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Boating Basics: Books to Read Before You Set Foot in a Boat
No one is suggesting that a novice boating enthusiast can learn everything there is to know about boating by reading a book, but the fact is that picking up a volume from an expert with years of boating experience can potentially save newbies a lot of false starts and, potentially, some dangerous situations.
Boating 101: Essential Lessons for Boaters, by Roger Siminoff (International Marine / Ragged Mountain Press, 1999) covers basic knowledge needed for every kind of boating, recreational and otherwise. From boating etiquette on the water to using navigational charts, from docking to anchoring, and even warnings about adverse weather conditions, this handy book answers a lot of questions that beginners may not even have the background to know they should ask. A great book for a beginning boater, it also has wisdom to offer those who’ve been boating for years.
The book Sailing Fundamentals, by Gary Jobson (Touchstone, Revised Edition, 1998), is billed by the publisher as the “fastest, easiest, most systematic way to learn basic sailing and basic coastal cruising.” Approved by the American Sailing Association (ASA) and The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, this is the perfect book for beginning sailors. Author Dobson was part of the winning 1977 America’s Cup crew and lends an enormous amount of expertise to all the basics of learning to sail. This book is a great assist for sailors who want to qualify for ASA certification.
There’s probably not a sailing enthusiast alive who doesn’t eventually want to own his or her own boat; the book Your First Sailboat: How to Find and Sail the Right Boat for You, by Daniel Spurr (International Marine / Ragged Mountain Press, 2004), will set you on the right path. The book covers the various types of sailboats available, discusses the differences between them and the ways they handle, and gives the reader lots of information designed to decide what sailboat design meets the needs of the individual sailing fan.
While the books mentioned above certainly don’t take the place of actually getting out on the water and gaining hands-on, practical experience, the information contained in them certainly takes some of the mystery out of the sailing experience and saves the beginning boater a lot of time, and perhaps even steers them away from some deadly errors.
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