Believe me,"" said Water Rat to Mole in The Wind in the Willows, ""there is nothing-- absolutely nothing -- half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats -- or with boats."" All of the waterlogged believe it but seldom manage to communicate this as well as the Lydgates have managed to do in this well organized book. It is for beginners without being condescending. It covers the problems of either power or sail. All of the things that have to be learned the hard way are here: docking, mooring, anchoring, safety, equipment and care. Short chapters cover the matters of where to find free boating instruction in the various states and where to apply for licenses and insurance -- full addresses supplied. There is a cautionary section on building from kits and a section on accidents on the water -- a simple and understated recitation of the things that have happened which is more effective than any finger shaking lecture. The illustrations are photographs and line drawings (with labels) of the more difficult to visualize equipment and arrangements. There is a handy glossary of the language of the sea and an index. Back to Water Rat -- ""Look here! If you've really nothing else on hand..."" -- or even if you do.