

  • judging a boat’s potential based on design and construction
  • how to upgrade an older boat
  • how to handle a little boat in big seas, surf or shallow water
  • how to navigate
  • how to read the weather
  • how to head upriver or offshore
  • how to trailer your boat
  • how to manage and equip it for camp cruising
  • how to care for boat and motor

You can order The Outboard Boater’s Handbook from

When a Loose Cannon Flogs a Dead Horse There's the Devil to Pay: Seafaring Words in Everyday SpeechWhen a Loose Cannon Flogs a Dead Horse There’s the Devil to Pay : Seafaring Words in Everyday Speech

by Olivia A. Isil, Paperback, Published by Intl Marine Pub

Ever wondered about the origin of big-wig, flogging a dead horse, mind your P’s and Q’s, or three sheets to the wind? These commonly used colloquialisms all have nautical backgrounds and entertaining histories. This collection of more than 250 of these fascinating words and phrases also includes yarns, legends, superstitions, weather lore, poetry, rhymes, songs, and more.

You can order When a Loose Canon Flogs a Dead Horse from

For other books recommended by visit:

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Filed under Boat Maintenance, Boat Operation, Boating Safety, Navigation

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