I am interested in cruising the Puget Sound, but not sure that our boat is large enough. I have a 22-foot open bow Cobalt, so I not sure how much this will limit my ability to explore. I am from Portland, Oregon and was thinking of planning a weekend trip where we could driving up, launch the boat and then cruise up to Rosario and/or other locations that have marinas and places to spend the nights. Does your Waggoner Cruising Guide provide guides for smaller vessel cruises?

Bryant McArthur


Can you cruise in a 22-foot open bow Cobalt? Absolutely. One of our regular readers cruises all the way up the Inside Passage in his 14.5-foot Duroboat with an outboard motor. Last year, we met a 55-year-old grandfather from Vancouver who rode a Sea-Doo from Vancouver to Skagway, Alaska. He returned home via the west coast of Vancouver Island. We also met two women, ages mid-40s and mid-50s, who were rowing from Ketchikan to Puget Sound. It was quite a rowboat to be sure, with sliding seats, outriggers and spoon blade oars, and the women were fit. And they were doing it.

You’ll need paper charts for the areas you’ll be cruising, and Captn. Jack’s Almanac for correct tide and current data. Even if you have a chart plotter or electronic navigation on a laptop computer, paper charts make things much more understandable. If your compass has not been swung by a professional compass adjuster, now is the time to do it. I assume you have a VHF radio. If not, get one. A battery-powered handheld is enough, as long as you keep the battery charged. The VHF radio is how you’ll arrange for moorage, and how you’ll call for help if you get in trouble.

Many of the interesting destinations can be explored only if you anchor and take a dinghy in. You won’t want to beach the Cobalt and come back to find it high and dry when the tide goes out. A small inflatable dinghy is enough to do the job. Kayaks work well, too, including the inflatable kayaks.

You’ll find the Waggoner full of important information. The book is packed with specific detail about marinas and fuel docks, good places to anchor, local knowledge about weather and sea conditions, radio channels to use, and dozens of things you’ll find you need answers to. Boaters call the Waggoner “the bible.” The Waggoner doesn’t get deeply into lodging, though, because the core of our audience has boats they can cook, eat and sleep aboard. But with the Waggoner as an assist, you can find lodging.

Enjoy the trip.

Bob Hale
Waggoner Cruising Guide

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