12 Book Recommendations for Boaters

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Are you looking for the best sea-worthy stories for your favorite captain? You've got it! Here's a list of boat books and sailing novels to make a splash

12 Boating Books to Add to Your Reading List

438 Days

1. 438 Days by Jonathan Franklin

438 Days is a fisherman's true story of a man surviving fourteen months in a small boat drifting seven thousand miles across the Pacific Ocean. It's based on dozens of exclusive interviews with the fisherman, his colleagues, search-and-rescue officials, the remote islanders who found the fisherman, and the medical team that saved his life.


2. Life of Pi by Yann Martel

Martel's fantasy novel tells the story of Piscine Molitor' Pi' Patel, adrift at sea and sharing a lifeboat with a Bengal tiger. In 2012, Life of Pi was also adapted into one of the best boat movies.

Read Next: Best Boat Movies

The Endurance

3. The Endurance by Caroline Alexander

In 1914, Ernest Henry Shackleton set off to cross the Antarctic continent, but his ship, Endurance, was crushed and sunk by the pack ice of the Weddell Sea. The rescue of his men involved an extraordinary journey of 800 miles across the South Atlantic in a tiny lifeboat.


4. Moby Dick by Herman Melville

Herman Melville's classic 1851 book tells the tale of Ahab, the captain of a whaler obsessed with getting revenge on a white whale that destroyed his ship on a previous voyage. 

A Night to Remember

5. A Night to Remember by Walter Lord

The tale of the maiden and final voyage of RMS Titanic is one of heroism and honor. This is the classic account, published when the disaster was still within living memory. 

The Voyage of Norwal

6. The Voyage of the Narwhal by Andrea Barrett

In 1845, Sir John Franklin embarked on an expedition to find the elusive Northwest Passage, the fabled sea route to the Pacific through the frozen Arctic Ocean. His ships, Erebus and Terror, were lost. Franklin and his men seemingly vanished into thin air. In Barrett's novel, naturalist Erasmus Darwin Wells sails from Philadelphia in 1855 aboard the Narwhal to discover Franklin's fate.

robinson crusoe

7. Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe

Are you dreaming of sailing to a private island? Robinson Crusoe tells the story of a man set ashore on an island after a storm. It's the perfect classic to read on board.

Read Next: Weather Safety Tips for Boaters

Casting Off

8. Casting Off by Emma Bamford

London journalist Emma Bamford bought a one-way ticket to Borneo to work as crew on a yacht with a man she'd never met and his cat. Her first memoir and its sequel, Untie the Lines, tell of her adventures sailing in Southeast Asia and the Caribbean.

Ernest H

9. The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway

Hemingway's novel follows the exploits of an aging Cuban fisherman, Santiago, as he battles to catch a large marlin off the Gulf Coast of Florida.

Read Next: Fishing Tips for Beginners

Treasure Island

10. Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

Another classic, Treasure Island, tells the story of an adventurous boy who gets hold of a map and sets off on a ship searching for buried treasure. Among the crew, however, the treacherous Long John Silver is determined to keep the treasure for himself.


11. Adrift: 76 Days Lost at Sea by Steven Callahan

Adrift: 76 Days Lost At Sea is a 1986 memoir by Steven Callahan about his survival alone in a life raft in the Atlantic Ocean, which lasted 76 days.

The Boys In the Boat

12. The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown

This is the #1 New York Times–bestselling story about the American Olympic triumph in Nazi Germany and the inspiration for the PBS documentary "The Boys of '36′. The Boys in the Boat is a tremendous story of the crew from Seattle that won gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics.

In conclusion, boating and literature converge to offer boundless knowledge and delight for boating enthusiasts. Set sail on a literary odyssey, and let these books transport you on nautical adventures. Happy reading and safe sailing!