Living aboard can be a lot more comfortable and simple if you are well prepared.  Here are some books that will help you with that preparation.

Living Aboard a Boat,
by Mike Miller

This is a short book in both Kindle and soft cover format available at  The book is designed to inform the person who is considering living aboard about the pros and cons of the lifestyle choice.

Mr. Miller has lived aboard and provides examples and photographs based on his own experiences.  Much of the content of this website is partially based on the book.

The book is also available as a PDF for $2.99.  Buy Now.

The Complete Live-Aboard Book,
by Katy Burke

This classic about living aboard was published in 1982 but is still a very useful and thorough guide to living aboard. Katy is a naval architect and her then significant other, Bruce Bingham, illustrated the book. Bruce is the designer of the Flicka, a 20 foot cruising sailboat with deceptive room below.

Bruce and Katy cruised and lived aboard Sabrina, a Flicka 20, for a long time.  It was their home and office;  they know what they are talking about.  There are usually copies, sometimes used, of this book available at

The Essentials of Living Aboard A Boat,
by Mark Nicholas

Mark's book came out in 2004 and was republished in 2008. He covers just about anything you could want to know about living aboard. His book also contains spread sheets that really allow you to drill down on liveaboard expenses and get a good handle on what you're getting into.

His information is current and includes a lot of the modern considerations for living aboard that didn't even exist 30 years ago.  His book can be obtained from his website or at

Boat Cosmetics Made Simple,
by Sherri Board

Most people who love boats and living aboard do not want their liveaboard home to look like a rundown mildewed faded old shack. This little book first published in 1989 will tell you how to improve and maintain your boat's appearance.  The book has been updated at least once, but the original is great too.

Motor Boating and Sailing Magazine, edited by Bernard Gladstone and Tom Bottomley.

This book consists of advice on keeping your boat shipshape from the columns of Motor Boating & Sailing Magazine.  It's subtitle is The Boatowner's Guide to Maintenance, Repair and Improvement.  The book is a classic that contains all kinds of timeless advice on boats and their systems.

Chapman Piloting Seamanship and Small Boat Handling,
by Charles F. Chapman, Elbert S. Maloney and many others including current editor Charles B. Husick.

This is a classic. My own copy is the 59th edition copyrighted in 1989. It is an expensive book, and is continually updated. I think the most recent edition is the 67th, published in 2013.

This book will tell you all about navigation rules, how to read charts, boating laws and regulations, anchoring, seamanship, weather and tides and currents. It's the closest thing you will ever see to a nautical encyclopedia. If you can only afford one book to keep in your liveaboard library, this is the one.

by David Owen Bell

This small book came out in 1992 and will teach you what you need to know to handle your boat around docks in all kinds of wind and tide conditions. Even if you plan to live aboard in a marina and not do much cruising, you will find many valuable tips in this book.  The illustrations are clear and easy to understand.

Heart of Glass,
by Daniel Spurr

This book first came out in 2000, and is a history of fiberglass boats and the men who made them.  He goes into great detail about the designers and builders who revolutionized the boat industry in the years following World War Two.  If you are going to live aboard your boat this book will help you appreciate the other boats you see during your liveaboard life.  You will also understand why some of the best built fiberglass boats are the old ones.

Know Your Boat,
by David Kroenke

Published in 2002, this handy book will tell you everything you need to do about your liveaboard boat systems. He covers through hulls, plumbing, engines, electric systems, toilets, rigging and about any thing else you could have on a boat. His illustrations are simple and easy to understand.

The Nature of Boats,
by Dave Gerr

This 1992 book is a classic of what Mr. Gerr calls Insights and Esoterica for the Nautically Obsessed. He covers a bit of the history of boats and yachts and gives you fundamental information on how boats perform in the water and they types of boats that are best suited for specific conditions. Mr. Gerr is a naval architect and gives you valuable insights on picking propellor size, proper galvanic corrosion protection and sail design.

Sailboat Hull & Deck Repair,
by Don Casey

This 1996 book picks up and expands on elements of Casey's earlier books. He has some especially good advice on techniques on tracing and repairing those pesky leaks that can make a liveaboard's life miserable.

This Old Boat,
by Don Casey

The subtitle of this book, which was first published in 1991, is subtitled Turn a rundown fiberglass boat into a first-class yacht on a shoestring budget.  Mr. Casey's book delivers on this promise and he gives you timeless information on how to perform many tasks yourself on your fiberglass boat.


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