With his newer book, Surveying Fiberglass Boats, David Pascoe shows that he is a clear writer but seems to lack Allan Vaitses’ brilliance at this business, both in terms of the vessels and the people. David Pascoe’s book is much larger, longer, and more complete. Even after having read Allan’s book What Shape is She in? a dozen times, I still learned a lot about boats from reading David’s. His is more patient and organized in its presentation. Also, he goes into brand names and specific defects, which Allan forswears in his introduction.

The author has a pleasant and likeable persona in his book as well as a striking body of knowledge we don’t have . . . or even knew existed. This raises the final reason that every boatowner should read these books. It is known how boats are (differently) put together, and it is known how they come apart. Therefore, each of us must be somewhat of a surveyor of our own boat in an ongoing fashion. To the question, “Do I need to know how to survey?” The answer is: “Of your boat, absolutely!” Having said that unequivocally, the other more subtle reason is to know just how much help is out there for you if and when you need it.

Besides being extremely pleasant and informative reading, this book will leave you a better skipper, a better shepherd of your vessel’s parts and systems, and a wiser and more effective consumer of marine services. If that’s not enough, should you be now, or in the future, a buyer of a vessel, these authors can and will save you.

Surveying Fiberglass Power Boats by David Pascoe (D.H. Pascoe and Company, 2001; 417 pages)