the library on the boat

Most mariners would not consider the library on the boat as part of their safety equipment. The self sufficiency that comes with having the right information on board, however, quite often serves to keep a boat, the skipper and the crew out of trouble. And when trouble finds you out on the water, having detailed instructions on how to handle every situation can make the difference between a great outcome and one you’d rather not remember.

This is not to say that when a fire erupts or a crew goes overboard that you should run for the bookshelves to bone up on the best procedures. We hope you’ve studied the pages to understand which emergencies require immediate response and practiced the actions outlined in your books before such an emergency occurs. For other, less menacing emergencies such as groundings, mechanical breakdowns, minor first aid situations or as an arbiter of discussions on rules, the right book can be a lifesaver.

No list of books for a comprehensive onboard library could ever be complete and your personal favorites may differ from the suggestions on The idea is to think about what categories of references may be needed, since each boater’s area will determine the local references he or she will need to carry on board, no mention is made of cruising guides, tide and current tables, almanacs, light lists, coast pilots or sailing directions, even though they should be considered an essential part of the ship’s library.

Cruising Guides to the Southeastern US coastal waters

Boating and Sailing Publishers - Bookstore Distributors and Magazines

Cruising guides

Cruising Guide to Coastal North Carolina

by Claiborne S. Young

The one and only cruising guide devoted exclusively to the wide waters of the Tar Heel State's extensive coastline. Full individual chapters cover the Albemarle Sound, Pamlico Sound, Neuse River, Pamlico River, and Core Sound, respectively. The Morehead City, Beaufort region also receives a chapter of its own. Additionally, readers will discover complete accounts of Elizabeth City, Edenton, Belhaven, Washington, New Bern, Swansboro, Wrightsville Beach, Wilmington, and Southport. Since its original release in 1983, CGNC has gone through ten reprintings and five editions. Without a doubt, this is "the" cruising bible for any serious North Carolina captain. amazon

Cruising Guide from Lake Michigan to Kentucky Lake

by Captain Rick Rhodes

Book Review: This guide contains 205 pages with 70 black and white photographs. The book is segmented into 11 regional chapters, and four "catch-the-flavor" or "how-to" chapters. Many full-page quick-reference visual displays are also presented. The book includes five annotated black and white NOAA chart excepts around Chicago and Lake Michigan. There are also 19 plan-view full-paged sketches of the rivers running from Chicago to western Kentucky. Two schematic drawings depict the elevation drop (or lift) of all the locks along these rivers. There are also 11 tables with bridge type and bridge clearance information on the more than 170 bridges along this route. Two of these tables are two-paged tables covering all the bridges over the Chicago and Calumet Rivers in Chicago.

About 800 miles of inland rivers and waterways were researched. Information on 15 locks and dams, 140 boat launches for trailerable boaters, and hundreds of telephone numbers is presented. This guide also addresses 91 marinas, including 53 fueling locations.

There are three great appendices. One six-page appendix lists all the facility locations -the particular river, the river mileage indicator, and the side of the river bank. Another appendix lists 33 important GPS waypoints along the entire route. The third appendix offers the ten US Government chart book series that are recommended for this voyage.

The author visited and reported on more than 30 colorful cities and town along the way. His fascination and love of local history in each area is fondly woven into this project. Included are many historical anecdotes from Heartland America. Beside history, the book highlights things to do, and places to go.

The facilities at the many marinas and restaurants along the rivers from Chicago to Western Kentucky are presented. Learn about the waterfront accommodation in Peoria, Alton, and Joliet, Illinois as well as near Paducah, Kentucky. In Illinois, the guide also covers a delightful variety of boat-accessible small river towns like Ottawa, Metropolis, Morris, Seneca, Grafton, Hennepin, Henry, Beardstown, Havana, and others. In Missouri, you can also learn about the resilient little Mississippi River towns of Portage des Sioux, and Kimmswick.

