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Ships – Sailing – Cruises – Seamanship – Boating – Shipwrecks – Free eBooks

Free Online Books about Cruises, Ships and Sailing. Ships and boats, Seamanship, Sailing, Cruises, Shipping operations, Sailing history, Shipwrecks.

Ships & Seamanship


Hint: When a book you want to borrow at Internet Archive is already checked out, go to the Internet Archive’s ‘Search’ box, check “Search Metadata”, and search for the book’s title. Sometimes they have two or more copies.


Ships & Seamanship

Boats & Boating Collection

About 470 free online books at the Internet Archive, resulting from a search for books on “Boats and Boating”. Be patient as the page loads. Some books: Essential boating for teens, America’s Boating Course, Personal Guide for the Small Boat Owner, Boatman’s Manual, Exploring the Coast by Boat, Cutaway Boats, World’s Fastest Boats, Complete Book of Small Bats, Boat Handling Under Sail & Power, Book of Fantastic Boats, Design a Boat, Yachtsman’s Guide to Better Maintenance, Restoring Vintage Boats, The Mariner’s Catalog, Your Boat’s Electrical System, A Treatise on Sailing Boats, many more.

Ships Collection

About 900 free online books at the Internet Archive, resulting from a search for books on “Ships”. Some books: Ships and Submarines, Ships through the Ages, The Clipper Ships, Pictorial History of Ships, About Submarines, Merchant Ships 1949-1950, Sailing Ships, Submarines of the World, Cruise Ship Jobs Insider’s Guide, Alaska: the cruise-lover’s guide, U.S. & Canadian Icebreakers, Ships & Shipbuilding, The Viking Ships, Ships through the Ages, Merchant Sailing Ships 1850-1875, Unofficial Guide to Cruises, Cargo Ships, Great Passenger Ships of the World, many more.

Sailing Collection

Over 500 free online books at the Internet Archive, resulting from a search for books on “Sailing”. Some books: Complete Sailing Handbook, Deep Sea Sailing, Sailing for Beginners, Advanced Sailing, Sailing and Seamanship, Sailing Smart: winning techniques tactics and strategies, Sailing Tips, This is Fast Cruising, Handbook of Sailing Techniques, Official Learn-to-Sail Manual, Glossary of Modern Sailing Terms, Ocean Voyaging, The Complete Yachtsman, Encyclopedia of Sailing, many more.

Seamanship Collection

Over 100 free online books at the Internet Archive, resulting from a search for books on “Seamanship”. Some books: Visual Encyclopedia of Nautical Terms Under Sail, Illustrated Book of Basic Boating, The Self-Sufficient Sailor, Get Your Captain’s License: complete study guide, Colgate’s Basic Sailing Theory, How to Cope with Storms, Arts of the Sailor: knotting, splicing & ropework, Encyclopedic Dictionary of Navigation, Circumnavigator’s Handbook, American Merchant Seaman’s Manual, Navigation and Nautical Astronomy, Sailor’s Book of the Weather, Complete Guide to Anchoring and Line Handling, The Amateur Pilot, many more.

Ocean Travel Collection

About 230 free online books at the Internet Archive, resulting from a search for books on “Ocean Travel”. Some books: Plan and Enjoy Your Cruise, Cruise Vacations for Dummies, Alaska Ports of Call, Caribbean Ports of Call, Freighter Voyaging, Voyages: the romance of cruising, The Total Traveler by Ship, Cruising and Cruise Ships, Ocean Liners, Travel by Cargo Ship, Six Days on an Ocean Liner, Doomed Ships: great ocean liner disasters, Life aboard the last great ships, Traveling by Sea in the 19th Century, True Sea Stories, Sea Power: a global journey, many more.

Cruise Ships Collection

About 150 books from the Internet Archive free online on the subject of Cruise Ships. Some books: European Ports of Call, Cruise Ship Jobs, Alaska: the cruise-lover’s guide, Cruise Ships, Exploring Careers on Cruise Ships, Caribbean by Cruise Ship, Panama Canal by Cruise Ship, Complete Guide to Cruising and Cruise Ships, Dollarwise Cruises, Cruise Vacations for Dummies, The Cruise and Travel Employment Program, many more.

Merchant Shipping Collection

Over 50 free online books at the Internet Archive, resulting from a search for books on “Merchant Shipping”. Some books: Revolution in Merchant Shipping 1950-1980, U.S. Merchant Shipping Policies and Politics, The Classic Merchant Ship 1900-1960, Nuclear Merchant Ships, Regulation and Policies of American Shipping, Lake Carriers: saga of the Great Lakes fleet, Sailors Whalers & Steamers: ships that opened the west, Industrial Democracy at Sea, Modern-Day Piracy, Ocean Traders: from the Portuguese discoveries to the present day, many more.

