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The Boatswain's Manual

By William A McLeod, Revised by Capt. Cormac Mac Sweeney


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Published date:
First Published: 1944 - 6th Edition June 2017

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We are pleased to announce that this book is available in a digital format from the following suppliers:

Bogerd Martin : Chart Track NavReader 

Marine Society & Sea Cadets : MS SeaReader

Navtor Nautic : Navstation

StormGeo : s-Planner | Publications

Todd Navigation : SeaReader

Weilbach : WENDIS SeaReader


This latest edition has been revised by Captain Cormac MacSweeney.  Captain MacSweeney was very keen to keep close to the original style of William A.McLeod’s The Boatswain’s Manual when first published, and later maintained in the revisions of Captain A.G.W.Miller.

This revised sixth edition has been brought up to date to bring in current legislation and additional material added as required.

Most seamanship books available to young seamen are of the advanced test-book type, intended for candidates studying for Certificates of Competency as Mate or Master and dealing with the technical subjects connected with their Examinations.

Such books are of little use to those who wish to learn the rudiments of seamanship work.  For this reason, these pages have been compiled as a book of elementary knowledge for the beginner and also as a reference book for older deck ratings, especially those who seek information relating to everyday seamanship problems, or who wish to prepare for the qualifying examination for the Certificate of Qualification as Efficient Deck Hand (EDH) or for the new STCW qualification Able Seafarer Deck.

The Regulations relating to the issue of these certificates are included so that the seaman may appreciate the practical value of the information included in this book.  The Chapters are arranged to deal with general ship equipment, manual seamanship, cargo gear, tanker knowledge, boatwork, cleaning gear, painting, miscellaneous hints and navigational equipment in roughly alphabetical order and should be useful to all seafarers for reference purposes.