Maritime books?

Hi guys!

Greetings from an interested layman (o.k. not entirely - I am a Captain too, but of the flying sort)

Recently I got fascinated by ships and all marine stuff - must be the beginning my mid-life crisis, till now nothing was interesting, except airplanes :slight_smile:

I am looking for any good books/movies/websites on Merchant Marine and all maritime stuff. Even handbook will do. Any suggestions/ideas on what I can read?

I have already bought and read gCaptain’s “Fire on the Horizon” (great book!), “Captain’s Duty” and “Peffect Storm”. Any other good stuff out there?

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The search function is your friend. Here’s two threads to start you off:

Hi JetLag330,

Thanks for joining, and your question. Take a look at this thread.

Please if all possible purchase any maritime books thru the gCaptain amazon links. I am confident it would be appreciated.


This a good for your coffee table at home. History, technology, and seamanship. Lot’s of pictures also. It’s a hardcover. It’s always good to have your friends and colleagues know you are diversified. :pirate: Please maintain 4,000 Captain. and 3,000 knots for visual field approach - Copy?

Take a look here…

One obscure book is one I had Plebe year at KP, and since it was so dated, we were able to keep it was this one: Great historical stuff. Lots of info on break bulk ships, deck gear, 'tween decks, life on board and all so dated. It was dated when we had it in 77, but at least there were some break bulk vessels still out there and containerships were just starting to catch on. I often grab mine and thumb through it when nostalgia starts its pull. . .

There are a lot of good books on old threads but for someone outside the industry a good book is Ocean Titans by Daniel Sekulich.

Also a good for an overview is The Box

“Until the sea shall set them free” the true story of the Marine Electric, “The heart of the sea” the story of the whale ship Essex & “Looking for a ship”

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Thanks for replies, that should keep me busy for a while!

Thanks, what is the route you normally fly? Do you fly International usually? or Domestic? I am happy we could help with the maritime stuff. Which books etc. interest you? Do you like the cargo ships, sailing vessels, yachts, offshore support vessels, tankers, drill ships? We can focus on those types ships for you. Do you have a boat? If so what kind?

How is it to be an airline pilot? I know it’s long unusual hours. I know a few guys and gals that work for UAL. My uncle was a pilot for AAL. Please let us know if you have any questions in the future we would be happy to help or answer them to the best of our ability.

Can’t go wrong with any Conrad.

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Hi, thanks for a warm welcome. I fly mostly around Southeast Asia these days, as far North as Hokkaido in Japan and as far South as Australia/NZ, with an odd Hawaii, or India trip thrown in… But done other stuff too. Domestic, intra-Europe, Medical, instructing, gliders, helicopters (heck, even crashed one!)

I have a commuting contract now and in some aspects it’s not dissimilar to Maritime jobs. I’m 20 days away/10days at home and my working hours may be anything from decent short afternoon trip, to an all-nighter ‘red eye’. Basically same like any other 24-hour industry.

As far as ships go, I was indifferent (or having mild interest, at best), even though I grew up in one of the Baltic Sea’s major harbor cities. Then, on one day, I took my 4 year-old son to show him the port and we saw a this huge ro-ro ferry coming in from Sweden, doing a 180 in a narrow canal and backing into a ramp. How cool was that!

That really got my attention and I started reading Maritime literature. I love all stuff on Seamanship, Navigation, Meteorology and all good stories. Heck, I even got myself a sextant and learned to use it (doesn’t work well in the airplane though. I need to get myself an aviation one, with a bubble).

It is a welcome diversion from my flying world, which I love, but after 20 years it has become very familiar, while the Maritime world is still a mystery. OTOH it is quite fascinating to find how many similarities there are between those two worlds.

I’d love to get some professional Maritime training (even if only just for the sake of it - I love learning new stuff), or at least learn sailing. Don’t have enough time for that, though. So for now it’s books and this forum, which I find really fascinating!



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I try to avoid promoting my own stuff on this forum, but since this is a direct question, could I point you in the direction of my website , which contains a load of free information about marine support to the offshore industry, some books on the same subject and also the availability of a monthly emailed newsletter.

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Thanks, JetLag330 - Happy you survived the helicopter crash. That must have been your lucky day. How big of jets do you fly? Do the commuting contracts change considerably between carriers? Would you be able to recommend a couple of good aviation books?

I find it amazing on how many aviation incidents and reports, runway excursion’s, etc… occur that never make to the mainstream media. To include the Peruvian Airlines Boeing 737-300 which was considered an accident at the end of March 2017.

Hi DSD! Apologies for late reply. I have been away from the Internet for a while…

As for aviation books… if I were to recommend one book only, it would definitely be Ernest K. Gann’s “Fate is the hunter” a.k.a. “The Bible”:
Fate is the hunter

Written in the 1950’s, still relevant in most aspects, and a great read even to those non-flying.

The author has been a very interesting figure and flying has been only one of things he did in his life. Among other things he was a fishing boat owner/captain and his son went on to become a merchant marine officer. E.K.G’s autobiography is a good read too, even if not strictly aviation:
A Hostage to fortune

There’s also al lot of wartime aviation books, better or worse.

If you’re interested in air accidents, here’s a couple of books on high-profile accidents:

Fly by wire - the story of Capt. Sully’s “Miracle on the Hudson”, pretty well explained

Freefall - story of the “Gimli Glider”, a Canadian Boeing 767, that ran out of fuel and managed to land unscathed on a remote airport. There’s also a movie of the same title. BY ALL MEANS, DON’T WATCH IT! It’s the worst aviation movie ever… The book, however, is ok and factual.

Understanding Air France 447 - story of the Air France A330, the plunged into the Atlantic. Also a good read (for the interested).



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P.S. There’s one more:

The naked pilot - a revolutionary book, when published in the 1970’s, changing the perspective on human factors and human error. Now a bit outdated, since most of what the author proposed in the 70’s, has been introduced into aviation since. Still a great read on some classic accidents and human error in general.

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Great Thanks, really appreciated. I will check them out. I enjoy aviation also. I follow along with some professional pilots aviation and Rotorheads sites daily.

This should have most of what you need to know.