Learn everything you ever wanted to know about boating in Florida or Washington or New England. Sail the San Francisco Bay or the Chesapeake Bay. Ever thought of boating the canals of the U.K or visiting Oz or canoeing in Hawaii? Here’s your chance to plan your trip. Missing the Great Lakes? The North Channel of Lake Huron beckons.
Museum websites are treasure troves of historic boating information: make a virtual visit to The Mariners’ Museum in Virginia, the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in Maryland, the Museum of America and the Sea (Mystic, Connecticut), the New Bedford Whaling Museum (Massachusetts), or the online museum at Seattle’s Center for Wooden Boats. Riverboat Dave is a must-read for anyone interested in riverboat history.
Fascinated by shipwrecks? Take a look at U.K. Wreck Diving, whether you dive wrecks or just like to read about them. Wisconsin’s Great Lakes Shipwrecks is fascinating, as are the resources available at Famous Shipwrecks Worldwide.
Parts, Repair, Salvage
Classic powerboat enthusiasts will appreciate OldBoats anytime they need a part or reliable antique boat information. BoatRepairs offers state-by-state listings for local dealers and repair shops. For DIY folks, DIYBoatOwner is a must-read; there are lots of technical tips on the site as well as promos for their print magazine. Sail on over to Boatbuilding.net or the Boat Doctor forums for more useful instruction. YachtSurvey is another winner, offering readers comprehensive information on boat maintenance and ownership.
Reviews, Comparisons, and Classifieds
Get a boat, peruse listings for boats, or find new and used boats at a variety of sites. If you’re still trying to decide what type of boat to get, BoatTest, Soundings, the buyer’s guide at Boating Life, or We Rate Boats are good places to start.
Access the U.S. Naval Oceanography’s astronomical data, or use military nautical calculators. SmallBoatGPS is a user-friendly resource. BoatSafe offers an excellent explanation of navigation (including historical details) for kids; it’s an interesting read for anyone who is new to boat navigation.
Life vests are a must. Here’s how to choose a personal flotation device. Check for fair winds before you go at PassageWeather, and make some general predictions about current. If you use Windows, you can also get some free tide prediction software. NOAA’s Tides Online is a critical resource for all boaters. The National Data Buoy Center gives you current current information (that’s a pun, not a typo, people. Ok, moving on.)
Learn how to tie a knot. (We’re not talking marriage.) If it’s rainy, here’s more knot tying for you to practice. You can also learn about types of boats, how sails work, and right-of-way rules.
Can’t get out today? Watch some SailTube
Got any other suggestions? We’d love to hear about them in the comments.