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The Authority to Sail.The Authority to Sail: The History of U.S. Maritime Licenses and Seamen's PapersThe Authority to Sail.
Robert Stanley Bates, George Marsh (Editor), John F. Whiteley (Forward)
(Batek Marine Publishing, 2011; Nominated in 2012 for a Pulitzer Prize)

This book depicts important aspects of our maritime history never before addressed. This synthesis of key elements of our rich maritime history might never have occurred without the many years of original research done by the author, Commodore Bates, the holder of an unlimited master's license who has enjoyed a distinguished fifty-year career in both the Coast Guard and the American Merchant Marine.

The U.S. Coast Guard issues all Captain Licenses for U.S. Ports.
Note: Other countries have different regulations, i.e. the RYA (Royal Yachting Association), conducts certification for Britain and Ireland. As of 2011, they did not recognize the USCG certification; certification through their courses was required.

Master Unlimited is a licensed mariner in ultimate command of a vessel any gross tons. The captain is responsible for its safe and efficient operation, including cargo operations, navigation, crew management and ensuring that the vessel complies with local and international laws. All persons on board, including officers and crew, other shipboard staff members, passengers, guests and pilots, are under the captain's authority and are his or her ultimate responsibility. The STCW defines the Master as Person having command of the ship.

Merchant Marine License - Sample.

Get Your Captain's License. Fifth EditionGet Your Captain's License. Fifth Edition. Charlie  Wing. Get Your Captain's License. Fifth Edition. Charlie Wing.
Charlie Wing
Considered the quickest, easiest, and least expensive way to prepare for the U.S. Coast Guard captain's ratings exams required for anyone who takes paying passengers on a boat, and useful for serious boaters who want to save money on insurance. 350 pages of seamanship and navigation tutorials. More than 1,500 questions and answers from the Coast Guard exams.

This study tool includes:

  • The six-passenger "Six-Pack," Master and Mate Inland, Master and Mate Near Coastal, and Sail/Auxiliary Sail Endorsement
  • Every question and answer on the Coast Guard exams--all 9,000 of them
  • An interactive CD-ROM with all 14,000 questions and answers in the USCG database, so you can take an unlimited number of practice exams
Sea captains lives and legends.

Captain James H. Blethen, Master Mariner
D. A. Levy, The Maritime Heritage Project

Captain Blethen spent 44 years at sea, including as captain of a hospital troop ship during the Civil War, and opening the mail lines between Hawaii and Australia/New Zealand. Upon his retirement, he become Harbor Commissioner in the Port of San Francisco. The books include a few passenger lists, with information on links to extensive passenger lists for each of the captains.

How to Read a Nautical Chart.

How to Read a Nautical Chart, 2nd Edition (Includes ALL of Chart #1): A Complete Guide to Using and Understanding Electronic and Paper Charts

How to Read a Nautical Chart.

Nigel Calder.
Explains every aspect of electronic and paper nautical charts: how a chart is assembled, how to gauge the accuracy of chart data, how to read charts created by other governments, how to use information such as scale, projection technique and datum that every chart contains; how not to get fooled or run aground by overzooming. Nigel Calder teaches you how to squeeze every ounce of information out of a nautical chart (on your GPS, chartplotter, or nav station) and understand the limits of accuracy for all charts, paper and electronic, raster and vector.

This second edition addresses the changes in the world of electronic charting, integrated onboard navigation systems, as well as radar overlays and AIS and their interfacing with charts. Calder also explores how 3D-technology and real-time depth and weather information is creating interactive charting capacities that are fundamentally changing how we navigate.

Sea captains lives and legends.

Captain Robert Bully Waterman
D. A. Levy, The Maritime Heritage Project

Captain Waterman went to sea at age 12 aboard a China trader. By 1829, Robert Waterman was said to be the youngest First Mate on record.

To this day, Captain Waterman holds world sailing records.

Annapolis Book of Seamanship. John Rousmaniere.

The Annapolis Book of Seamanship:
Fourth Edition

Annapolis Book of Seamanship.

Completely revised and updated to address changes in technology and safety standards, this new edition is the definitive guide to the art and science of sailing.

“The art of sailing, maneuvering, and preserving a ship or a boat in all positions and under all reasonable circumstances.” With the addition of the words, “and some unreasonable circumstances, too,” this definition of “seamanship” is as valid today as when the first edition of this book was published in 1983. The aim remains to advise you the sailor on essential gear, skills, and behavior that enhance your pleasure and safety.

