Our Favorite Resources
A list of some of our favorite websites and (many free) resources! Updated May 2017
- Dockside Solutions – An awesome mailing service to help us get our snail-mail no matter where in the world we are. Owned by fellow cruisers and liveaboards in Seattle! We’ve been receiving our mail there since 2013.
- Google Voice – We made free calls to US cell phones from Mexico all the time. Sometimes the connection is better using Skype but it’s not free unless you call another Skype user. The best part is you have a real US phone number that can receive voice mail, can text, and can be answered while on WiFi.
CRUISING ADVICE & GUIDES
- Salish Sea Pilot – Our favorite! A very detailed guide to marinas and anchorages in the Salish Sea. The best part is that every anchorage has it’s own chartlet.
- Local Knowledge – Tacoma, Washington to Ketchikan, Alaska. This has helped us tremendously in navigating tricky narrows with strong currents.
- Port and Passes – reference guide for tide and current information in the Pacific Northwest
- Waggoner Cruising Guide – while not detailed enough for many anchorages it is a great overview of all the places to cruise in the Northwest. Also available for free download on their website
- noonsite.com – a great, free website by Jimmy Cornell geared to world cruising
- Sea of Cortez – An excellent Cruiser’s Guidebook. Unfortunately it hasn’t been updated in a long time but it is still the best there is available for the area. We were almost arrested after going to a beach that had come highly praised in this guide. It is off limits! Read my post here.
- Cruising Gear Checklist – provided free by Downwind Marine in San Diego. A checklist of everything you might need to go cruising. Frequently updated.
WEATHER and WATER
- Online Weather School – National Weather Service Online Weather School is designed to help anyone interested in learning about weather and weather safety for free.
- Wave Watch III – NOAA wave model to forecast ocean waves – free
- Tides and Currents (US) – Find your nearest gauge on the map, click on it and select Tide Predictions.
- CloudChart – A free, full-color poster of clouds, their names and descriptions.
- NOAA Booklet Charts – Free charts you can print from home. Use Rite-in-the-rain paper if you want to use charts in the cockpit.
- Free US Charts – NOAA ENC (vector) charts and NOAA RNC (raster) charts
- Coast Pilots – Print just the pages you need for free. Saves tons of space and money on a small boat!
- Chart No. 1 – A visual guide to all symbols on NOAA nautical charts. Get the book or download for free!
- US Bathymetric and Fishing Maps – Free high resolution ocean bottom topographic maps. Get a highly descriptive picture of the ocean bottom terrain
- American Practical Navigator by Nathaniel Bowditch – download it for free or buy the book. Bowditch is a mainstay of any serious navigator’s library.
- Online Virtual Vessel Safety Check – A free Vessel Safety Check is a courtesy examination of your boat (Vessel) to verify the presence and condition of certain Safety Equipment required by State and the Federal regulations.
- Navigation Rules – Boats of 39 feet (12 meters) or greater are required to carry this book of rules on board. Also available in hard copy here or download for free.
- Animated Knots – Learn how to make knots for free with these easy to follow online animations
- How Boat Things Work: An Illustrated Guide – I love this book! Most boat systems are shown in exploded diagrams.
- How to Catch Crabs – Unfortunate name but some great tips on how to catch delicious critters.
- Boatowner’s Mechanical and Electrical Manual by Nigel Calder – this book has helped us in troubleshooting a lot of problems. And while there seem to be a few things not covered, it is the best available.
- Comprehensive Guide to Marine Medicine – excellent guide that is usually included in marine first aid kits
- Where there is no Doctor or Dentist – A free publication by Hesperian. A non-profit publisher of books and newsletters for community-based health care
- The Onboard Medical Guide: First Aid and Emergency Medicine Afloat – have not tried this but it has good reviews. Might be a bit dated.
- Yellow Book Online – a free online guide (or buy the hardcopy book) published by the CDC (Center for Disease Control) as a reference for those who advise international travelers about health risks
CAPTAIN’S QUICK GUIDES
They are waterproof and chocked full of information. Great for a quick refresher course. Not free but very useful for the beginner!
- Sail Trim and Rig Tuning
- Heavy Weather Sailing
- Boat Handling Under Power
- Rules of the Road and Running Light Patterns
- On-Board Weather Forecasting
- Diesel Engine Care and Repair
- Emergency First Aid On Board
- How To Read a Nautical Chart
- Emergencies on Board