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As I write this post, I can glance to my side and see several dozen reference books on a shelf. This library, comprised almost entirely of technical and guide books, was one of the things that we brought with us from ZTC onto One Love. While the guide books for the areas that we cruise end up dog-eared from use, the technical manuals on diesel, electrical and boat systems remain almost like new. How, with all of the repairs that we do on our boats, is that possible? Is it because I know so much that I never have to look anything up? Hardly! It’s because that in this day and age, in this cruising area with plentiful internet access, I can always Google the information I need, or even better, “phone a friend” via email or IM.

So, with items always competing for space on our boat, the question needs to be asked “should I hang on to these books or pass them along to another cruiser who might get more use out of them?” Something for me to think about.


  1. Keep some of them, maybe those that bring up some memories or you know you’ve used more often and pass the others to someone else 🙂 If you need a volunteer to take some, let me know 😉

  2. I would definitely keep the books and hope never to use them! 🙂

    Reading other blogs, it is clear that there are many places, even places over there near you, where the internet is patchy or very slow and phone signals are weak or a different provider. The books can be important then.

    Also, I have found, that the internet is not much use if the problem is detailed or really technical. The difficulty then is that the basic manual is inadequate and you need the proper service manual and that is probably not on the ‘net.


  3. Of course I assume you are NOT talking about the service manuals or reports for One Love’s engines or other specific equipment but rather general knowledge type books. I would say yes you could do without a beginner’s book on diesel engines, however, I am sure you would never toss the service or technical literature that came from the manufacturer or was compiled during commissioning for a specific peiece of equipment such as an engine or radio. That information I would keep in a locker in a binder or folder.

    Again, I am sure you don’t mean that but I think the distinction is worth mentioning.

  4. The main reason I have a pile of books on the shelf is that I’m not always in range of internet, and I’m not always in range of someone less clueless than me. And frankly I’m not sure how much I can depend on the latter – there are many self proclaimed experts out there that will send you down a garden path you may not need to follow.

    I have tried to accumulate as many resources in PDF or e-Book format as I can, but if I can’t turn my computer on I’m not likely to be able to access those too easily either.

  5. Hey a book works when the webs down, after the batteries are drained, when the cell is out of range, in the middle of a storm, 10 years after the model you have has been discontinued. The only time they don’t work is in the dark. Of course, nothing ever breaks – RIGHT!, so just throw them away!

  6. I remember reading this post from Jeff at Active Captain on lightening the load of technical manuals by getting digital versions for the ipad. It also makes it faster to look up information by key words when you do not have a web connection. Also, less books means more room for beer!
    The charter site looks great, very professional compared to other charter sites and great pictures quality. The menu page made me hungry, so you must be doing it right!

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