Boaters planning to cruise the Pacific Northwest often ask us what materials and guidebooks they should purchase for their trip. Social media contributors and members of boating forums often mention that the Waggoner Cruising Guide is a must. We agree and can also recommend the Douglass Exploring series of guidebooks as a companion resource, which focuses on anchorages. The Waggoner Guide and the Exploring Guide each present a unique perspective; and taken together, provide all the information needed for a safe and enjoyable boating experience.
Waggoner and Exploring
The annually updated Waggoner includes detailed information about marinas, passages, and popular anchorages, while the Douglass Exploring books offer a wide variety of anchorages along with basic marina information. Both resources include helpful maps – the Waggoner includes reference maps, area maps, and detailed dock diagrams, while the Douglass Exploring books offer regional maps and maps showing approaches into coves and bays to locate the best anchoring spots.
Marinas or Anchoring?
When boaters ask us which guidebook to purchase, we answer with a question – do you spend most of your time at marinas? Or most of your time anchoring out? The usual answer is – we spend time at both marinas and anchorages. This being the case, we recommend both resources – the year’s current edition of the Waggoner Cruising Guide, which includes vital information as well as interesting things to see and do; and the Douglass Exploring guidebook, which includes numerous anchorages along with historical background.
Mix and Match
Boaters may also want to add other boating resources to their library of guidebooks, including the Peter Vassilopoulos series and the Dreamspeaker Guides, both of which cover all the popular cruising areas in the Pacific Northwest. Editions written for the San Juan Islands and Gulf Islands by Shawn Breeding and Heather Bansmer have the detail needed for boaters going gunkholing. If your cruising plans include transiting passages with rapids, found mostly in the northern regions, don’t miss picking up a copy of Ports and Passes, the Pacific Northwest Tide and Current Guide published by Waggoner’s sister company, Chyna Sea Ventures in British Columbia. You can purchase all of these guides and other resources at the Waggoner Book Store or online at https://www.waggonerguidebooks.com/
If you are going to buy only one guidebook or want to start your collection, we recommend the Waggoner Cruising Guide first. Waggoner is the most comprehensive, up-to-date guidebook and is the gold standard for comparison with others. Next, we recommend the Exploring guidebook specific to your region of interest; and of course, the current edition of Ports and Passes for tides and currents.