Thursday 20 June 2013

Book Reviewsday Tuesday*: Boater's Pocket Reference: The Beer Bet Book.

     * I started  writing this post on Tuesday, so it counts.  pbbbth. 

  "There's no need for argument, there's no argument at all..."
                                                             - Van Morrison

           True story:

             Whiskeyjack  is in the slings, just about ready to get wet (which is not nearly as kinky as it sounds).                              Rod, the crew I had shanghai'd to help get her into her slip was busy gearing up,  inventorying and loading the boat, while I was hanging canvas or drinking beer or something equally vital, and asked me,
             "Where's your paddle?"
               "You need one aboard to be legal on a boat this length, don't you?"
               Hmmmm.  Good question, and frankly (to my chagrin)  I didn't have the answer off the top of my head.
                I thought back a few seasons:
                Whiskeyjack didn't have one when we bought her.
                 I'm pretty anal about making sure we meet the letter of the boat safety equipment law, and didn't add a paddle to her stores when we outfitted her for our first season, all those years ago.
                So, here we are today, paddle-less.  I was pretty sure we did not need a paddle to be legal.
                 Pretty sure.
                 But not positive.
                 And I couldn't explain why  I was pretty sure.
                 I said as much.
                 Rod jogged home and grabbed a paddle.
                 (Rod lives enviably close to the boat yard.)

                 Splash Day usually sees Whiskeyjack getting hull-wet in a pretty stripped down state.  minimum equipment, virtually zero stores.
                  No books other than manuals and logs.

                   If I had had my Boater's Pocket Reference  handy-  I could have saved Rod a trip:

                 We don't need a paddle, because we have an anchor.

                   Thomas McEwen  has compiled a clever little compendium of boating knowledge that should be aboard every boat.  While small in format, capable of fitting in a drinkholder,

   this mini-doorstop clocks in at 800ish pages of  valuable information.

      Everything you could want or need to know about recreational boating regulations, seamanship, boat handling, and boats, of both the wind and fossil powered species,  is in here.

      The difference between a ketch and a yawl?  It's in here.

      VHF channel frequencies and designations in the US and Canada?  It's in here.

       How to tie over a dozen knots?  It's in here.

                Customs and Immigration info for USA and Canada?  It's in here.

                 Pre-departure, maintenance and general winterizing checklists?  It;s in here.

                Anchor sizing charts and anchor options for bottom conditions?  Yep, it's in here.

                 This little book is a  Dock discussion go-to resource  and has settled numerous beer bets.

                 F'rinstance:  If a vessel is using signal flags, what does displaying the "M" flag indicate?
                                    Page 601 has the answer.

                All of it is written in a clear, easy-reading style that isn't  too jargon-heavy for the novice and also not too dumbed-down for the old salt - a rare feat.

                   First published in 2006, some of the information, such as web addresses and telephone numbers listed in the appendices,  is out of date.  It would be nice to see a revised edition, but the vast, vast majority of the info contained is still relevant.  If you really need a web address and the link in the book is dead, the publisher has an excellent website with updated links .  They also have downloadable versions of the checklists in the book, a great bonus.

                  Sure, lots of this info is available in a variety of other publications, as well as on the web, but never has this depth and breadth of info been available in a package this compact... that doesn't rely on an internet connection.

                  As the author writes in the forward:

                 "The book ended up containing all the info I would have liked to have had, all in one place...."

                  Available from all of the usual suspects, or  direct from the publisher .

  "Talk The Dock!"          

1 comment:

  1. My copy burned in the great motorhome vandalism fire of 2012 and I went all last season without it. I need to get a new copy this week. It's a fabulous little book. Thanks for the reminder. By the way you need the paddle for repelling pirates.