Summer has arrived and if you're anything like me, you're spending as much time on the water as you possibly can. Boating novices and experts alike will benefit from this newest offering by award winning author Vin Sparano. This paperback edition contains 336 pages of useful information and 600 color photographs that will help you navigate any type of vessel, how to make your boat safe, and bring you up to date on electronics.
Complete Guide to Boating and Seamanship is broken down into ten sections:
- Boating Design and Construction
- Boats for Outdoor Recreation
- Outfitting Your Boat
- Boating Safety and Tips
- Fishing Basics for Boaters
- Freshwater Game Fish
- Saltwater Game Fish
- Cooking Techniques
- First Aid for Boaters
Chapter one covers the different types of hull design and the advantages of each. You will learn how the materials used to build a boat affect its cost, buoyancy and durability. Do you want a boat of fiberglass, aluminum or wood? Learn the advantages of each in this chapter.
Let's take a look at the reasons you want a boat in chapter 2. This chapter on Outdoor Recreation covers a wide variety of options - Are you using a boat for fishing, hunting, camping, or skiing? Maybe you want a kayak or a canoe? How about a paddleboard, a jet ski, wakeboard or water skis? Chapter 2 has the best section on learning how to waterski or wakeboard that I have ever seen. I've been an avid water skier my entire life and I was
happy relieved to see that I've been doing everything correct all these years. There are plenty of ways to spend time on the water -lets narrow it down here.
Chapter three will tell you everything you need to know about properly outfitting your boat. I found the photos and descriptions on trimming your motor to be particularly helpful. Inboards, outboards and trolling motors are covered. Learn about depth sounders, marine radios, GPS devices, and anchors. Four pages are devoted to showing you how to properly tie a multitude of knots. All boats need a trailer and you should know how to choose one and properly maintain it. I've been backing my husband's boat into the lake for years and even I learned a new tip on the best place to put your hand on the steering wheel when doing so. See, I told you, something for everyone!
Chapter four covers all kinds of boating safety and tips, basic tool kits, spare parts to have on hand, safe boating procedures, and what kind of personal flotation devices you must have. All boaters need to know how to properly handle wind, weather and water, and learning how to forecast the weather to a certain degree is always helpful. You can never be too cautious when you're on the water and other people's lives depend on the decisions you make. Read this chapter twice for good measure. For me, this was the most important chapter of the whole book.
The fifth chapter is all about fishing and covers the basics - reels, rods, fishing line, hooks, lures, and baits. I thought the section on using birds to guide you to fish was really interesting. Did you know that every species of fish has a preferred temperature zone that they like to stay in? There is a four page chart listing different species and what their upper to lower temperature ranges are. If you like to fish, this chapter is for you.
Chapter six covers everything you need to know about freshwater game fish and chapter seven covers saltwater fish. There is a huge list of fish, each accompanied by a color drawing and an in-depth description about that fish, where they range, their habitat, size, what they eat, best fishing methods and the baits to use. These two chapters are not only informative, but they are interesting as well.
So now you've gone out and caught some fish - what's next? There is nothing quite like fresh fish for dinner and chapter eight covers all the bases. Learn how to field dress and fillet fish, which species taste the best, how to properly use a fillet knife, and how to smoke or freeze them. Complete with color photographs, you'll learn how to fillet a fish in no time. Now I have a taste for a bluegill dinner.
Chapter Nine touches on the all important subject of survival. Learn how to properly prepare a survival kit, signal for help, make a solar still for safe drinking water, and surviving the heat and cold. One item that I was particularly interested in is the Lifestraw Personal Water Filter. It's a 2 ounce filter that lets you drink directly from lakes and rivers like using a straw. Chances are, you may never need to apply any of these survival tips, but it's always wise to be prepared, right?
The final chapter is really useful in all walks of life, not just when you're on the water. First aid techniques are always good to know and you should be able to recognize and reduce internal and external bleeding, stop a nosebleed, apply a tourniquet, provide artificial respiration, and perform the Heimlich Maneuver. There are 4 types of venomous snakes in the United States and if you spend time in the outdoors you should know how to recognize them and what to do if you've been bitten by one. Equally important is how to deal with spiders, scorpions and ticks. Steer clear of poison ivy, oak and sumac by looking at the drawings and find out how to relieve symptoms if you're unlucky enough to stumble through a patch. Sunstroke, hypothermia and frostbite are all covered in detail and if you plunge a fish hook into your finger (as I have done) you can usually remove it yourself without a trip to the hospital. Brush up on your first aid - you never know when it can come in handy.
Complete Guide to Boating and Seamanship should get you well on your way to hours of enjoyment on the water, be it river, lake or ocean. Vin Sparano's books set the standard in excellence. I know because I've had the pleasure of reviewing several of them and I can promise you that each one is loaded with valuable information, colorful photos, tips galore and wonderful stories. One of my favorites from this book is how a Key West charter boat captain sacrificed $ 2,000.00 worth of equipment in an attempt to land not one, not two, but three blue marlin at one time. And that's no fish story. Pick up a copy of Complete Guide to Boating and Seamanship. I'll see you on the water!
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(I was given an advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. Photo images are the property of the publisher and cannot be reproduced without consent.)