This edition of The Annapolis Book of Seamanship is an extensive update. Much of the text is new or revised, and there are many new photos. Throughout, the book stresses the skills and attitudes that comprise what the author calls “The Seamanship Ethos.” The first four chapters cover the boat, basic sailing skills, sail trim, and weather, with the first of many “Hands On” sections with their tips.

The topics of health (including seasickness) and on board safety follow, with lessons learned from on-water tests and studies of boating accidents. We look closely at the elements of piloting, navigation, and electronics, including Digital Selective Calling, the US Coast Guard’s emergency communication system.

Moving on to the arts of traditional seamanship—anchoring, heavy weather, and emergencies—there is much on modern equipment and skills, again based on experience. The book ends with boat maintenance and the traditions that make sailing the beloved pastime it is. Appendixes include best practices for protecting the marine environment and bringing up children under sail.

Sea captains lives and legends.

Clipper Ship Captain: Daniel McLaughlin and the Glory of the Seas

Michael Mjelde
Sea captains lives and legends.

(Associates of the National Maritime Museum Libirary Pacific Maritime History Series, No 3)
Clippers are viewed as the epitome of elegant, exciting life at sea. Mjelde brings to life the realities of being master of a clipper during the last half of the 19th Century, focusing on the wheat trade beween San Francisco and England in the 1870s and 1880s.
Photographs and Drawings. 1997

Dead Men Tell No Tales by Joseph Gibbs Sea captains lives and legends.

Dead Men Tell No Tales:
The Lives and Legends of the Pirate Charles Gibbs

(Studies in Maritime History)Sea captains lives and legends.
Joseph Gibbs
Shortly before execution for mutiny and murder in 1831, the pirate Charles Gibbs recounted the infamous crimes of his harrowing life at sea in a self-aggrandizing series of "confessions." Author Joseph Gibbs takes up the task of separating fact from fiction to explicate the true story of Charles Gibbs an alias for James Jeffers (1798-1831) of Newport, Rhode Island.

The Influence of Sea Power Upon History, 1660-1783

Dover Military History: Weapons, Armor
Classic Reprint
A. T. Mahan
Influence of Sea Power Upon History. 1660-1783. A. T. Mahan.

In 1890, Captain Alfred Thayer Mahan, a lecturer in naval history and the president of the United States Naval War College, published The Influence of Sea Power upon History, 1660–1783, a revolutionary analysis of the importance of naval power as a factor in the rise of the British Empire. An examination of the general history of Europe and America with particular reference to the effect of sea power upon the course of that history.

Alfred Thayer Mahan was perhaps the most celebrated naval historian of his era. He was the author of numerous articles and books, including the landmark The Influence of Sea Power Upon History, 1660-1783. He was widely regarded as a brilliant naval theorist. From his writings, readers would never have guessed, however, that the renowned champion of the United States Navy hated the sea, and while an active-duty naval officer, lived in constant fear of ocean storms and colliding ships.

Life of Nelson. Sea Power of Great Britain. A. T. Mahan.

Historians -- and the general public -- generally have been unfamiliar with the conditions and the importance of the sea, having as to it neither special interest nor special knowledge; and the profound determining influence of maritime strength and world migration upon great issues has consequently been overlooked. This is even more true of particular occasions than of the general tendency of sea power.

Major Operations of teh Navies in the War of America Independence.

The use and control of the sea is and has been a great factor in the history of the world.

In 1775, the Continental Navy numbered around 100 ships. In contrast, the British Navy had 270 ships, and by 1783 had increased the number to 468. Despite this disparity, the Royal Navy suffered severely in the Wars of American Independence, largely through the actions of privateers, losing through sinking or capture nearly 200 ships. After 1778, when the British also had to face the fleets of France and Spain, American privateers multiplied. They inflicted severe damage on British ships and trade, costing Britain about 2,000 ships and 12,000 men captured. For the American Revolution to succeed, sea-borne trade with the rest of the world had to be maintained. A.T. Mahan’s masterly account of this neglected aspect of the wars brings to the fore the importance of the often ferocious engagements in the struggle for mastery of the sea, on the outcome of which hung the prospects of an Empire and the very course of history.

Five Sea Captains: Their Own Accounts of Voyages under SailSea captains lives and legends.

Walter Teller, Editor

Five nineteenth century New England skippers, all of whom prospered with an expanding American-flag merchant marine, give their accounts of life at sea. The Captains: Amasa Delano, Edmund Fanning, Richard Cleveland, who writes of his first voyage, George Coggeshall, and Joshua Slocum. They write of their voyages of survey and discovery in the waters of the world. 1960.

