Free PDF Freebie Friday

Money Saving Tips for the Boat Library

Friday, February 13, 2015S.V. CAMBRIA

Getting a boat ready for the cruising season can be an expensive proposition and, if you’re like us, saving dollars wherever you can has become an important part of the process.  One of the many ways we help cut our costs is by downloading free PDF versions of books.  Not only does it save us a little cash, it has the added benefit of saving space on our book shelves . . . and trees.

Tides and Currents

There are a lot of tide and current apps on the market that are free to use, but (in our experience) the most accurate resource for British Columbia comes from Canadian Hydrographic (no surprise, eh?).  Each year, CHS publishes seven volumes with information for specific regions within Canada that retail for $6.50 at your local West Marine or Fisheries Supply but are available online as free PDF downloads.  To get your copy of volumes 1, 2, 5, 6, 7 for currents and volumes 1 – 7 for tides, visit CHS HERE.  

For information on tides and currents in the United States, NOAA offers the same service HERE.

They have to be downloaded individually by region (i.e. Admiralty Inlet, Hood Canal, Juan de Fuca Strait, etc.) for both the US and Canada.

Cruising Guides

The “Waggoner Cruising Guide” is often referred to as the bible for cruising in the Pacific Northwest (a claim we don’t dispute), but how many hard copies of the annual guide do we really need sitting on our shelf?

The answer: one.

To get our yearly updates on marina and anchoring information, we download the latest version online HERE.   

Looking for additional information on local anchorages but don’t want to spend the extra cash? 

The Salish Sea Pilot has published three regularly updated cruising guides to the Pacific Northwest’s most popular destinations – the San Juan Islands, the Gulf Islands and Desolation Sound.  Each one includes information on anchorages, moorings and marinas with links to contact information for the latter (websites and email addresses).  They’re free to download HERE.

Sailing Books 

Free is always good but when it comes from Steve and Linda Dashew, it’s even better.  As a way of saying thank you to the cruising community for their support over the years, the Dashews have made two of their books available for free as PDF files:  “Mariner’s Weather Handbook: A Guide to Forecasting and Tactics” (a complete guide to understanding and forecasting marine weather) and “Surviving the Storm: Coastal and Offshore Tactics” (methods for dealing with heavy weather).

You can read more about the Dashews and download their books at 

New to sailing and want to expand your library?  Sailing For Dummies is available as a free download at Libramar Maritime Downloads. 
"Want to sail into the sunset but don't know port from starboard?  Don't worry! Now updated with the latest on boats, gear, and racing, this hands-on guide helps you chart a course to sailing success, from getting familiar with nautical terms and seamanship basics to setting sail, navigating, anchoring, and docking – even riding out a storm" (from the back cover of Sailing For Dummies, Second Edition).

Written by JJ Isler, an Olympic medalist in sailing, and her then-husband, Peter Isler, navigator aboard Dennis Conner's Stars & Stripes (which won two America's Cups), Sailing For Dummies presents all the information you need to go sailing.  Some of it is very basic, even obvious at times, but it's all good advice and it's FREE. 

For more money saving ideas, have a look at this article I wrote for Three Sheets Northwest last year.  

It’s Your Turn 

Have any money-saving ideas for boating?  We’d love to hear them.  Please leave a comment below or send us an e-mail!

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