While boating is a fun activity enjoyed by thousands, it is also a sport that carries a weight of responsibility. Each year, people are injured in boating accidents, many preventable. If you are new to boating, its essential that you are familiar with boating skill and safety. Fortunately, there are several books available that provide a comprehensive overview of boating skill and seamanship. Several of these can be studied in advance, and there are also books available that provide quick reference guides while out on the water.
For a comprehensive reference, one of the best books available is Chapman Piloting & Seamanship 65th Edition, by Elbert S. Maloney. This is the new edition that was released in 2006. This book has a wide variety of full color illustrations and charts, and updated information on newer technology like GPS systems and fish finding equipment. This book is the standard reference for private boating schools, and is the officially recommended book for the U.S. Coast Guard's boating education classes. If you want to know what the boating professionals know, this book is a good resource.
If you like practical applications of boating concepts, The Practical Encyclopedia of Boating: An A-Z Compendium of Seamanship, Boat Maintenance, Navigation, and Nautical Wisdom, by John Vigor, is a handy problem-solving reference guide. It covers all aspects of recreational boating, including maintenance, navigation, seamanship, and more. The book's focus is for the recreational boater, and it is well-written and easy to understand. If your a complete beginner, it will be a reference you'll be able to delve into on a regular basis.
A great choice to take with you on board is The Boater's Pocket Reference: Your Comprehensive Resource for Boats and Boating, by Thomas A. McEwen. Its a small size size (3" x 5" x 1")guide with over 800 pages filled with essential information on boating regulations, conversion tables, piloting, and more. With so much boating information, it can be difficult to remember everything, and this little book allows you to take it with you and find it quickly and easily. Its a book you may want to permanently leave in your boat, so it will always be there for quick access to needed information.
There are many boating books available for the novice boater. However, getting started with a few complete boating guides will help you over the knowledge curve quickly and easily. While boating need not take years to master, there is skill and seamanship involved. By taking the time to become familiar with boating techniques and safety, you'll be able to enjoy boating for many years to come.