Passion and Peril, Nineteenth-Century Women at Sea

Sea captains lives and legends.

Joan Druett

This award-winning New Zealand author/historian has gathered a collection of true stories of women at sea with marvelous detail of their voyages, high sea romance, skirmishes with pirates, and first-person accounts of surviving hurricanes, typhoons, collisions and fire while under sail.
Simon & Schuster, New York, 1999.

The Making of a Sailor or Sea Life Aboard a Yankee Square-Rigger

Sea captains lives and legends.

Frederick Pease Harlow

An exciting first-hand yarn of what it was like to sail in the 1870s: working the ship in rough weather, pleasures of shore leave, exotic lands and native girls, more. Enhanced with excellent period illustrations of stately clippers, bustling New England harbors and picturesque ports of call. First printed in 1928, reprinted by Dover Books.

Origins of Sea Terms

Sea captains lives and legends.

John G. Rogers
An enlightening collection of definitions and origins of sea terms. The author traces some back to the Egyptians and Phoenicians. Many words demonstrate how seamen of yore covered surprising distances, with influences from other cultures.

Published by Mystic Seaport Museum, 1985, 215 pages.

Principles of Maritime Strategy

Sea captains lives and legends.

Dover Military History, Weapons, Armor

Julian S. Corbett

Corbett diverges from most predecessors by viewing naval strategy in the larger context of indirect pressure on both military and economic assets of the adversary. He shows that wars can be won by the side with the weaker local force if that navy can maintain maneuvering space, choose location, probe weaknesses and isolate vulnerable targets. A belligerent can be effective if he merely contests command of the sea.
First published in 1911.

Seafaring women.

Seafaring Women

Sea captains lives and legends.Adventures of Pirate Queens, Female Stowaways, and Sailor's Wives
David Cordingly

By covering the role of women and the sea, mostly in the 18th and 19th centuries, the author has brought to life stories of women who disguised themselves as men to go to sea, to fictional and mythical creatures such as mermaids.
Random House, New York

Sailors, Whalers, Fantastic Sea Voyages
An Activity Guide to North American Sailing Life

Sea captains lives and legends. Sea captains lives and legends.

Children are fascinated with sailing ships, lighthouses, whaling, shipwrecks, and mutinies, and these 50-plus activities will provide them with a boatful of fun.

This activity guide shows kids what life was like for the greenhands, old salts, and captains on the high seas during the great age of sail in the 19th century: aboard square-riggers, clippers, whalers, schooners, and packet ships. Life aboard ship was an exciting subculture of American life with its own language, food, music, art, and social structure. Children will learn that many captains brought their wives and children aboard ship, and that kids who learned how to walk at sea often found it difficult to walk on dry land. The book begins with the China Tea trade in the late 18th century and ends with the last whaler leaving New Bedford in 1924. Kids will create scrimshaw using black ink and a bar of white soap; make a model lighthouse using a bike reflector, an oatmeal box, and a plastic soda bottle; and paint China with traditional designs using a blue paint pen and a basic white plate. Included are additional simple activities requiring common household objects.

Sea Life in Nelson'sTimeSea captains lives and legends.

John Masefield
Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, Maryland, 1982

She Captains of the Sea.

She Captains: Heroines and Hellions of the SeaSea captains lives and legends.

Joan Druett
Druett's collection of stories of women associated with the sea has received mixed reviews, though most are favorable. Excerpts from Publisher's Weekly: "Druett's canvas portrays the exploits of seafaring women throughout history . . . Unevenly paced but entertaining . . .filled with fascinating characters distinguished by bold enterprise. All were not captains, but were at sea. Druett jumps around through eras, pirates, wives and psuedo-royalty in these stories of strong women.
Printed in 2000

The Seaman's Friend:
Containing A Treatise On Practical Seamanship

Sea captains lives and legends.

Richard Henry Dana, Jr.
Printed 1851; Reprinted by Dover Publications, 1997
Currently available without illustrations or index. It may have typos or missing text. However, purchasers can download a free scanned copy of the original rare book from GeneralBooksClub.com. You can also preview excerpts from the book there. With the British Laws Relating to Shipping, the Duties of Master and Mariners, and the Mercantile Marine;
Original Published by: G. Philip in 1856 in 421 pages; Subjects: Navigation; Naval art and science; Merchant marine.

A Home Away From Home: The Boston Seaman's Friend Society, Inc., 1827-1975

Sea captains lives and legends.
Richard Henry Dana Two Years Before the Mast.

