Trawler aficionados have discovered a variety of popular books, movies and music selections that seem to make their way aboard just about every boat out cruising. Not counting charts and guide books (which are essential reading, but typically don’t qualify as “entertainment”) this is a collection of some of my favorite “leisure resources” – picked up through time aboard with fellow cruisers – that should provide you some good entertainment and education while afloat. Whether you have hard copies or keep your library on an iPad, iPod, Kindle, PDF’s or another device, it is nice to be able to find some time to kick back and enjoy arm chair boating…

Back in 2002 I was a crew member aboard the Nordhavn 40 ATW (Around the World) adventure from Barbados through the Panama Canal I used part of my daily reports to tell the world what music we were playing on board. It is amazing to think that now you can be out cruising, and when within range pick up Sirius satellite radio to listen to your favorite music or catch a sporting or news event. If you have the internet you can listen to Pandora. Some people pass time at watch listening to books on tape (as long as they don’t get distracted from their primary duty of running the ship).

From time to time I like to write up a review of a good read and you will find some of those recommendations to download in this section of the JMYS.com website.

Here I present few of my favorite boating books, movies and music to enjoy when away from land. It’s hard to know what others will like and a list like this can never be complete, but I hope it will be a good place for you to start assembling your own Ship’s library of favorite entertainment. Naturally I’m always interested in what others enjoy (and am sorry if you don’t like some of my selections, but that is what makes these summaries interesting) so please email me with your media recommendations. I’m sure there are many great books, movies and music that I have overlooked or may not been aware of. Hopefully I’ll be able to add your favorites as this list grows!



Nautical and Boating Books

Preparation for Cruising
  • Voyaging Under Power – (editions 1 – 4) – by Robert Beebe and Denis Umstot 4th edition
  • Advanced First Aid Afloat – by Peter Eastman
  • The Voyagers Handbook – by Beth A. Leonard
  • Cruising Routes of the World – by Rod Heikel and Andy O’Grady
  • Ocean Passages and Landfalls – by Rod Heikel and Andy O’Grady
  • The book of Navigation – by Tim Bartlett
  • Celestial Navigation Made Easy – by Francois Meyrier
  • Changing Course –by Debra Cantrell
  • Stapleton’s Powerboat Bible – by Sid Stapleton
  • Boat Owner’s Mechanical and Electrical Manual – by Nigel Calder
  • Nigel Calder’s Cruising Handbook – by Nigel Calder
  • Seaworthiness – by C. A. Marchaj
  • Life is a Journey, Why not Live it Aboard a Trawler? John and Maria Torelli – *Click to download review
  • World Cruising Handbook – Jimmy Cornell
  • World Cruising Routes – Jimmy Cornell
  • Offshore Cruising Encyclopedia – Steve and Linda Dashew
  • The American Practical Navigator – Nathaniel Bowditch
  • Chapman’s Piloting and Seamanship – by Charles B. Husick
  • The Annapolis book of Seamanship – by John Rousmaniere
  • The Complete book of anchoring and Mooring – by Earl R. Hinz
  • Powerboat Handling Illustrated – by Robert Sweet
  • The Troller Yacht Book – by George Buehler
  • The Radar Book – by Kevin Monaghan
  • Weather: A Visual Guide – by Bruce Buckley and Richard Whitaker
  • The Book of Navigation – by Tim Bartlett
  • The Essential Knot Book for Boats – by Colin Jarman
  • Extended Power Cruising – by Marlin and Joan Schuetz
  • Celestial Navigation in a Nutshell – by Hewitt Schlereth
  • Tropical Cruising Handbook – by Mark Smaalders and Kim des Rochers
  • The Gentleman’s Guide to Passages South – by Bruce Van Sant
  • Coastal Cruising Under Power – by Gene Hamilton
  • USCG rules of the road book – by Dept of Homeland Security – downloadable as a PDF
  • Your Boat’s Systems Inside and Out – Available fall 2015 – by Steve D’Antonio

Boating Catalogs

  • Defender Marine Catalog
  • Landfall Navigation Catalog
  • West Marine Catalog

