The book entitled the Essential Seamanship written by Richard Henderson is about

seamanship, a broad term used on many aspects of managing a vessel. It is defined by Joachim
Schult in the Dictionary of Sailing as the “general term of covering all the skills and arts which,
combined with experience and the ability to improvise, enable a sailor to face every situation at
sea, i.e. boat handling, repairs and maintenance, navigation, weather lore, knowledge of the
right of way rules, etc.”

The purpose of this book is to introduce and explain the most essential and practical
factors of seamanship and nautical knowledge that are very helpful for today’s small boat
skippers. It is also made as a ready and up-to-date reference onboard. Lengthy discussions are
limited in order to broaden the coverage and provide important details in a book of handy size.
Most of the nautical terms in the book are defined when they are introduced because the book
was intended to be read by novices.

Regarding the author’s qualifications to write on this subject, the author stated there
that learning seamanship is by trial and error and he also stated that learning from the books
are not enough. Books can be extremely helpful but real proficiency is achieved only with
practice. There are few activities that has a greater impact than developing skills through
knowledge, learning theories, and then putting the information into practice.

I agree that real proficiency is attained through practice because according to
Richard Felder’s study in 2000, it is stated there that active learning is more effective than
lecturing. The study showed that learning from hands-on approach before tackling the theories
yield better results, hence, improvement is made.

This can also be done in seamanship. Seamanship is more on skills rather than just
theories, hands-on application makes you adapt to different situations and learn better through
trial and error. Though we need topics and concepts but these concepts need applications of
what we have learned to achieve its goal and it requires skills and correct decision making in
order to do the tasks effectively.

I really like this book and looking forward to read it again. The topics are discussed
clearly and visual presentations are really helpful for better understanding. This book is really
handy because of its size and can be really useful for future needs onboard. It will greatly
contribute in enhancing the skills of the seafarers especially beginners onboard.