Two Years Before The Mast

Sea captains lives and legends.Richard Henry Dana
The story of a young man's adventure sailing from Boston, around Cape Horn, to the California coast is a riveting, insightful account of life at sea (and the best surviving account of what it was like in 1834), replete with fascinating historical detail on California before the California Gold Rush. Two Years before the Mast appeared in 1840, while its author was still a law student. Though at the time it created no great stir in the United States, it was most favorably received in England, where it paved the way for many pleasant and valuable acquaintanceships. The following year, Dana produced a small volume on seamanship, entitled The Seaman's Friend. This, and a short account of a trip to Cuba in 1859, constitute the sole additions to his early venture. He was a copious letter-writer and kept full journals of his various travels; but he never elaborated them for publication. Yet, long before his death, he had seen the narrative of his sailor days recognized as an American classic.

Voyages That Changed The WorldSea captains lives and legends.

Peter Aughton
Award winning author ("Endeavour," "Resolution," "Newton's Apple," and "The Transit of Venus"), Aughton was a computer engineer in the aerospace industry before turning his talents to writing. Beautifully illustrated with maps, portraits, and in-depth research. Includes Saint Bendan's voyage across the Atlantic in a tiny leather boat, John Cabot's search for the North West Passage; the Mayflower, Isambard Kingdom Brunel's race across the Atlantic. Aughton has related stories most of us know about, and some you may have never heard of.

Sterling Biographies
Christopher Columbus: The Voyage That Changed the World

Emma Carlson Berne

Mayflower: The Voyage that Changed the World

Mayflower Voyage. Anthea Ballam

The Travels of Marco Polo: From Venice to the Lands of the Mongols - The Fabulous Voyage that Changed the World

Marco Polo.

Marco Polo, Introduction by F.W. Mote, Translated by William Marsden.

The Log of An Ancient Mariner; Being the Life and Adventures of Captain Edgar Wakeman

Written by himself, and edited by his daughter. Anyone with an 1800s captain in the family will treasure this book. Captain Wakeman was an excellent storyteller, travelled the world as did so many 1800s captains and writes in detail of those travels, his shipmates and ports 'o call. He was befriended by Mark Twain and is the model for a few of the sea going characters in Twain's books.
First printed in 1878. It will cost between $75-$150 depending on condition and it is well worth the price.

The Young Sea Officer's Sheet Anchor :
Or a Key to the Leading of Rigging and to Practical Seamanship

Sea captains lives and legends.

Darcy Lever
First published in 1808, The Young Sea Officer's Sheet Anchor became a standard guide throughout the 19th century in both England and the United States. The text includes a precise explanation of the principlies of rigging, the effect of wind on sails, the use of a compass, and other practical matters of sailing the open ocean. Hundreds of illustrations. Dover Books, 1998

Close to the Wind: The Beaufort ScaleSea captains lives and legends.

Peter Malone
Close to the Wind, the Beaufort Scale.Sea captains lives and legends.In 1810, a British naval officer and surveyor named Francis Beaufort developed a scale to give sailors a common language for describing the wind. From 0 (calm) to 12 (hurricane), stunning artwork and jaunty prose show what life at sea must have been like for a young boy serving as a midshipman in the 1800s. As William sails from Naples to the Caribbean, we learn intriguing historical information and nautical terminology, and witness how the wind affected day-to-day life on a ship. Detailed illustrations show the wind at work, and readers will be fascinated as they watch the storms develop in magnificent full-color paintings.

Sea HistorySea History.

Including A History of the Mediterranean, Pirates (Illustrated), Influence of Sea Power, Sea Power and World History, Ship of Gold . . .

Maritime HistoryThe Age of Sail.

Including Voyages: The Age of Sail, High Seas and Yankee Gunboats, Maritime History of the United States, U.S. Coast Guard's War on Human Smuggling.

Maritime History eBooksSea captains lives and legends.

Including Stockwin's Maritime Miscellany, The Safeguard of the Sea, Maritime Annapolis, Greek Island and the Maritime Shipping Dominance they Creates, Daily Life in the Age of Sail, Nantucket Sound. . . Also fiction: Captain Blood, The Guernseyman . . .

The Project

Maritime Nations, Ships, Sea Captains, Merchants, Merchandise, Ship Passengers and VIPs sailing into San Francisco during the 1800s.



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Sources: As noted on entries and through research centers including National Archives, San Bruno, California; San Francisco Main Library History Collection; Maritime Library, San Francisco, California, various Maritime Museums around the world.

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