Boat Book Recommendations

Whether you are a weekend boater or a full time cruiser, there is generally not a lot of room on board for books. With that in mind, we have created a very short list of boating books to keep on board plus a much larger list of books for the home library.   We own copies all of these books including the ones that we 'keeping on board’ our own sail boat (“Esprit", a Mariner 39).

The book categorized into the following sections:

  • Marine Electrical Books

  • Maintenance and Reference Books

  • Voyaging Handbooks and Outfitting Books

  • Guides and Geo-Specific Handbooks

  • Cruising chronicles

  • Seamanship/Sailing/Skills/Navigation Books

  • Weather Books

  • Galley Books

  • First Aid and Emergency Books

  • Languages Books

  • Diving, Fish ID, and Fishing Books

  • Pets Onboard Books

The "General Boating Books for the Home Library” section is in the process of being formatted and will be available soon.  

Note: most of the books below have links to  This gives you an opportunity to gain further information about the book, read reviews and optionally purchase the book and gives us a small percentage of earnings for our Development and Cruising Kitty, which we thank you in advance for.

Marine Electrical Books

If you were to keep a few marine electrical books on your boat, we’d recommend (click title for link):

More electrical books:

The 12 Volt Doctors Project Book by Edgar J. Beyn


Boatowner’s Mechanical and Electrical Manual, latest edition 

How to Maintain, Repair, and Improve Your Boat’s Essential Systems [Hardcover]
By Nigel Calder

A comprehensive guide to boat systems and a must have book on any boat. This book will be a great help in repairing or re-doing or adding to your boats electrical system in a manner that also lets you also understand and choose what technical aspects apply to your situation. Calder covers how things work, regulations that might apply depending on your home port, design considerations, and practical pros and cons.

If you are new to Mr. Calder’s books, than I recommend that you also look at his other books (i.e. Marine Diesel Mechanics, Cruising Handbook, How to Read a Nautical Chart, etc.).


Boatowner’s Illustrated Electrical Handbook, second edition 
By Charlie Wing

This is an older book that still does an excellent job at covering a boat’s electrical system for all levels of readers. This book is full of detailed information on DC and AC wiring. It covers the basics, the whys and even has electronic installations, alternative power and do-it-yourself projects.

Maintenance, Upgrades, and Reference Books

Boater’s Pocket Reference

By Thomas McEwen

If you could only have two book on your boat, Nigel’s book would be first and this might be the 2nd. This small (3“ x 5” x 1") book is easy to fit but is also available in a digital format for the iPhone. Not only a handy Reference (facts, figures, formulas, graphs, tables and regulations) but also offers how-to information. Topics include Boat Types, Rules and Regulations, Seamanship, Piloting and Navigation, Knots, Weather, Mechanical, Electrical, Communications, Trailering, General reference and more.

Voyaging and Outfitting Handbooks 

  • The Voyager's Handbook: The Essential Guide to Blue Water Cruising by Beth Leonard

  • Nigel Calder's Cruising Handbook: A Compendium for Coastal and Offshore Sailors by Nigel Calder

  • The Liveaboard Report: A Boat Dweller's Guide to What Works and What Doesn't by Charlie Wing

  • Sail Away!: A Guide to Outfitting and Provisioning for Cruising by Paul Shard, Sheryl Shard

  • Sell Up & Sail by Bill Cooper, Laurel Cooper

  • Tropical Cruising Handbook by Mark Smaalders, Kim des Rochers

  • Ready for Sea: How to Outfit the Modern Cruising Sailboat and Prepare Your Vessel and Yourself for Extended Passage-Making and Living Aboard by Tor Pinney

  • All in the Same Boat : Living Aboard and Cruising by Tom Neale

  • Comfortable Cruising, Around North and Central America by Liza Copeland

  • Cruising for Cowards: Strategies, Boats and Equipment Preferred by Experienced Cruisers by Liza Copeland, Andy Copeland

Guides and Geo-specific Handbooks

  • The Gentleman's Guide to Passages South by Bruce Van Sant

  • Tricks of the Trades by Bruce Van Sant

  • Caribbean Passagemaking: A Cruiser's Guide by Les Weatheritt

  • On and Off the Beaten Path: The Central and Southern Bahamas Guide : From South Florida to the Turks and Caicos by Stephen J. Pavlidis

  • Explorer Chartbook Far Bahamas by Monty and Sara Lewis

  • The Exuma Guide: A Cruising Guide to the Exuma Cays : Approaches, Routes, Anchorages, Dive Sights, Flora, Fauna, History, and Lore of the Exuma Cays by Stephen J. Pavlidis

  • Dozier's Waterway Guide Bahamas 2011 by Waterway Guide Publications, Dozier's Waterway Guide

  • Dozier's Waterway Guide Southern 2011: Florida? by Gary Reich

  • The Rough Guide to the Caribbean 2 by Undeleeb Din, Natalie Folster, Sean Harvey, S. E. Kramer, Emma Lozman, Benedict Mander, Fiona McAuslan, Matt Norman, Kevin Revolinski, Lesley Anne Rose

  • Yachtsman's Guide to the Bahamas by Thomas Daly

  • The Atlantic Sailor's Handbook by Alastair Buchan

  • The Cruising Guide to Abaco, Bahamas: 2012 by Steve Dodge

  • Cruising guide to florida keys by Frank M. Papy

  • The Intracoastal Waterway, Norfolk to Miami: The Complete Cockpit Cruising Guide, Sixth Edition by Bill Moeller, John Kettlewell