The early chapters of this book address the severe flooding that occasionally occurs, the appropriate ways to share the rivers with commercial barge traffic, and procedures on how to properly take a boat through a lock.

Concerns about bridge height clearances and many other nuances for safe navigation are also covered. After these early chapters, the remainder of the book is organized from north to south in eleven chapters. These eleven chapters cover the entire navigable sections of the Chicago, Calumet, Des Plaines and Illinois Rivers, parts of the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers, and the mouth areas of the long Cumberland and Tennessee Rivers.

This is the third published guide by Captain Rick Rhodes. The author has twice sailed to Central America aboard his Morgan Out Island 33-foot sailboat. Beside the Morgan, he has also live-aboard a 28-foot Lyman cruiser. Currently, the author is residing aboard a 25-foot trailerable Nimble Nomad "pocket trawler" in St. Petersburg, Florida. Captain Rhodes has been living on boats for 17 years, minus the time he spent in the Peace Corps in Ecuador. In August 2000, and recovering from malaria-ending Peace Corps service, the author consulted with a renown cruising guide researcher and writer (hint: his initials are C.S.Y.) and learned that there was no advertisement-free guide on this important, and sometimes overlooked, stretch of the "Great Circle Loop." And this one certainly needed doing!

This guide is essential for any boater planning to make this trip, or those wishing to reminisce about an earlier trip. Armchair sailors should also enjoy reading this amazing book. to order: amazon

Cruising the Florida Keys

by Claiborne S. Young and Morgan Stinemetz

Cruising the Florida Keys, is the longest and most comprehensive publication in our series of guide books. It is packed with 556 advertising free pages of information that every cruiser will want to know before beginning their sojourn of these unique Floridian waters. Authors, Claiborne S.

Young and Morgan Stinemetz, have left no stone unturned to bring you the most detailed and in-depth analysis of ALL the waters between Miami and the Dry Tortugas. Both the Hawk Channel and ICW - Florida Bay routes receive full attention, as do all the various channels that connect the two passages. Coupled with local history, restaurant reviews and other shoreside information, we hope you will agree that Cruising The Florida Keys will arm captains with more data than has ever been available before. You can Order by amazon today!

Cruising Guide to Coastal South Carolina and Georgia

by Claiborne S. Young

This new volume is packed with hundreds of critical changes to marinas, aids to navigation and bridges - this is the most important new edition of CGSC-GA since the book's original release in 1985.

?he Watermark Publishing have left no stone unturned to bring you the most detailed and in-depth analysis of ALL the waters between Little River, South Carolina and St. Marys, Georgia. As you would expect, the ICW passage through SC-GA receives exhaustive attention, but no more so than ALL the other coastal waters of the twin states’ coastlines.

This all new, fifth edition includes:

Complete Coverage of the Extensive Navigational Changes in Charleston Harbor and Inlet

- A Thorough Review of the new Inlet Channel at McClellanville
- New Security Limitations on the waters of both the Cooper and Ashley Rivers in Charleston
- For the first time, Lat/Lon positions of ALL marinas in South Carolina and Georgia have been included
- Extensive accounts of the many new and expanded marinas along this stretch of coastline

Exciting reviews of recently opened restaurants in all coastal communities, but particularly Georgetown, Charleston, Beaufort and Savannah
URL’s of ALL marinas along the twin state coastlines that have web sites
An extensive selection of local telephone numbers including rental car agencies, taxi services and marine supply firms

Well, Watermark Publishing could go on and on, but suffice it to say that we are as proud, if not prouder, of this new fifth edition of Cruising Guide to Coastal South Carolina and Georgia than any book ever offered by Watermark Publishing.

They think you will agree that this new volume will be an invaluable addition to every cruiser’s navigational arsenal.

