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on September 9, 2005
This book nominally covers everything there is to do on a boat of an electrical or mechanical nature including diesel engines. But the vast majority of the book is on electrical equipment. After all, most of the things on the boat sooner or later wind up being part of the electrical system.

Many boats have two electrical systems in parallel. There's the basic DC system, usually 12 volt, sometimes 24. Then there's an entirely separate circuit for 115 volt AC power used when the boat is docked at appropriate places. This book covers it all. The first chapters are on the battery itself and the circuitry around the boat. Then it gets into battery chargers, inverters, wind and water generators, solar cells, everything you ever wanted to know. There are chapters on corrosion, lightning protection, radios and antennas and on and on. About half the book is on purely electrical devices.

The remaining half has chapters on engines, toilets, air conditioning and so on, but this also includes a lot of electrical devices such as autopilots, bow thrusters, and so on that may require electrical power.

Basically this is the bible on how to fix things on the boat. You'll save a fortune on repair bills, and even more if you're halfway across the ocean.
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on July 23, 2006
I'm not talking about yachting type books. I have owned and operated commercial fishing boats in Alaska, for over 30 years. And this book demystifies bonding, grounding, AC boat wiring, lightning protection, a whole chapter just on batteries, and that's just the electrical part of the book. If your unsure about some aspect of your boat's electrical system or machinery, and are walking the docks trying to find out something about them, GET THIS BOOK. Some of that BS one hears on the dock can sink you.
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on December 31, 2008
This book is the best of its kind and should come with every boat. I am a licensed master captain with decades of experience running and repairing boats. I also run an offshore fishing and diving charter boat (ORION - Out to Sea Adventures - Port Aransas, TX). Unfortunately, if it can break on a boat I have had to fix it. I also rebuilt several boats from the hull up. There are other good books out there and some may go into more detail on certain topics but if you do not own and read this book first you are doing yourself a disservice. I also am a consultant to many vessel owners and have sent this book to them as a reference. It has saved many of them thousands of dollars. Even if you are not doing the work yourself this book can really help you understand what you are talking about when you hire someone and inspect their work.
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on February 13, 2008
This is a great book. I love the extensive coverage of electrical systems, as it seems so many boaters have problems with electrical. I was a little surprised that the engine section only covers diesel engines. No big deal, as most of the other stuff applies to gas too (impellers, transmission, etc), but I wanted to know a little about a head overhaul and there's not much there for the gas engine owner.
Still, I'd highly recommend this book to any boat owner who also has the gumption to do the work themselves.
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on November 4, 2006
This book has virtually every bit of information you will ever need to keep your boats mechanical and electrical systems intact. It also explains in easy to understand language how and why boats deteriorate and how to prevent it. Having this book aboard has already saved me thousands of dollars in repair bills by either showing me how to fix things myself or how to prevent problems to start with. Anyone that owns a boat should have a copy of this book!
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on August 7, 2007
good on basics except fails to help those of us looking for information on older, or actually any, gasoline engines. And that is not mentioned in any of the advertisements or other information. I should return it.
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on November 17, 2014
I bought the Kindle version of this book as I'm trying to keep my paper bound books to a minimum. It's got a lot of good data in it. However there is one thing that I'm finding really annoying. There are a lot of tables in the book and you cannot magnify them. I don't know if the blame should be laid at Amazon's feet or the publisher for using images for tables instead of text. What I can say is that it's a very difficult to read some times and ruins the over all useability of the book. For this lack of foresight I'm dinging the book 2stars (for the Kindle version).
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on October 8, 2013
If you plan to own a boat or own a boat and want to do most of the repairs yourself you owe it to yourself to buy this book. It will save you hours of frustration in helping you find, solve and repair the problems you will encounter. There are few books better than this one in helping repair your boat. Fair winds and calm seas.
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on March 23, 2014
After moving up form a simple trailer sailer I realized I had a lot to learn about more complex marine systems. Calder's book makes the transition a much more manageable endeavor. He provides detailed summaries of systems, which makes understanding the basic principles easy. He also provides detailed pictures and diagrams. Even if those pictures aren't specific to your boat, which is almost a given, they still provide more than enough guidance for you to understand your particular requirements. The book is a bit dated as a reference, but for an owner of a 1980's sailboat equipped with systems dating from almost every subsequent decade, I actually found this to be a strength. Owners of much newer boats might disagree. After reading cover to cover, I would not consider leaving the dock without this book on the cabin shelf. I just ordered Calder's cruising guide as a companion.
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on October 1, 2013
If you're the DIY type and own a surface craft, this publication is a great reference tool. As a long term boater, professional ship driver and a dude who's B.S. was in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering, I can tell you that Nigel knows his stuff. Great addition to the nautical library.
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