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The One-Minute Guide to the Nautical Rules of the Road (United States Power Squadrons Guides) Paperback – August 8, 2006
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About the Author
Charlie Wing has written top-selling books on home maintenance and remodeling as well as boating. Wing lived aboard a cruising sailboat for six years.
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Top Customer Reviews
Although, I don't believe the book is updated with the latest 2015 changes in the CG handbook (I never attempted to compare the two books for this purpose), I urge anyone considering this book to not let those changes be the reason for not reading this book. It still contains the other 99% of the information in the CG handbook and will really help you go from struggling to understanding the Nautical Rules of the Road.
One of best features in the printed book is the "One-Minute Guide" Decision Tree located inside the front cover. Alas, this decision tree did not make the Kindle Version. Mr. Wing, please fix this. I would give the printed version 5 stars, but only 4 stars to this version because of this omission.
For example, the lighting requirements for an unmanned vessel being towed astern are depicted in a clear way, unlike the awkward paragraph describing this in RoR.
I qualified OOD with the help of this book.
Unfortunately, the official rules read like the international bureaucratic regulations that they are. They make no distinctions, for the most part, between typical and unusual situations, and as a quick reference source -- or even an understandable reference, period -- they leave much to be desired.
I've looked at a lot of supplemental materials for teaching the NAVRULES, due to the deficiencies as a textbook of the official book, and I've settled on this one as being the best primer for the recreational boater. To be sure, anyone trying for a Six-Pack or other commercial license will need a heavy-duty study guide, and this isn't it, but I suspect that about 90% of what needs to be learned for the regular Coast Guard exams can be learned in this book. (I've passed the Nav Rules exam myself, and I can only think of two or three questions that might not have been covered by this book -- which are also not explained well by the official COLREGS, anyway.)
The "One-Minute Guide" is actually a decision-tree chart on the inside of the book, and it's simple and easy to understand. As such, this is a great book to stick in the boat. You may (or may not, depending on vessel length) be required to carry the official COLREGS aboard, but you are required to know them. Having this book around on your boat (and/or in your "reading room" at home) is probably a lot more useful.
Other than the "one-minute guide", the rest of the book is a very well-organized and well-illustrated distillation of the rules and what they mean. For each rule, this book provides a short explanation of the actual rule, and then a sidebar explanation of "what it means". It also has useful sidebars of examples from the history of boating collisions and accidents of how the rules have come into play, and exteremely well-done diagrams for most of the often-confusing situations. There's a handsome four-color section illustrating the required night lights and day shapes. The index is a little brief -- which means you have to read through this book in order to really understand it and use it as a ready reference, since you have to know the types of rule that apply to a given situation -- but then again you should read it all the way through, anyway. At about 100 pages, and with the often entertaining case studies peppering the text, it's a lot less boring to do so than you might think. And for the price, it's well worth it as insurance.
As noted elsewhere, this is not a reference on Navigation AIDS (buoys, etc.) or the art of navigation -- the Navigation Rules are a specific and narrow body of marine law intended to prevent collisions at sea.
The best way to learn the Nav Rules is probably still through experience -- riding along with somebody who will drill you out on the water in a variety of situations -- and short of a multimedia CD, few learning aids will replace experience for a thorough first-hand knowledge of the COLREGS.
All in all, I give it four stars ande a strong recommendation for value for the price for the recreational mariner and a somewhat weaker recommendation for passenger-carrying masters. You may want to buy two copies, one for the boat and one for the home.