Shipwrecks Collection

About 750 free online books at the Internet Archive, resulting from a search for books on “Shipwrecks”. Some books: Strange Adventures of the Great Lakes, Sea Disasters, Mysteries of the Past: shipwrecks, Titanic: the disaster that shocked the world, Disasters at Sea, True Accounts of Major Ship Disasters, Great Sea Rescues, Narratives of Shipwrecks and Disasters 1586-1860, Great Shipwrecks of History, Lost Treasure Ships of the 20th Century, Great Lakes Shipwrecks and Survivors, Encyclopedia of American Shipwrecks, many more.

American Merchant Ships and Sailors

Abbot, Willis J.
Dodd 1908 Dewey Dec. 387

American shipping from colonial days to present, including coastwise, oversea, river, lake and fishing craft. Accurate. -A.L.A.Catalog 1904

Knots, A Study of Marlinespike Seamanship Which Embraces Bends, Hitches, Ties, Fastenings and Splices and their Practical Application

Aldridge, Arthur F.
Rudder 1918 Dewey Dec. 623.8

Also with chapters on cordage, matting, hammock making and wire steel work.

Boat-building and Boating

Beard, Daniel Carter
Scribner 1911 Dewey Dec. 623.8

“Practical work, describing boatmaking from a primitive raft to a motor-boat, with directions for tying knots, making sails, etc. Excellent illustrations.”
– – A.L.A.Catalog 1904 – 1911

The Small Yacht; its Management and Handling for Racing and Sailing, with Chapters on Construction

Boardman, Edwin Augustus
Little 1909 Dewey Dec. 797

“Design and construction of a racing yacht and its handling during a race are discussed in very practical chapters, written from the experience of a successful amateur yachtsman.” – A.L.A.Catalog 1904 – 1911

Boatman’s Handbook: The New Look-it-up Book

Bottomley, Tom
Hearst Marine 1985 Dewey Dec. 623.8

Gathers practical information on seamanship, safety, emergency procedures, navigation, piloting, weather, and maintenance.
Contents: Emergencies — Safety — Seamanship — Piloting — Weather — Electronics — Racing — Amenities — Sources — Government — Tables — Maintenance.

Read full length books online free at the Century Past Fiction section.

Ocean Steamships; a Popular Account of their Construction, Development, Management and Appliances

Chadwick, F.E. and others
Scribner’s Sons 1891 Dewey Dec. 387

Romance of the Ship: The Story of Her Origin and Evolution

Chatterton, Edward Keble
Lippincott 1911 Dewey Dec. 387

“Covers in one volume the field of the author’s Sailing Ships and their Story and Steamships and their Story. Suffers somewhat from condensation and omissions, but is on the whole very informing and interesting.” -A.L.A.Catalog 1904-11

Ships & Ways of Other Days

Chatterton, Edward Keble
Sidgwick & Jackson 1913 Dewey Dec. 387

“”A fascinating book for the reader interested in sea-faring matters and old voyages, telling how men managed to build, launch, equip, and fit out different craft in all ages, how ships behaved, and how mariners have lived on shipboard. Well illustrated with reproductions, of old prints and with line drawings.” – Standard Catalog for Public Libraries: Science and Useful Arts (1931)

The Seaman’s Friend, Containing a Treatise on Practical Seamanship…

with plates; a dictionary of sea terms; customs and usages of the merchant service; laws relating to the practical duties of master and mariners. 13th edition

Dana, Richard Henry Jr.
Thomas Groom 1873 Dewey Dec. 623.8

Dana gained fame as the author of the memoir, “Two Years before the Mast”.

Eagle Seamanship: A Manual for Square-rigger Sailing

Daniels, Edwin H., U.S. Coast Guard Academy
Naval Institute Press 1990 Dewey Dec. 623.8

A convenient pocket training manual for square-rigger sailing. Written for cadets serving on the U.S. Coast Guard training barque Eagle.
Topics: Marine engineering, United States., Sailing, Non-Motor Boat Design And Construction, Seamanship, History – Military / War, United States, Transportation, Military – General, Ships & Shipbuilding – Engineering, Coast Guard, Handbooks, manuals, etc, Officers’ handbooks, Eagle (Ship : 1936-), United States. Coast Guard, Square-riggers, Barks (Sailing ships), Training-ships

Modern Seamanship; A Comprehensive Reference Guide for All Recreational Boaters

Dodds, Don
Gramercy 2000 Dewey Dec. 623.8

Modern Seamanship is a comprehensive guide for boaters who wish to learn how to solve boating problems on their own by analyzing a situation and deftly using acquired knowledge. This book presumes you wish to know why, and not just how.
Don Dodds covers in detail the use of such laborsaving technological advances as GPS and radar, which have revolutionized recreational boating in the past decade. But because technology, like water wings, can get boaters literally and figuratively into deep water without knowing how to swim, Modern Seamanship also explores the traditional seamanship skills upon which these space-age devices are based-skills that always work, whether or not the batteries are dead. In its pages you will find information on navigation, weather, boat handling, docking, mooring, anchoring, common emergencies, communications, working with rope, and maintenance-all skills a mariner needs to deal confidently with the sea.

