Chapman Piloting & Seamanship, published by Hearst Books, a Division of Sterling Publishing Co., Inc. has been a leading reference book for both power and sail boaters for nearly 100 years. Known as "the Bible of Boating", more than 3 million copies have been printed. The 67th edition (Hearst, 2013) has 920 pages, 1,500 full-color illustrations and charts, and exploded views and cutaways and updated with information on federal laws, regulations, and fees. Covers the newest technology — especially in the area of communications and navigation electronics equipment, such as GPS, radar, depth sounders/fish finders, chart plotters, engines, and other gear.
It contains authoritative information about boating rules, weather, tide, currents, and navigation, seamanship for powerboats, small craft, and boats under sail; anchoring, communications, and navigation; inland boating, marlinspike seamanship, and boating customs. It is often used as the text for private boating schools throughout the U.S.; officially recommended book for the U.S. Coast Guard's boating education classes and many local United States Power Squadrons.
The work originated in 1917.
The original author, Charles Frederic Chapman (1881–1976), was an avid boater, and the editor of Hearst's Motor Boating Magazine from 1912 to 1968. During World War I, the U.S. Government needed to train men in the Navy, Coast Guard and Merchant Marine to become operators of small boats, including landing craft, utility craft, gigs, patrol craft. Then Assistant U.S. Secretary of the Navy, Franklin D. Roosevelt, commissioned Chapman to write a manual that could be used to help provide that training. Chapman did this in just three days, drawing largely on articles that had appeared in Motor Boating Magazine.
The result was Practical Boat Handling, the first edition of which was published in 1917 with 144 pages, 5 in x 7 in. From this, the book evolved through subsequent editions into Piloting, Seamanship & Small Boat Handling. The book title has now been shortened to Chapman Piloting & Seamanship. Charles Chapman also became one of the original founders of the United States Power Squadrons.
- Chapman, Charles Frederick (1917). Practical motor boat handling, seamanship and piloting; a handbook containing information which every motor boatman should know. New York: MoToR Boating/Internet Archive. Retrieved March 10, 2014.