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Gary Syverson
"What a great maritime collection! Finding books on boats I've sailed."

Maritime Resource Center and Collection


In a town bordered on nearly four sides by salt water, it seems right that more than 2,000 books, plus video and audio recordings–on a wide range of maritime topics–can be found at Port Townsend Library's Maritime Resource Center.

This outstanding collection was established in 1993 by a Federal Library Services and Construction Act grant from the Washington State Library and has continued to grow ever since. In fact, Port Townsend Library now has one of the largest and strongest maritime collections on the west coast.

Areas of particular collection strength include wooden boatbuilding, yacht design, history of traditional craft, and voyaging narratives. The library also subscribes to several maritime periodicals, including WoodenBoat and Classic Boat magazines.

Click here to search the library catalog.

Northwest Maritime Center - H.W. McCurdy Library

The maritime collection of the Wooden Boat Foundation is located in the H.W.McCurdy Library at the Northwest Maritime Center. This collection is now available for check out, all titles are listed in the CLAN catalog. You may visit the H.W. McCurdy Library right next to the Point Hudson marina, upstairs in the yellow NWMC building at 431 Water Street Open hours are 9-5 M-F. You may also place holds from the catalog to have books delivered to the Port Townsend or Jefferson County Library.

Worldwide Chart Collection Finds Home at NW Maritime Center

The H.W. McCurdy Library has recently received a wonderful gift of approximately 4000 nautical charts covering the entire world.  The charts are black and white copies of original NOAA and NGA charts reduced to a handy 24” by 36” size.  Charts are organized by global oceanic region and within each region sorted into folders covering specific areas in that region.  Each folder has a cover sheet listing and describing all of the charts included in that folder.  For example, In Region 8 (Oceania/South Pacific), folder 800 contains 36 charts covering the Marquesas, Tuamotus, Society, Cook, Samoa, Gambier, Tonga and Fiji Islands.  This system makes it easy to locate a detailed chart for any area in the world.  Whether you are planning a cruise or are simply interested in researching a region, the library now has the charts to help you.

The chart collection is a generous gift from Jon Troxel who for many years owned and operated Bellingham Chart Printers.

Vintage Boating Magazine Collection Grows

The library recently received a gift of Motor Boating, Yachting and Pacific Motor Boating magazines from the 1930s and 1940s.  This is a welcome addition of our already strong collection of vintage Rudder magazines going back as far as 1899. Browsing these magazines is a great way to enjoy and explore the classic boat designs of an earlier era.

Maritime Databases:

ShipIndex is a site created to make researching a vessel easier and more effective than it has ever been. We find valuable resources that serve as quality reference material for ships and put every mention of a vessel in that resource into our database.

Selected Maritime Websites:

Jefferson County Historical Society, maritime history page.

Wooden Boat Foundation

Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding

John's Nautical and Boatbuilding page "The mother of all maritime links"

"Ships and Shipping" Database from the Tacoma Public Library Northwest Room.

Index to ships in books

Coast Pilot A series of nautical books that cover a variety of information important to navigators of coastal and intracoastal waters and the Great Lakes.

Mystic Seaport WoodenBoat publications (includes an online index of Woodenboat magazine).

WoodenBoat Publications (includes an online index of Woodenboat magazine).

Classic boat Includes an index of European yachting magazines.

Duckworks An online magazine for amateur boat builders.