Book Review: Sailboat Electrics Simplified

What is the least understood, most dangerous, and pound for pound most expensive system on a sailboat? Electrical systems, without a doubt. Few DIYers understand how to work on them, they are the number one cause of catastrophic fires, and everything about them costs multiple times what the same thing does in an automobile.

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Thankfully, there is a book that can guide you through virtually any electrical problem or project on your sailboat. Sailboat Electrics Simplified takes the mystery out of working on sailboat electrical systems. Don Casey, the dean of sailboat DIY, leads you from the basics of DC theory, through batteries, proper wiring, circuit layout, troubleshooting, charging systems, and AC shore power, all the way to lightning protection.

His practical, not stuffy, buddy-to-buddy writing style makes common sense and quick reading of subjects that other books labor over for chapters as though you are studying for an electrical engineering degree.  The many simple illustrations show examples that will save you hours of reading elsewhere. At just 171 pages and with only half of that text, you’ll be working on your sailboat instead of reading about it.

Example page from the troubleshooting chapter

I recommend Sailboat Electrics Simplified to all my friends, and in several posts here:

There simply isn’t a better book about electrical systems for skippers who want their sailboat to be well-equipped, safe, and reliable. If you’ve got electrical projects to do on your sailboat, there’s a very good chance that Sailboat Electrics Simplified has the answers you need.

One notable exception is LED lights, which aren’t covered in the book. But if you understand that a diode is a basic electrical component and how it works, which is explained in the book, then you already understand LED lights. They are just light emitting diodes (LEDs) that are subject to the same rules as every other component.

With a 4.5 out of 5 stars rating on Amazon, this book is a good knowledge investment.


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