Motor Boats

Durand, William Frederick
lnternational marine engine 1907 Dewey Dec. 623.8

“Brief, practical and thoroughly scientific manual, including boats, propellers and engines.
– – A.L.A.Catalog 1904 – 1911

The Romance of Tall Ships

Eastland, Jonathan
Gallery 1990 Dewey Dec. 623.8

Sailing, Seamanship, and Yacht Construction

Fox, Uffa
Dover 2002 Dewey Dec. 623.8

Packed with information, ideas, and more than 300 excellent illustrations, this classic of the genre was written by the father of modern planing sailboats. Most of the text focuses on individual vessels; among the 20 profiled are the 60-foot-long Landfall; the Patience; and the author’s own creation, the Vigilant.

Ocean Steamship Traffic Management

Huebner, Grover G., PhD
Appleton 1920 Dewey Dec. 387

The first volume of a projected “Shipping series.” Presents the facts, forms; functions and principles of most importance in the shipping business; analyzes the divisions of freight and passenger service, the duties of each position and the possible lines of advancement. Well organized; written with clearness and precision. Part one is on “The traffic organization of ocean shipping,” part two “Ocean shipping documents” and part three “Ocean rates and regulations.” – A. L. A. Catalog (1926)

Modern Rope Seamanship: Synthetic and Natural Fibres

Jarman, Coin and Beavis, Bill
International Marine 1976 Dewey Dec. 623.8

The Young Sea Officer’s Sheet Anchor; or, A Key to the Leading of Rigging, and to Practical Seamanship

Lever, Darcy
G.W. Blunt 1843 Dewey Dec. 623.8

Topics: Navigation, Masts and rigging.

Ports and Terminal Facilities

MacElwee, Roy S., PhD
McGraw-Hill 1918 Dewey Dec. 387

“A valuable work on the economic importance of ports, proper equipment and methods of handling traffic.”
– Standard Catalog for Public Libraries: Science and Useful Arts (1931)

Chapman Piloting & Seamanship

Maloney, Elbert S. and Chapman, Charles F.
Hearst 2003 Dewey Dec. 623.8

“The classic reference used by boating schools and recommended by the Coast Guard Auxiliary covers every topic related to both powerboats and sailing ships, from emergency procedures and international signals at sea, to weather conditions, knots, navigation and more.” Boating essentials – Seamanship – Safety – Piloting – Electronics – Further aspects of boating – Appendices

Selected Articles on the American Merchant Marine

Phelps, Edith M., comp.
H. W. Wilson 1916 Dewey Dec. 387.5

In the first decades of the 20th century publisher H.W. Wilson produced many volumes in its Debaters’ Handbook Series on social and political issues that were under discussion at the time. Each book contains the full text of selected articles and documents representing opposing views on the issue, along with a substantial bibliography of books and articles.

Most of the books mentioned in these guides are likely to be freely available online. Search by title; first at the Internet Archive (archive.org), then at HathiTrust.org. Referenced magazine articles may also be available online at the same sites, with HathiTrust the preferred site for magazines.

Every Boy’s Book of Railways and Steamships

Protheroe, Ernest
London: Religious Tract Society 1911 Dewey Dec. 380

Standard Seamanship for the Merchant Service

Riesenberg, Felix
Van Nostrand 1936 Dewey Dec. 623.8

“Embracing every department of seamanship proper, the book shows evidence of careful
planning and wise selection from competent sources. . . Capt. Riesenberg’s ‘Standard Seamanship’ is doubly welcome, not only for the sound technics employed and advocated but for the wholesome atmosphere of professional brotherhood that is a feature of the book.”
– Standard Catalog for Public Libraries: Science and Useful Arts (1931)
625 illustrations. Chapters: Types of Vessels, The Hull, , Ropes, Knots, Splices, Blocks and Tackles, Steamer Rigging – Cargo Gear, Sailing Ship Rigging – Sails – Canvas Work, eck Machinery, Holds, Peaks, Tanks, Stowage, Carriage of Live Stock, The Tanker, Passenger Vessels, Boats, Compass – Lead – Log – Piloting, The Bridge, Rules of the Road at Sea, Ground Tackle, Handling a Steamer, Handling a Sailer, Weather at Sea, Safety on Board Ship, Ship Maintenance

Motor Boats, Hydroplanes, Hydroaeroplanes …

Construction and Operation with Practical Notes on Propeller Calculation and Design

Russell, Thomas H.
Thompson 1917 Dewey Dec. 623.8

“An illustrated manual of self-instruction for owners and operators of marine gasoline engines and amateur boat-builders.”- A.L.A.Catalog 1904 – 1911