The Offshore Voyaging Reference Site

Is Reading Time a Good Addition to AAC?

Please advise

Early this week we added a reading time estimate to the header of every article (but not these Tips).

The idea is to show how much information you can get from a small investment in time at AAC, particularly when compared to trying to get technical information from YouTube, podcasts, or the biggest time sink of all: webinars.

And also to reassure you before you start an article that we have worked hard to make it as brief as it can be, but still get the job done.

For example, you could learn pretty much everything you need to know about how to choose between lead-acid or lithium batteries in 8 minutes.

Or how to make sure your boat’s underwater metals are not being eaten away in 7.

So does this work for you and, more importantly, enhance your perception of the value of AAC for your money?

Or is it just a distraction or, worse still, make you wonder why you are paying for such a short read?

Please let us know in a comment.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Matt Marsh

I can’t speak for everyone, but I like it. Useful to know if I should read something during the 8 minute gap between lunch and the next conference call, or if it ought to wait until after dinner.
And yeah, the well-written word is just so vastly superior to YouTube and (shudder) webinars. I’ve been stuck in webinars that took an hour to convey maybe 1/3 of what John or Colin can fit into 7 minutes worth of reading.

Marc Dacey

I think I have found very few YouTube videos as helpful as this site in terms of cruising/general boat knowledge, save for certain docking instructional videos by a guy named Duncan Wells, and really specific service videos for my diesel or my more niche gadgets aboard. I, too, prefer reading.

Will Kirkness

You nailed it with the webinar comment. And also nailed it with judging when is appropriate to digest an article. I found myself doing just that during my lunch break yesterday.

Carolyn Rosner

Personally, I appreciate getting a sense of “what I’m getting into” when considering reading an article. I know it’s calculated automagically using a formula, and is easy to add to blog posts if the website’s functionality allows.

Given that website visitors scan more than read anyway—I read one statistic that said people actually read just 20-28% of the words on a webpage—knowing the “estimated reading time” is even more helpful. (source: Nielsen Norman Group,

Thanks for asking, and keep up the good work! —Carolyn

James Peto

I ,as an older person, value time above money.
So, a well researched article that will inevitably save me money that can be read in 8 minutes or less makes my AAC subscription fantastic value .

Taras Kalapun

Personally, if I like the topic and title, I will read it regardless of time it takes. Maybe I will first skim through it and then do a more in depth reading.

Dick Stevenson

Hi John,
To answer your question first: I do not think I care either way.
But I do think the issue is important. The first rabbit holes I went down were in the World Book Encyclopedia, later the Britannica. I would go to look up something and an hour later I would have forgotten what caused me to open the tome in the first place.
But most utube/internet rabbit hole wandering, in my observation, has less to do with information gathering and more to do more with entertainment. If one wants to tackle a new project, the most efficient route is text. Perhaps then a visual might be helpful: RC Collins expertly demonstrates the hybrid approach on his MarineHowTo site. Sometimes video is the way to go, but rarely, and it takes a lot of time.
Random thoughts, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy.

Marc Dacey

Wholeheartedly agree on MarineHowTo. A very nice balance of photos and text that have saved me time, effort and grief, much as this site has, but via a fairly different approach.

Bruce Brown

Do not do it. It’s just more pandering to those with a hurried life who cannot tolerate uncertainty and who anticipate no intellectual investment in the process of reading.

Mitchell Allen

I like it, yes please. Helps prioritize when I can read certain articles and tips.
Mitchell Allen
sv Sonata
San Francisco Bay

Greg Ator

This is great. Why not? See no downsides and when you are trying to stay out of the rabbit hole(s) and get to a solution it is helpful to estimate your investment needed.

Great content and helps keep it useful.

Marc Dacey

As an editor, I don’t especially find it helpful, because, as a sailor, I don’t check the site as regularly as I might (the current NS snow and cold mean I can play catch up). Few of your articles are overlong, so it’s a moot point for me. If I have access and the time to “tuck in”, I will.

I tend to find that the articles are a starting point to a usually erudite exchange in the comments, which can take more time to absorb than the articles by a long shot, particularly on the old perennial issues I will refrain from naming.

File it under “nice to have”, however. You seem to be enjoying exploring the accessories now available to you.

Colin Leake

Hi John,
I like the reading time, often I will have a break from boat work and want a few minutes reading, I can tell at a glance what will fit my break time. Of course the article will trigger other thoughts and I end up having an hour break going down many rabbit holes!

Jorge Bermudez

I like the idea. One way I use it is with a half a cup of coffee left before I move onto my first project can I read the next subject? Yes I can, it’s only 10 minutes.

Craig Stephens

1) Reading time is a useful addition.
2) Conciseness increases value, and AAC is good at it.
3) I’m not paying for an 8-minute read, but for ongoing access to a reliable stream of valuable knowledge clearly and enjoyably presented.

Mark McIntosh

I so agree with the below comment. I often find that what I am looking for may be buried in a video but at what point I do not remember so i have to run through the video over and over until I get to the right spot. I so appreciate the written word in comparison to video especially on technical matters. I know there are times when video could be a better venue but it is rare when trying to follow anything technical. I have wondered if this is a age thing where those younger are just better at inhaling video content but still do not see how rewatching a video over is a better use of ones time. I think the time display to read an article is helpful as I know what I am getting into, though as stated here in the comment I think that most of the articles are concise and perhaps on this site it may be less needed but still I find it useful.

And yeah, the well-written word is just so vastly superior to YouTube and (shudder) webinars. I’ve been stuck in webinars that took an hour to convey maybe 1/3 of what John or Colin can fit into 7 minutes worth of reading.

Les Medley

John — I vote “yay.” I understand the need to complete with videos, webinars, etc. But for me, it is not a matter of time; it is more a matter of how much time. Like Matt, I find it useful to know if it is a 2-minute read or a 20-minute read. Just my $0.02.