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Periodical Profile:  Boating Magazines

Memorial Day Weekend is nearly here and we will have sunny skies after all!  It will be a great weekend for boating, finally!  If you love boating, you should come visit our reading room - we have enough magazines on the subject to sink a ship!  Well, not literally, but we do have quite a few, covering boats from canoes to yachts.  In addition, we have a couple related periodicals that should be of interest to sailors of all stripes.  Since we have so many, I won’t go into the usual detail, but I will give you an annotated list, in alphabetical order, because librarians do that sort of thing, just like breathing.


Boating World focuses on power boats 35 feet and less.  Maintenance advice, consumer tips, a boat of the month and a wide variety of information about boating life and equipment are included.

Canoe and Kayak focuses on descriptions of paddling trips for all skill levels, paddling techniques, safety and health.  Other topics covered are boat design/construction, new products and accessories and environmental considerations.  This magazine is thorough and well written.

Cruising World is about living on the open water with all of its joys and concerns.  Descriptive narratives bring the cruising experience to life and touch on the history and culture of international ports.  Practical information about navigating, boat maintenance and product reviews are included as well.

Motor Boating, one of the oldest boating magazines around, discusses power boats of all sizes with the focus on reviews of new boats.  About half of the magazine is devoted to classified and brokerage sections.  The “Boatkeeper” section is intended to be cut-out and provides practical information for do-it-yourselfers.

Practical Sailor: Guide to Sailing Gear is the Consumer Reports of sailing. It provides reviews of equipment and supplies and one boat (new or old) in each issue.

Sail is for sailors of all skill levels, sailing all sized boats.  With a practical tone, it discusses navigation, seamanship, equipment and maintenance.  Cruising and racing are covered as well.

Sea Kayaker is the only magazine for this sport.  It is comprised mainly of personal narratives of kayaking excursions that include topics such as health, food, safety and camping.  Also included are instructions on techniques and product reviews.

Soundings:  Real Boats, Real Boaters is the news and feature publication for pleasure boaters. Its award-winning coverage of people, issues, events and technology of recreational boating is second to none.  Both power boats and sail boats are addressed.  A large classified section and many advertisements put an emphasis boating as a commodity.

Wooden Boat covers the history, design, building and preservation of wooden boats of any size or style.  As one of the finest and most informative of all boating periodicals it provides thorough and well written articles.  Also included are biographies of note worthy people in the field.

Yachting: Power and Sail is for experienced yachtsmen of large, upscale crafts.  Long, well-written articles cover a variety of topics from lifestyle to navigation and equipment.  Personal narratives of far-flung ports and reviews of new boats are featured.  Half of the magazine is classified and brokerage sections and advertising.

RELATED PERIODICALS (at the reference desk)

NADA Marine Appraisal Guide is a trustworthy source for determining the fair market value of a used power or sail boat from 7-60 feet long.  One guide covers boats dating back to 1997 and the “Older” guide covers boats dating back to 1977.  Values for related equipment, like trailers and motors, and a useful explanation of hull i.d. numbers are included as well.

Eldridge Tide and Pilot Book 2011 is a must read for navigating East Coast waters.  It contains a lot of essential information for sailors, most notably, tide and current tables, current charts and diagrams, many navigation rules, lights, signals and much, much more.  Did you know Eldridge, as it is called by those in the know, has been published by the Eldridge family for 135 years?  The first Eldridge to publish a nautical guide was George Eldridge of Chatham who published Eldridge’s Pilot for Vineyard Sound and Monomoy Shoals in 1854.  It was his son, Captain George W. Eldridge (d. 1914), from Vineyard Haven, who began publishing Eldridge’s Tide and Pilot Book in 1875. 

Here’s wishing you a safe boating season!

*Note:  The summaries of the magazines are abbreviated versions of what is published in Magazines for Libraries by Cheryl LaGuardia.  Thanks Cheryl!

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