Recommended Online Books about Cruises – Ships and Sailing

Recommended Online Books about Cruises, Ships and Sailing. Ships and boats, Seamanship, Sailing, Cruises, Shipping operations, Sailing history.

Ships & Seamanship

Hint: When a book you want to borrow at Internet Archive is already checked out, go to the Internet Archive’s ‘Search’ box, check “Search Metadata”, and search for the book’s title. Sometimes they have two or more copies.

Century Past Library


Ships & Seamanship

Boats & Boating Collection

About 470 free online books at the Internet Archive, resulting from a search for books on “Boats and Boating”. Be patient as the page loads.

Ships Collection

About 900 free online books at the Internet Archive, resulting from a search for books on “Ships”. Be patient as the page loads.

Sailing Collection

Over 500 free online books at the Internet Archive, resulting from a search for books on “Sailing”. Be patient as the page loads.

Seamanship Collection

Over 100 free online books at the Internet Archive, resulting from a search for books on “Seamanship”. Be patient as the page loads.

Ocean Travel Collection

About 230 free online books at the Internet Archive, resulting from a search for books on “Ocean Travel”. Be patient as the page loads.

Selected Articles about the History of Science & Technology

Cruise Ships Collection

About 150 books from the Internet Archive free online on the subject of Cruise Ships.

Merchant Shipping Collection

Over 50 free online books at the Internet Archive, resulting from a search for books on “Merchant Shipping”. Be patient as the page loads.

Shipwrecks Collection

About 750 free online books at the Internet Archive, resulting from a search for books on “Shipwrecks”. Be patient as the page loads.

American Merchant Ships and Sailors

American Merchant Ships and Sailors Book Cover

Abbot, Willis J.
Dodd 1908        Dewey Dec.    387

American shipping from colonial days to present, including coastwise, oversea, river, lake and fishing craft. Accurate. -A.L.A.Catalog 1904

Knots, A Study of Marlinespike Seamanship Which Embraces Bends, Hitches, Ties, Fastenings and Splices and their Practical Application

Aldridge, Arthur F.
Rudder 1918        Dewey Dec.    623.8

Also with chapters on cordage, matting, hammock making and wire steel work.

See our book collection on Sailors & Shipping on the Great Lakes

Boat-building and Boating

Beard, Daniel Carter
Scribner 1911        Dewey Dec.    623.8

“Practical work, describing boatmaking from a primitive raft to a motor-boat, with directions for tying knots, making sails, etc. Excellent illustrations.”
– – A.L.A.Catalog 1904 – 1911

The Small Yacht; its Management and Handling for Racing and Sailing, with Chapters on Construction

Boardman, Edwin Augustus
Little 1909        Dewey Dec.    797

“Design and construction of a racing yacht and its handling during a race are discussed in very practical chapters, written from the experience of a successful amateur yachtsman.” – A.L.A.Catalog 1904 – 1911

Boatman’s Handbook: The New Look-it-up Book

Bottomley, Tom
Hearst Marine 1985        Dewey Dec.    623.8

Emergencies — Safety — Seamanship — Piloting — Weather — Electronics — Racing — Amenities — Sources — Government — Tables — Maintenance

Ocean Steamships; a Popular Account of their Construction, Development, Management and Appliances

Ocean Steamships, a Popular Account of their Construction, Development, Management and Appliances Book Cover

Chadwick, F.E. and others
Scribner’s Sons 1891        Dewey Dec.    387

Romance of the Ship: The Story of Her Origin and Evolution

The Romance of the Ship Book Cover

Chatterton, Edward Keble
Lippincott 1911        Dewey Dec.    387

“Covers in one volume the field of the author’s Sailing Ships and their Story and Steamships and their Story. Suffers somewhat from condensation and omissions, but is on the whole very informing and interesting.” -A.L.A.Catalog 1904-11

Ships & Ways of Other Days

Ships & Ways of other Days Book Cover

Chatterton, Edward Keble
Sidgwick & Jackson 1913        Dewey Dec.    387

“”A fascinating book for the reader interested in sea-faring matters and old voyages, telling how men managed to build, launch, equip, and fit out different craft in all ages, how ships behaved, and how mariners have lived on shipboard. Well illustrated with reproductions, of old prints and with line drawings.” – Standard Catalog for Public Libraries: Science and Useful Arts (1931)

Books on Railroad History, Trains

The Seaman’s Friend, Containing a Treatise on Practical Seamanship…

with plates; a dictionary of sea terms; customs and usages of the merchant service; laws relating to the practical duties of master and mariners. 13th edition

Dana, Richard Henry Jr.
Thomas Groom 1873        Dewey Dec.    623.8

Dana gained fame as the author of the memoir, “Two Years before the Mast”.

