Welcome to one of our Online Books

  • As a non-member you can read the chapter descriptions and the introduction to each chapter.
  • Go ahead and explore to see the great actionable information our members get for just $2.00/month—full access to ALL of our books.
  • When you are done, scroll to the bottom of the page to learn more about membership.
  • You can also sign up to read 10 full sample chapters.
Online Book Table of Contents:

Navigation and Marine Electronics


The fruits of a combined century of navigation, much of it before electronic gadgets, and then we relate that experience to modern electronic navigation.

Knowing Where It’s At

We start this book by looking at the most important aspect of good and safe navigation. More important than fancy electronics. More important than paper charts. More important than radar. Situation awareness—knowing where you are at all times.

You Still Need an Accurate Compass

What if your plotter dies, or the datum is way out on the chart against the GPS, or you are navigating an intricate passage? These are just a few situations when an accurate compass is vital.

Backup Systems, Do We Need Paper?

For many navigators the idea of going to sea without any paper charts aboard at all is pure heresy. But is that really true? Are we just hanging on to paper charts because we are stuck in our ways? Is there a viable all electronic backup?

Marine Electronics System Recommendations

Up to this point in this Online Book we have been writing about good navigation practices. Now let’s turn our eyes to the cool electronic toys we all love.

And since I’m an electronics technician by trade and have spent most of my working life in high tech fields this is going to be leading edge stuff and way cool!

HF SSB Radio or Iridium Satellite Phone?

What hardware should you buy for receiving weather information and other communications? In this chapter I take a look at the two main options, HF SSB and satellite phone, and make some recommendations.

The Secret Life Of Your GPS

Pretty much all of us rely on GPS, but have you every wondered how the thing actually works? Matt has the answers, and they are fascinating.

Coastal Passages, Part 1—Making a Plan, 10 Tips

Many voyagers worry most about ocean passages but, in fact, the dangers are far higher on a coastal passage. Colin, who has made countless passages along one of the most challenging coasts anywhere, is eminently qualified to guide us through the coastal passage planning process.

Coastal Passages, Part 2—Rounding Headlands

In the first chapter in this five part series, Colin shared his overall planning process. He now moves on to a more detailed look at the features that almost always control how we approach and execute a passage: headlands and capes.

Coastal Passages, Part 3—Off We Go

In Parts 1 and 2, Colin shared how he plans for a complex coastal passage. Now he puts all of that into practice and in the process shows us that there is no one right way, but rather we must always be flexible and exercise good judgement.

Costal Passages, Part 4—Keep On Plugging

When last we left Colin and his crew at the end of Part 3, they had just crossed the Celtic Sea and finessed both the tide at Lands End and and their Landfall in Ireland—all good results based on the planning that Colin covered in Part 1 and Part 2. Now, in Part 4 they make some early starts and bring Scotland in sight.

Coastal Passages, Part 5—On To The Finish

In the final part of Colin’s series on coastal passagemaking, he and his crew cross to Scotland and wend their way through beautiful, but challenging, tidal straits to the finish. Colin then provides us with a succinct summary of the lessons learned, winding up a series that provides all of us the tools to plan and execute even the most difficult passages in a seamanlike manner.

Passage Anchorages

Sure, we all like a snug sheltered anchorage but when we are trying to make the miles in a hurry using a less sheltered passage anchorage can save a bunch of time and distance. Colin shares how to pick a good one and the precautions to take when we decide to anchor out there.

Navigating in Fog, Part 1, The Tools

Some of the best cruising grounds in the world are plagued with fog, so it pays to have the necessary gear as well as navigation and collision-avoidance skills—will make you safer at night too.

Colin starts off a three part series with an in-depth analysis of the tools to have when the visibility shuts down.

Navigation in Fog, Part 2—Preparation

Never was the old axiom proper preparation prevents poor performance more relevant than when cruising foggy places. Colin gives us an in-depth check list to run through before we leave port.

Navigation in Fog, Part 3—Underway

Colin has covered gear and preparation for navigating in fog. Now we get to the meat of it: what to do when underway and the visibility shuts down. Includes a vital section on the rules of the road in fog.

8 Radar Use Tips

Colin and John have teamed up to share the fruits of some 70 years of combined radar use experience much of it in the foggiest (Atlantic Canada) and highest traffic (English Channel) areas of the world.