Author’s Preface

I am a working sea captain. Throughout my sea service, and especially during the time I was a cadet all the way through to becoming a master mariner, I have had to carry many books with me to study at sea, or to use as references to remind me of the formulae and procedures for such calculations as astronavigation, great circle sailing and so on. I became tired of carrying so many books with me, so I came up with the idea of putting together a book that contains all the topics under one cover. Of course, it is impossible to put all the nautical information that exists into one book. Therefore, I have had to give a lot of thought based on my own seagoing experience in choosing the subjects, and the particular areas of those subjects that I consider most useful for deck officers to have available for reference and study at sea.

When I began to write this book, I titled it, “Mariner’s Personal Handbook”. It contained all relevant aspects of the mariner’s profession, including some personal usage and such information as telephone book, world almanac (countries, flags, electric sockets, telephone codes, currency, etc.). It was made as a binder, rather than a normal book, so that users could insert their personal notes wherever appropriate, but then we ran into problems with the size of the binder. Consequently, we have split it into two parts: the main part contains all nautical requirements and is made like a normal book, while the other part contains personal usage such as telephone book, world almanac, etc.

Users of this book are its most important critics and commentators. I will respect and value your opinions and suggestions, as well as any corrections that will help to make this book better. Please write to me and include contact information so I can respond to you.


I’d like to acknowledge the many people who have helped me to complete this book, including those officers who have served under my command, and who have given me ideas, feedback and opinions that I greatly value. It is not practical to list all of those who have contributed, but I remember you all.

I would like to thank some particular people who were supportive during my academy years and my early career, such as Ms. Anh N. Lam and others. I will always appreciate your support.

I would also like to thank Mr. Anthony Earnshaw for helping me in the process of editing. Thanks also to Mr. Nhon and his team from DC Design for helping me with drawing diagrams and graphics.

I would like to thank Capt. Letterio Tomasello, Capt. Theo Hinrichs, and Maximiliano Alonso whom I never met, who provided me with photos to make this book more attractive and useful.

I would like to thank the one person in my life who has urged me on the way with her untiring support and seemingly unlimited belief in me, my wife, Hanh Nguyen, who has also given me two beautiful children, Sila and Asoka.

And a special thanks to the lovely country I now call home, Canada. More than 30 years ago, this country gave a chance to a 17-year old homeless (and stateless) boy with very little English. Canada gave me and my two younger brothers a chance to come to this wonderful country to be among kindly Canadians and to start building our future. Thank you Canada, and I am very proud to be Canadian.

Most of all, I must thank my father, Truong M. Thang, and my lovely mother, Nguyen T. X. Nhi, who passed away few years ago. My parents took big risks to give me and my brothers a chance to have a brighter future.

Last but not least, I beg the forgiveness of all those who have supported me through my academic years and my career and whose names I have failed to mention.

As the author and publisher, I reserve all copyrights of this book. Please read “Notices of Rights”. However, there was a time when I was a cadet, and I did copy many books for studying purposes. It’s time for me to pay back, so if you’re short of the petty cash to purchase the book, as I was then, feel free to copy it for your study, but not for massive reproduction or resale. I wish you to enjoy the book.

Capt. Khan M. Truong