This book is not just about maintaining a boat. To quote the author, “This book departs from the limited scope of similar books in that the author’s definition of boat maintenance includes the maintenance of safety, convenience, and healthful conditions for all aboard.” This is not a comprehensive repair manual. Although some repair procedures are included, the idea of the book is to assist boat owners in maintaining their boats on a regular schedule, instead of repairing things as they break. If these procedures are followed, boat owners will face fewer “emergencies” caused by a sudden failure of equipment. The book is written for boaters who cruise extensively, but there is a wealth of information that any boat owner needs to know. The author has included some information applicable only to sailing vessels, and some only to motor vessels, but most of the information is applicable to any vessel.

The Annual or Start of Cruise Preventive Maintenance List adds items not normally checked daily, but which should be checked prior to any cruise. The daily, weekly, and monthly preventive maintenance lists are very complete, with items to check, what to inspect for, and suggested action if you find a problem. Included are tables of wire sizes for DC circuits, wire sizes for AC circuits, the storage life of commonly used foods, and troubleshooting guides for gas and diesel engines. There is an extensive list of tools and supplies, with indications of which are needed for daysailers, mid-sized cruisers, long-term cruisers, and liveaboards.

The book is printed on acid free, mildew resistant, archival quality paper. The covers are laminated. The binding allows the book to lie flat so you can actually use it without holding it. Unfortunately, the maintenance tables, which contain very useful information, have very small type. They are readable, but will be difficult for some readers to see.

In most cases, there probably is not enough detailed information to enable you to correct a problem. The strength of this book is in the excellent preventive maintenance ideas and the checklists that will help you discover a problem before it becomes an emergency. If boaters will use this book as a stimulus to keep ahead of their potential problems, boating will be more enjoyable for them. Basic Boat Maintenance would be a valuable addition to any boat owner’s library.

Basic Boat Maintenance by Frank Brumbaugh (Bristol Fashion Publications, 2000)