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Book notes

Literary gift options

for the boater in your life

“Sell Your Boat in 30 Days” by Thomas Cook (Sheridan House, April 2004, $19.95) offers advice on getting your boat in shape for market, choosing a price, advertising and negotiating. Cook also looks at different ways to sell your boat, including using brokers, eBay or donating it to charity.

“French for Cruisers” by Kathy Parsons (Seaworthy, August 2004, $29.95) is divided into general categories like directions, money, customs, food and emergencies, but also includes words in boating-specific categories such as docking, navigation, weather and boatyards.

More than a daily planner, Peter Spectre’s “The Mariner’s Book of Days 2005” (Sheridan House, June 2004, $13.95) is a diverting compilation of quotes, facts and old news stories. There’s also a “this day in history” fact for each of the 365 days. www.sheridan

“Chapman Boater’s Log” by Captain John Wooldridge (Hearst, 2003, $14.95) is a hardcover, spiral-bound resource to help boaters keep a record during each voyage. In addition to the trip log, the book offers a departure checklist, safety guide, plus sections on fitting out and decommissioning, and record-keeping.

Almost 500 boats have fallen victim to Sable Island, and thousands of seafarers have been stranded there. The island is actually a 30-mile-long, few-hundred-feet-wide sand dune that lies 100 miles east of Nova Scotia, at the center of severe weather patterns, ocean currents and trade winds. Marq de Villiers and Sheila Hirtle’s “Sable Island” (Walker & Company, November 2004, $24) looks at the island’s history, “curious” ecosystem and, of course, the famous wild horses of Sable Island.

The colloquial expression “footloose” derives from the loose-footed sail common in some fore-and-aft-rigged vessels. This and other etymological tidbits comprise Peter D. Jeans’ “Ship to Shore” (International Marine, 2004, $18.95), a dictionary of commonly used words derived from sea slang and nautical terms.

The Naval Institute Press has released a paperback version of Dennis L. Noble’s “Lighthouses & Keepers” (2004, $23.95). The book looks at the history of the U.S. Lighthouse Service and the people who dedicated their lives to keeping the signals lit. www.

Great illustrations, and plenty of them, is the strong suit of “Inspecting the Aging Sailboat,” by Don Casey (International Marine, August 2004, $14.95). Not only does Casey help you identify damage (seen and unseen), he helps you decide what is actually worth fixing. A second release from Casey this year, featuring the same kinds of clear illustrations and instructions, is “100 Fast & Easy Boat Improvements” (International Marine, July 2004, $14.95).

Use the newest edition of “Stapleton’s Powerboat Bible,” by Sid Stapleton (International Marine, August 2004, $18.95) to choose and purchase the right boat. Then continue using it as a reference on navigation, communication, seamanship, cruising and emergency procedures. With more than 30 years of experience, and a 15,000-mile voyage to his credit, it’s amazing Stapleton was able to keep the book to only 435 pages.

If you’re pondering a cruise outside of your comfort zone, consider the cruising grounds from the Virgin Islands to the southern Caribbean, argues Les Weatheritt in “Caribbean Passagemaking” (Sheridan House, October 2004, $24.95).

Cruisers to this region will find steady winds and currents, can usually get from one island to the next in a day, and only have to deal with one language and currency, says Weatheritt.

The book offers tips to make the trip easier for first-timers, and offers some tips for more-experienced cruisers, as well. The book helps cruisers spot the weather windows, find the safe and easy harbors, choose the right equipment, deal with the Christmas winds.

Nancy Taylor Robson grew up on the Chesapeake, and worked as a cook-deckhand on a coastal tug. She translates that experience to a novel about the life of watermen on the Eastern Shore of the Bay. “Course of the Waterman” (River City Publishing, September 2004, $23.95) focuses on a 17-year-old who wants to follow his father into the fishing trade at a time when it is a dying livelihood.

The Tall Ships Festivals are over, but children can relive the experience with “Tall Ships Fun” by Leslie Bulion (Moon Mountain Publishing, July 2004, $6.95). For children ages 5 to 10, the activity book includes puzzles, songs, crafts to make and games. The book was created at the request of the American Sail Training Association, according to the publisher.

“First Aid at Sea” (Paradise Cay Publications, 2003, $14.95) is a handy 27-page illustrated guide of what to do in cases of burns, near-drowning, hypothermia, head injury, fractures or if someone needs resuscitation. There’s also a section on communicating distress while at sea. The waterproof pages have tabs to find your place quickly, and it is ring-bound so it stays open to your page.