Master Mariner Continuing Education Reading Options

I’m looking for good books (or other sources) to expand my professional knowledge. Most of the books out there are geared towards the aspiring deck officer, not the experienced one. (Actual books you can read, not just references to have.)

I’ll start with my recommendation for others: Master’s Handbook on Ship’s Business. I read this about 2 years ago and it was excellent. I’d love to have an updated version for 2017 though because a LOT has changed in the last 16 years.

We already have threads on advanced celestial books and on leadership and management books so I’m looking for topics other than those. (Links included for reference.)

The Behavior and Handling of Ships - Hooyer - very dense, technical little book with some really good stuff


I agree that it’s a really good book but I don’t remember it being very advanced. I would expect anyone getting OICNW to have read it and be familiar with everything it talks about. Definitely anyone who has a Master’s license should have already read it at least once.

Law of Tug, Tow and Pilotage, Alex L. Parks. It is a good practical text for maritime law, not only limited to towing. My copy was a gift so I don’t know the cost, but I am sure it is expensive.

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It is very expensive. The cheapest I can find the most current edition it is $175, probably used. It sounds like an excellent book though.

I did a video on this subject :wink:

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Farwell’s Rules of the Nautical Road.

That’s another good one that if you haven’t read by the time you reach Master you definitely should give it a go. I might even reread it as I haven’t read it since 2006 or 2007.

An hour? How long is your list, 150 books?

Ha! it’s onger than that! :joy:

Can you give us the abridged version?

Law of Tug Tow and pilotage is a great book. I have not seen It in a long time. I use to sit in book stores for hours reading it.

Another good book is Chuck Davis’s, Maritime Law Desk Book. It’s easy to find what you’re looking for with citations. I’ve had it for a long time and use to buy the updates, but gave that up about 15 years ago. I was a little shocked to see that the 2016 edition is $280.

Sounds like you’re already on a good path. Next step is to start reading (or rereading) good nautical fiction.

While googling your suggestion I came across this, which looks interesting. What do you and @jdcavo think?

You might want to check if there is a local law school or law library, and see if they have a copy. While they don’t normally “loan” books, you may be able to arrange something if you know someone who…

I worked at a university for 23 years before retiring last year and we had access to the law library at Regent University. A great source for interesting reading material.

Professor Robert Force is the leading admiralty law scholar in the US. He chairs the admiralty program at Tulane.

That publication looks like a very good broad outline and overview. It’s free. I’ll certainly read it. However, in my quick scan, I did not xnotice anything about a topic of recent interest on gcaptain, seamen’s wage claims. I wonder if that reflects the Federal Judical Center’s lack of interest in seamen’s wage claims, or perhaps that seamen, and their wage claims, are no longer frequently appearing in court.

For a practical overview of Federal maritime law, and particularly for some Washington and Alaska state court alternative remedies, the Maritime Law Deskbook is the best reference that I have seen. It answers many of the questions that come up, to the extent that they can be answered, and provides citations for more in depth research.

It’s a good overview, but as noted, it’s not comprehensive. It also seems a typical law “hornbook” written by and for lawyers, so to a lay reader it may be a bit dense and very dry. But it’s free, written by a respected proctor and relatively recent. It may be the same as this hard-copy text that sells for $18.99.

As a academy cadet in the late 70s, we used The Law of Admiralty by Gilmore and Black in our maritime law class. At the time it seemed dense and dry, but now, after practicing law and reading many law books, I appreciate the very sublime humor in it. It reads much better than comparable law books. Much of it is still relevant as many aspects of Admiralty have not changed in a very long time, and the leading authorities and precedents may be a hundred or more years old (salvage, for example). Other areas, like Jones Act seamen status, have changed quite a bit since this book was published.

For Seamen’s claims, the leading text is (or was, it’s been a while) The Law of Seamen or “Norris.” It’s multi-volume, and thus outrageously expensive, the small firm I worked in couldn’t afford a set and we used the library in the Federal courthouse.

Wow, that just really be expensive then!

You’re perpetuating a misconception of lawyers and law firms. They aren’t all rolling in cash. While a “big” firm with Fortune 500 clients might buy the multi-volume set and bill a single client for it, this was a small firm (3 lawyers) in a relatively small port (Boston). Our clients were towing vessel and fishing boat operators.

What about writing? Here is from Douglas Adams:

“What I mean is that if you really want to understand something, the best way is to try and explain it to someone else. That forces you to sort it out in your own mind. And the more slow and dim-witted your pupil, the more you have to break things down into more and more simple ideas. And that’s really the essence of programming. By the time you’ve sorted out a complicated idea
into little steps that even a stupid machine can deal with, you’ve certainly learned something about it yourself. The teacher usually learns more than the pupil. Isn’t that true?”

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