Cruising Guide to the Northern Gulf Coast

2003-2004 Fourth Book Edition

Watermark Publishing announce the release of the fourth edition of our Cruising Guide to the Northern Gulf Coast. This is, without a doubt, the most important new edition of CGNG, since this title's original release in 1991. Just as an example, consider the 576 pages in this fresh edition, as compared to the 432 pages of its immediate predecessor.

Then again, you might want to take note of the all new, and greatly expanded grayscale NOAA chart reproductions to locate marinas and anchorages, plus all-new black and white photographs! Couple all these exciting characteristics with our reports on hundreds of critical changes to marinas, anchorages, aids to navigation and bridges, and you will begin to see why this edition of CGNG is destined to be our most popular version ever of this long popular guide.

To be brutally honest, this new edition of CGNG was delayed a full 24 months beyond our normal update cycle.

This tardiness was the result of investing almost three years in the research and production of our Cruising the Florida Keys, a full year longer than the time we had budgeted. When we finally were able to take up the reins and begin work on the Northern Gulf guide, we found soooo many important changes, that it was practically like starting an entirely new book. Naturally, this took ever more time. Happily though, the delays are only an unhappy memory, and this expanded and thoroughly updated version of CGNG is now a reality.

Coastal Charts for Cruising Guide to Western Florida

by Claiborne S. Young


This publication offers captains plying the western Florida coastline from Cape Sable to St. Marks River, a new and exciting way to plan and execute their time on the water.

What Watermark Publishing have done is to provide full color reproductions of the NOAA charts covering the waters of western Florida in a conveniently paginated, spiral bound book form.

Then, and here is the important part, we have placed unique icons on these charts for marinas, anchorages, repair yards, yacht clubs, navigationally challenging channels, coastal restaurants, lighthouses, and historical points of interest. The anchorage icon is, for instance, an anchor. A unique number appears beside each icon. By turning to a legend in the chartbook, readers will discover on exactly which pages the point of interest indicated by the icon is discussed in our Cruising Guide to Western Florida.

Let's take a real life example. Suppose you were studying the representation of chart 11417 on page 55 of Coastal Charts for Cruising Guide to Western Florida. You notice an interesting anchorage, denoted by an anchor icon, just behind DeSoto Point on the Manatee River. You then take note of the fact that the number "48" appears beside this anchorage icon. By turning to the legend at the back of the chartbook, you discover that anchorage #48 is described on pages 279 and 292 of Cruising Guide to Western Florida. By taking a quick read of these pages, you can determine whether this anchorage is of interest, and whether it is appropriate for your boat's size and draft.

By using these books together, we further believe that captains and navigators will have a very powerful tool at their disposal.

Coastal Charts for Cruising Guide to Western Florida is the first in a whole series of chartbooks. Eventually, there will be a corresponding chartbook for all six of our cruising guides.

Boating & Sailing Magazines

page: 1,2,3

Cruising Guides

The Cruising (boat) guides occupy a special place among books as they are beloved by both book aficionados and boaters. With the increased interest in traveling the world’s waterways in the past few decades, boaters have been blessed with a plethora of new cruising guides. Like every thing else in life, however, there are good guides and poor ones.

Some remote areas of the world like the Red Sea or the coast of Chile may have only one guide available. In this case, the prudent mariner will have the latest edition of that one guide even if it dispenses rather sparse information.

The Popular cruising areas such as the Virgin Islands, Chesapeake or northeastern Mediterranean may have as may as three or four different cruising guides from which to choose. Here, picking the right guide may make your cruise more pleasant and save you money as well.

Even where there are good privately printed cruising guides, you'll want to have the relevant government tide and current tables, light lists, coast pilots or sailing directions, tables of radio navigation aids and the current almanac on board. Where there are no cruising guides available, these govenment publications are a "must have" item rather than a luxury.

Cruising guides serve several functions.

Planning should be one of the most useful tools a cruising guide can perform. First, it allows you to peruse the new cruising ground from your armchair, noting spots you’d like to visit and forming a route commensurate with your boating skills. This can be especially valuable if you are chartering and will be flying into a cruising area strange to you.

