Scouring websites full of maritime links is a bit like poking around in an encyclopedia – back in the days when encyclopedias were still published… They are endless sources of information and they are obsessively addictive. Start off looking for information about marine photography back in the middle of the 20th century and before you close down for the night you have changed course, tacked and gybed many times, tracking down different photographers, different locations, different vessels, and then branching off to research light ships or right whales or maritime book sellers in Sydney, Australia. Or you start off looking for caulking tools and find a site of old tools, then another, and yet another. Pretty soon your credit card is squealing and you are thinking that perhaps you really should build an extension on the garden shed so that you can work on the tender over the course of the winter, or varnish the blocks, or build a folding salon table. That leads to looking for more supplies and maybe another chisel or a caulking mallet. At some point reason kicks in however and you realize that the boatyard really can do all that better, faster, and with more skill. But there’s not as much fun for you.
Unfortunately, printed encyclopedias are virtually obsolete today and even at their best, they didn’t have the resources, or the immediacy, that websites can provide. Although you might be able to access a few photos by a maritime photographer in a printed volume, on a site such as the one hosted by Beken of Cowes you have endless resources and options. You can look up images dating back to the 1800’s, find cards and calendars, order on line, and all the rest. Try doing that with the Encyclopedia Britannica! Out of curiosity, I just checked the on-line kids’ version of the Encyclopedia. The subscription fee is about $130.00 annually which seems a bit steep for the services it would provide to my grandsons.
So I highly recommend delving into some of the maritime link sites, particularly if you, who have some time to kill, or are looking for a diversion. They are free, and you certainly won’t be bored. Further you will be amazed at the wealth of resources available.
The Mother Of All Maritime Links (and yes, that is its name) was started by John Kohnen, a resident of Eugene, Oregon; you can find his various links lists by starting at www.boat-links.com. This is a project that he started well over a decade ago and you can add your link, or even donate to his efforts by contacting him. The project has to be a labor of love and while he tries to keep it up to date I suspect that he also has a day job to keep food on the table and a roof over his head.
Another useful source of information is through www.seagifts.com and after you get through admiring the various nautical gifts and décor, toys, models (including airplane models) and other items, scroll down on the left to nautical or ocean links. There are many links to various vessels, museums, several Titanic websites, and links to National Geographic maritime articles, among many others. I thought that at one time they had a link list for maritime themed movies but couldn’t find it tonight. Such a list would be a wonderful addition to some link site.
My final suggestion is www.apparent-wind.com which is Mark Rosenstein’s Sailing pages. He has a contents page at the very beginning which leads you on into other links – everything from current affairs, sailing opportunities, tall ships and museums, to other sailing resources. His list of ships and museums is amazingly comprehensive and you’ll be able to find endless new places to visit (and ways to sail there).
There are many maritime sites and each one of these main websites has links to other link lists as well. You could easily spend many hours “researching”, or just searching for something. You will find multiple sources of information. Just checking out the websites for this article led me on a merry dance as I skipped around from subject to subject. In addition, maritime magazines such as Wooden Boat, Classic Boat, Yachting World and Yachting Monthly, as well as the others such as Cruising World, Soundings and all the rest normally include websites for advertisers (although not link sites). Or if you have a very specific search – for instance you want to find a genuine live oak caulking mallet or a large bronze dorade vent – you can try one of the internet search engines.
If you find a really interesting link list or website, please let me know so that I can add it to the collection. The ones that I included are US-based but international in scope. And if you find steering wheels suitable for classic yachts, please let me know!
Virginia Crowell Jones