Eagle Seamanship: A Manual for Square-rigger Sailing

Daniels, Edwin H., U.S. Coast Guard Academy
Naval Institute Press 1990        Dewey Dec.    623.8

Topics: Marine engineering, United States., Sailing, Non-Motor Boat Design And Construction, Seamanship, History – Military / War, United States, Transportation, Military – General, Ships & Shipbuilding – Engineering, Coast Guard, Handbooks, manuals, etc, Officers’ handbooks, Eagle (Ship : 1936-), United States. Coast Guard, Square-riggers, Barks (Sailing ships), Training-ships

Modern Seamanship; A Comprehensive Reference Guide for All Recreational Boaters

Dodds, Don
Gramercy 2000        Dewey Dec.    623.8

Instructs readers on such seamanship skills as navigation, docking, boat handling, maintenance, and how to handle common emergencies.

Motor Boats

Durand, William Frederick
lnternational marine engine 1907        Dewey Dec.    623.8

“Brief, practical and thoroughly scientific manual, including boats, propellers and engines.
– – A.L.A.Catalog 1904 – 1911

The Romance of Tall Ships

Eastland, Jonathan
Gallery 1990        Dewey Dec.    623.8

Books on Auto Industry, Motorcycle History

Sailing, Seamanship, and Yacht Construction

Fox, Uffa
Dover 2002        Dewey Dec.    623.8

Ocean Steamship Traffic Management

Ocean Steamship Traffic Management Book Cover

Huebner, Grover G., PhD
Appleton 1920        Dewey Dec.    387

The first volume of a projected “Shipping series.” Presents the facts, forms; functions and principles of most importance in the shipping business; analyzes the divisions of freight and passenger service, the duties of each position and the possible lines of advancement. Well organized; written with clearness and precision. Part one is on “The traffic organization of ocean shipping,” part two “Ocean shipping documents” and part three “Ocean rates and regulations.” – A. L. A. Catalog (1926)

Modern Rope Seamanship: Synthetic and Natural Fibres

Jarman, Coin and Beavis, Bill
International Marine 1976        Dewey Dec.    623.8

The Young Sea Officer’s Sheet Anchor; or, A Key to the Leading of Rigging, and to Practical Seamanship

Lever, Darcy
G.W. Blunt 1843        Dewey Dec.    623.8

Topics: Navigation, Masts and rigging.

Ports and Terminal Facilities

Ports and Terminal Facilities Book Cover

MacElwee, Roy S., PhD
McGraw-Hill 1918        Dewey Dec.    387

“A valuable work on the economic importance of ports, proper equipment and methods of handling traffic.”
– Standard Catalog for Public Libraries: Science and Useful Arts (1931)

Chapman Piloting & Seamanship

Maloney, Elbert S. and Chapman, Charles F.
Hearst 2003        Dewey Dec.    623.8

“The classic reference used by boating schools and recommended by the Coast Guard Auxiliary covers every topic related to both powerboats and sailing ships, from emergency procedures and international signals at sea, to weather conditions, knots, navigation and more.” Boating essentials – Seamanship – Safety – Piloting – Electronics – Further aspects of boating – Appendices

Books on Sports, Outdoor Recreation

Selected Articles on the American Merchant Marine

Selected Articles on the American Merchant Marine Book Cover

Phelps, Edith M., comp.
H. W. Wilson 1916        Dewey Dec.    387.5

In the first decades of the 20th century publisher H.W. Wilson produced many volumes in its Debaters’ Handbook Series on social and political issues that were under discussion at the time. Each book contains the full text of selected articles and documents representing opposing views on the issue, along with a substantial bibliography of books and articles.

Most of the books mentioned in these guides are likely to be freely available online. Search by title; first at the Internet Archive (, then at Referenced magazine articles may also be available online at the same sites, with HathiTrust the preferred site for magazines.

Every Boy’s Book of Railways and Steamships

Every Boy's Book of Railways and Steamships Book Cover

Protheroe, Ernest
London: Religious Tract Society 1911        Dewey Dec.    380

Selected Articles from a Century Ago on Miscellaneous Topics

Standard Seamanship for the Merchant Service

Riesenberg, Felix
Van Nostrand 1936        Dewey Dec.    623.8

“Embracing every department of seamanship proper, the book shows evidence of careful
planning and wise selection from competent sources. . . Capt. Riesenberg’s ‘Standard Seamanship’ is doubly welcome, not only for the sound technics employed and advocated but for the wholesome atmosphere of professional brotherhood that is a feature of the book.”
– Standard Catalog for Public Libraries: Science and Useful Arts (1931)
625 illustrations. Chapters: Types of Vessels, The Hull, , Ropes, Knots, Splices, Blocks and Tackles, Steamer Rigging – Cargo Gear, Sailing Ship Rigging – Sails – Canvas Work, eck Machinery, Holds, Peaks, Tanks, Stowage, Carriage of Live Stock, The Tanker, Passenger Vessels, Boats, Compass – Lead – Log – Piloting, The Bridge, Rules of the Road at Sea, Ground Tackle, Handling a Steamer, Handling a Sailer, Weather at Sea, Safety on Board Ship, Ship Maintenance

Motor Boats, Hydroplanes, Hydroaeroplanes …

Construction and Operation with Practical Notes on Propeller Calculation and Design

Russell, Thomas H.
Thompson 1917        Dewey Dec.    623.8

“An illustrated manual of self-instruction for owners and operators of marine gasoline engines and amateur boat-builders.”- A.L.A.Catalog 1904 – 1911

Century Past Library