Cruising chronicles

  • An Embarrassment of Mangoes: A Caribbean Interlude by Ann Vanderhoof

  • Living A Dream by Suzanne Giesemann

  • There Be No Dragons: How to Cross a Big Ocean in a Small Sailboat by Reese Palley

  • I Don't Do Portholes by Gladys Walker, Iris Corimer

  • It's Your Boat Too: A Woman's Guide to Greater Enjoyment on the Water by Suzanne Giesemann

  • The Cruising Woman's Advisor, Second Edition by Diana Jessie

  • The Cruising Woman's Advisor: How to Prepare for the Voyaging Life by Diana Jessie

  • Escape From Someday Isle the best of living abroad autographed by Linda Ridihalgh by edited by Linda Ridihalgh

  • Sensible Cruising: The Thoreau Approach by Don Casey, Lew Hackler

  • Steady as She Goes: Women's Adventures at Sea by Barbara Sjoholm

  • Island Hopping To The Caribbean by David Lavigne

Seamanship/Sailing/Skills/Navigation Books

  • Storm Tactics Handbook: Modern Methods of Heaving-to for Survival in Extreme Conditions, 3rd Edition by Lin Pardey, Larry Pardey

  • The Complete Book of Anchoring and Mooring by Earl R. Hinz

  • The Complete Guide to Knots and Knot Tying by Geoffrey Budworth

  • The Splicing Handbook: Techniques for Modern and Traditional Ropes, Second Edition by Barbara Merry, John Darwin

  • The One-Minute Guide to the Nautical Rules of the Road [1-MIN GT THE NAUTICAL RULES OF] [Paperback] by Charlie'(Author) Wing

  • The Complete Sailor: Learning the Art of Sailing by David Seidman

  • Offshore Sailing: 200 Essential Passagemaking Tips by William Seifert, Daniel Spurr

  • Reed's Nautical Almanac: Caribbean 2005 by Carl Herzog

  • Skyguide: A Field Guide to the Heavens by Mark Chartrand

  • Navigation Rules by U.S. Coast Guard

  • How to Read a Nautical Chart : A Complete Guide to the Symbols, Abbreviations, and Data Displayed on Nautical Charts by Nigel Calder

  • The Navigator's Handbook: Essential Methods and Equipment--And How to Use Them to Go Anywhere at Sea by Jeff Toghill

  • The Official Guide to Small Boat Navigation by Charles, Jr. Farrell

  • Offshore Cruising Encyclopedia-II by Linda Dashew, Steve Dashew

Weather Books

  • The Weather Machine by Nigel Calder

  • The Sailor's Weather Guide by Jeff Markell

  • Coastal and Offshore Weather, the Essential Handbook by Chris Parker

  • The Concise Guide to Caribbean Weather by David Jones, Bob Nock, Mary Finley

  • Guide to Weather Forecasting: All the Information You'll Need to Make Your Own Weather Forecast by Storm Dunlop

Galley Books

  • The Care And Feeding of the Sailing Crew by Lin Pardey, Larry Pardey

  • Reluctant Cook: The non-cook's cookbook by Jane Gibb

  • Cruising Chef Cookbook, 2nd ed. by Michael Greenwald

  • Kitchen Afloat: Galley Management and Meal Preparation by Joy Smith

  • Island fare Cookbook - Cuisine for Cruisers & Light Fare for Landlubbers

  • Recipes from a Very Small Island by Linda Greenlaw, Martha Greenlaw

First Aid and Emergency Books

  • On-board Emergency Reference by Tony Meisel

  • Marine Medicine: A Comprehensive Guide, 2nd Ed by Eric Weiss

Language Books

  • Wicked Spanish by Howard Tomb

  • Open Door to French by Margarita Madrigal, Colette Dulac

  • Jiffy Phrasebook French [Book Only] by Langenscheidt

  • Spanish for Cruisers: The Boater's Complete Language Guide for Spanish-speaking Destinations, 2nd Edition by Kathy Parsons

  • French for Cruisers: The Boater's Complete Language Guide for French Waters by Kathy Parsons

  • Spanish Phrases For Dummies Mini Edition by Jessica Langemeier

Diving,  Fish ID, and Fishing books

  • Tales From the Reef: Real Life Stories That Will Make You a Better Diver by Brad Neat

  • Complete Guide to Diving and Snorkelling the Bahamas by Lawson Wood

  • The Guide to Diving and Snorkeling in the British Virgin Islands, Second Edition by Jeff Williams

  • The Cave Divers by Robert F. Burgess

  • Dangerous Sea Life of the West Atlantic, Caribbean, and Gulf of Mexico: A Guide for Accident Prevention and First Aid by Edwin S Iversen, Renate H Skinner

  • Fishwatchers guide to west Atlantic coral reefs. by Charles C. G. Scott, Peter, Chaplin

  • Reef Fish Behavior: Florida, Caribbean, Bahamas by Paul Humann

  • Reef Fish Identification: Florida, Caribbean, Bahamas by Paul Humann, Ned DeLoach

  • The Cruiser's Handbook of Fishing by Scott Bannerot, Wendy Bannerot

The Cruiser's Handbook of Fishing
By Scott Bannerot, Wendy Bannerot
Reef Fish Identification: Florida, Caribbean, Bahamas
By Paul Humann, Ned DeLoach
The Cave Divers
By Robert F. Burgess

Pets Onboard Books (these are the books available)

Fun, Entertaining, and/or Educational:

I love reading boat stories, boat adventures, cozy boat mysteries, history and about marine wildlife.

General Boating Books To Keep in Your Home Library

For those not constrained by the space limitations of a boat, here is a general list of boating books we’d   recommend for your home library:  [Coming Soon, still indexing]