Boating Adventure Books

  • Alaska on our Minds – by Dr. William “Buddy” Bethea
  • The Unexpected Circumnavigation Part 1 – by Christi Grab – *Click to download review
  • The Unexpected Circumnavigation Part 2 – by Christi Grab – *Click to download review
  • A Prairie Chicken Goes to Sea – by Margo Wood
  • The Other Side of the Ice – by Sprague Theobald
  • Passage to Juneau – Jonathan Raban
  • An Embarrassment of Mangoes – by Ann Vanderhoof
  • From Family to Crew – by James Ellingford
  • Honey, Let’s Get a Boat – by Ron and Eva Stob
  • Cruising the Big U. – by Ade and Jo Salzer
  • Kon Tiki – by Thor Heyerdahl
  • Voyaging to the Mediterranean under power – by Mary Umstot – *Click to download review
  • Jenny’s Journey – by David A. Schramm – *Click to download review
  • Life is a Cruise – by Lawrence Rick – *Click to download review
  • Longitude – by Dava Sobel
  • The Riddle of the Compass – by Amir D. Aczel
  • Adrift – by Stephen Callahan
  • The Perfect Storm – by Sebastian Junger
  • The Path between the Seas – by David McCullough
  • The Aubrey–Maturin series of novels – by Patrick O’Brian\
  • Crossing an Ocean under Power – by Ken Williams – *Click to download review
  • The Great Siberian Sushi Run – by Ken Williams
  • Cruising under power – Pacific coasts of Mexico and Central America – by Ken Williams

Boating Fiction

  • Clive Cussler – Dirk Pitt series
  • Tortuga Gold – by Wes DeMott – *Click to download review
  • *click to download review
  • Red Herring – by Clyde Ford – *Click to download review
  • John D. MacDonald – Travis McGee series
  • Ted Bell – Alexander Hawke series
  • Voyage – by Sterling Hayden

Boating Classics

  • Captains Courageous – by Rudyard Kipling
  • Treasure Island – by Robert Louis Stevenson
  • Swiss Family Robinson – by Johann David Wyss
  • Moby Dick – by Herman Melville
  • The Old Man and the Sea – by Ernest Hemingway
  • The Sea Wolf – by Jack London
  • 20,000 Leagues under the Sea – by Jules Verne
  • Robinson Crusoe – by Daniel Defoe
  • Two Years before the Mast – Richard Henry Dana
  • The Riddle of the Sands – by Erskine Childers

Boating magazines

  • Ocean Navigator
  • PassageMaker
  • Power and Motor Yacht
  • Sea
  • Pacific Yachting
  • Cruising Outpost
  • Yachting
  • Chesapeake Bay Magazine
  • Latitude 38

Movies / Videos that focus on or touch on boating

  • Captain Ron
  • Endless Summer (surfing)
  • Five Summer Stories (surfing)
  • Master and Commander
  • The Perfect Storm
  • Caddy Shack (small boating parts that are classic!)
  • Das Boot
  • The African Queen
  • The Hunt for Red October
  • Mutiny on the Bounty
  • Pirates of the Caribbean (all of them)
  • White Squall
  • Dead Calm
  • Waterworld
  • Cape Fear
  • Romancing the Stone
  • The Mosquito Coast
  • The Caine Mutiny
  • Titanic

Boating Themed Music (Artists and Albums – too many one – off songs)

  • Crosby Stills and Nash – CSN
  • Loggins and Messina – Full Sail
  • Roxy Music – Avalon
  • Little Feat – Sailing Shoes
  • Jimmy Buffet – full catalog
  • Beach Boys
  • Eric Stone
  • Jim Morris
  • Eileen Quinn
  • Kenny Chesney

Games and Puzzles (no nautical theme, just compact and easy to stow)

  • Boggle
  • Wii
  • Chess and Checkers
  • Backgammon
  • Yahtzee
  • Sudoku
  • Crosswords
  • Battleship
  • Jigsaw puzzles
  • Rubik’s Cube
  • Windshifts
  • Mindblocks (I know the inventor!)