Routing is not covered as well in many guides as it should be but the information to formulate your own cruise route is there.

A really great guide lays out ideal two-week, four-week and extended cruises through the covered area, providing you with the best times of year, entry and departure ports, and harbors to visit for each. Lacking this, you must use the information in the guide to make your best estimate. Your route can be planned to take advantage of prevailing winds and abundant services, avoiding long or difficult passages and inhospitable harbors.

Most cruising guides have a front section dedicated entirely to planning. These usually contain detailed discussions of the weather in the area, reliability of local charts, sources of supplies and facilities, and peculiarities of which a boater new to the area would otherwise be unaware. By purchasing the guide first, you'll be able to pack the right clothing, purchase the right charts and stock up with items that might be difficult to obtain once underway.

Conversely, it will keep you from cluttering your boat with fishing gear in an area where fishing is prohibited.

Information in cruising guides runs a gamut from terse text through elaborate tables with fancy icons and on to eloquent descriptions of every detail in the area. Make sure the guide covers your favored activity, whether that is diving, museums, architecture, beachcombing, dining out or just relaxing on the boat. If you like nightlife, be sure the guide offers a selection of places to go after dark.

Many guides defray the cost of printing frequent editions by including large amounts of advertising throughout the pages. Some boaters find this annoying but the ads often provide as much information to the guide as the text does and should not be ignored. Marinas often show aerial pictures of their approaches and docks, and such a picture can truly be worth a thousand words. If your transmission fails in a strange town, the guide text is not likely to be of much help, but the ad for Bob’s Transmission Shop will give you a starting point.

Navigation is one of the prime functions of a good cruising guide once you're on the water. Beyond the big picture used for planning and routing, the best guides have detailed chartlets or sketches of harbor entrances, anchorages, difficult passes or other areas that require vigilant navigation. Some guides offer only poor black-and-white reproductions of government charts. Others offer brilliant color charts with many added details of the best anchorages or trouble spots to be avoided.

A few guides, especially those of enclosed bodies of water such as a river or the Intracoastal Waterway, offer reproductions of all the charts in an area. A few guides have full-sized charts to the area that fold out, these are handy but easily damaged.

More and more guides are becoming available with color aerial photography interspersed with the chartlets. These images are a real boon to boaters as they allow us to see the way a tricky passage or harbor entrance really looks. Pictures bring the dull markings on a chart to life and allow a more natural perspective to most navigators’ mental image of an area.

Buying Tips

Age counts, and cruising guides need to be current. Old, out-of-date guides may cause you much grief as you find that channels have moved, buoyage has changed, marine service companies are out of business or local rules and regulations have changed. Many guides to popular areas are reprinted every year and while it may not be necessary to replace yours each season, don’t let more than three years go by.
Price is irrelevant in cruising guides. If it's the only guide available to an area, buy it. If there is more than one, let the quantity and quality of the charts in the guides guide your decision. Every sketch or visual aid in the guide will potentially save you buying a government chart-the very best guides to Europe cost nearly $100 each but save five times that amount in charts.

Look for quality information and beware of pages filled with useless data. A 300-page guide with 200 pages filled with reprints of the government light lists, tide and current tables or celestial navigation information is of very little use.

Look at the guide to see if it includes waypoints, whether they are added to the charts or printed in a table or appendix.

Since most boaters today rely on either Loran or GPS for navigation, having the waypoints makes a cruise much easier. The waypoints can be loaded in the planning and routing stages before the cruise begins, saving your time underway for the enjoyment of your new surroundings.

Look at the general layout when choosing between cruising guides.

The coverage should move in a logical fashion from one end of the cruising ground to the other and not jump around. Be sure to look carefully at the table of contents in amazon indices and any appendices. All the information in the world is of no use if you can't find it when you need it.