Books, Magazines, Websites about Cruising Under Power

It's hard to find practical information about long term, long distance, cruising under power. "Long term" is important because, as soon as your boat is your sole home, you expect it to provide more comfort, storage and ease of use than if you are just "going for a cruise" for a few months. On the other hand, if you are really going to cruise long distances in places where services and marinas may not be available, you need to provide the liveaboard comforts and other systems in a way that still allows you to be independent.

As a generalisation, most books, mags etc about power boating seem to assume you will be doing a different sort of boating - speedy, short, local boating, on an unlimited budget and heading back to a marina berth every night. So they promote the kind of power boats that are more expensive to buy, less economical to run, less seaworthy on an ocean, less sea kindly in rough water, and can't be fixed by an amateur. In reality this reflects most people's power boating, so they are only meeting their market. But if you want to do differently, read with at least a grain of cynicism. Sail cruising has a much longer history, so you will find books and magazines about this often have more appropriate advice.

These three books/magazine are what got us started. And I think they are still the best resources available. (Any other suggestions gratefully received):


BUEHLER G. "The Troller Yacht Book - A Powerboater's Guide to Crossing Oceans Without Getting Wet or Going Broke" .W.W. Norton and Company. New York. 1999

Read this AFTER you've read Beebe. Written in a rather engaging, redneck style, this is an amusing and refreshing, no-nonsense book for the not-so-rich about cruising simply under power. (If you're familiar with recent publications on the topic you'll know that most vessels and equipment recommended assume that 1. you're very rich and 2. you think technology can make cruising easy. George Buehler presents an alternative mode of power cruising that's worth thinking about.) Also has a website, with excerpts from the book.

BEEBE R. (Revised by Leishman J.) "Voyaging Under Power". International Marine. Camden, Maine. 1994

This is the classic. The one book all long distance power boaters have read. Written as the power boating equivalent to Eric Hiscock's "Voyaging Under Sail". And the ONLY book as far as we are aware that's written by a real (small boat) long distance power cruiser - the man who invented the concept and designed the first "Passagemaker". Includes design considerations, anecdotes and production models. Still a good read - even though it's become a bit of a marketing vehicle for Nordhavn (Jim Leishman's production boats).


"PassageMaker" The trawler and ocean motorboat Magazine. Dominion Enterprises. 8 issues per year.

When it got started around 1996, this magazine articulated a philosophy of cruising long distance passagemakers across oceans. In the ensuing years it has become more of a magazine for living aboard motorboats, coastal cruising and dreaming - what most of us do! And the advertising and some of the articles reflect that. But there are still interesting and useful articles for cruising distant parts. As far as we are aware it is still the only magazine that really covers long term, long distance cruising in powerboats. Some of the early editions are still available too. 1996, 1997, 1998, if I remember correctly, had some really good stuff. Philip still sometimes refers to an article he read years ago on handling single engine boats. (And, of course, the August 2007 edition has a 14 page article, written by yours truly, about Lifeline.) Also have a website.


"Trawlerworld"/"Trawlers and Trawlering"

Philip discovered Trawlerworld in 1997 when we came back from our first 2 year cruise on our 36' power boat and began dreaming about a bigger, more comfortable boat to travel further in. Trawlerworld was a moderated email list discussion group with endless references to "fuel polishing" and other more prosaic cruising subjects. Philip loved it so much it inspired him to learn to use our computer and the internet, which in those days he wasn't keen on. Inevitably, it was eventually taken over by commercial interests but, if I am not mistaken, it survives as Trawlers and Trawlering at Great to read (and contribute to) all sorts of debates about anything to do with power cruising. Now that he's rediscovered it (and while we're slothing around Sutera Harbour marina) Philip's having a good time reading all the archives.


This website is designed to give tantalising snippets of information from articles to encourage you to buy the magazine. But it also includes some very useful online articles and resources. Have a look at the excellent article on choosing the right cruising powerboat at:

"George Buehler"

See above re Buehler's book and designs for cruising powerboats.

"Setsail" (Steve Dashew)

We used to look at this site primarily to follow the logs of Al and Beth Ligett on SV Sunflower who have been cruising in SE Asia for many years. But Steve Dashew - noted as a sailor/cruiser - also has a design for a cruising powerboat that is very interesting. Have a look at:


Return to S.E. Asia Cruising Resources page.