Gifts for boat lovers: Top ten books for boaters

It’s that time of year again when we are on the lookout for gifts for our loved ones. Usually it’s hard to go wrong with a book. If someone in your life has a love of all things nautical, here is a collection of books large and small, new and old, fiction and nonfiction that should appeal. If you are the person who loves all things boat-related, why not share this list with your friends and family, no doubt they’ll get the hint!

TIDES: The Science and Spirit of the Ocean
By Jonathan White

In August 2018 we had Jonathan White visit our booth at the Maine Boat & Home show, where he signed copies of his excellent book. The book proved incredibly popular with attendees, and one of our favorites of the past 18 months.

By John Stilgoe

This book is great fun to just pick up and browse, a wonderful collection of bikinis, gunkholes, pirates and more. Throughout Stilgoe enlightens us with such editorial gems as the beach is “the last place in which adult Americans walk barefoot.” Shoes on or off, this is a great read.

The Boy, Me and the Cat
By Henry Plummer

Plummer was a wonderful observer of both the natural world and the societies the crew interacted with along the way. What has always resonated with me are his obvious great love for his son, and his father’s knowledge of how special this father-son adventure is. In simple plain language, the words of a sailor, Plummer tells the tale of father and son, the sea and shipwreck, and mission attempted and accomplished.

Six Frigates: The Epic History of the Founding of the U.S. Navy
By Ian W. Toll

The story of the first ships built by the United States government. A must read for fans of naval history.

The boat Who Wouldn’t Float
By Farley Mowat

A witty tale about what might be the worst boat ever made, and the daring crew who kept her afloat.

A Unit of Water, A Unit of Time: Joel White’s Last Boat
By Douglas Whynott

Joel White, son of author E. B. White, was a master wooden boatbuilder. Here, Douglas Whynott follows his last design from sketch to launch; and in the process tells the tale of an artist at his peak.

Trustee from the Tool Room
By Nevil Shute

A fiction book charting a great sail across Pacific. An ordinary man must rise to the occasion to protect his niece when his sister’s boat wrecks in the middle of the ocean.

Swallows and Amazons
By Arthur Ransome

First in a series of classic children’s book with great, authentic boat details. Originally published in the 1930’s, this book and the subsequent stories are perennial favorites of the young, and young-at-heart, seeking tales of boating adventures.

Barons of the Sea
By Steven Ujifusa

For the review on our sister site For me some of the most fun in Barons of the Sea were the details. Ujifusa peppers the book with tidbits of fascinating information. For instance, the phrase holding fast: “As for the iron bolts, corrosion (to a point) was a positive thing: when exposed to the sea air, the iron bolts would expand in their holes, adding to the strength of the connection, something shipyard workers would call “holding fast.” Also holding fast would be tattooed onto the knuckles of the shipmen as homage to the lines they would attach to themselves so as not to be swept off the deck in harsh weather.

Seaweed Chronicles – A World at the Water’s Edge
by Susan Shetterly

The past and the future of humanity’s relationship with seaweed – this book looks at the environmental, economical and personal aspects of humble seaweed.