The Sail Freighter Handbook

A publication of:

The Center for Post Carbon Logistics

The Sail Freighter Handbook
© Steven Woods 2022

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

This handbook is not a comprehensive guide to Sail Freight
operations, but simply a collection of experience gained recently
during the Sail Freight Revival. It is hoped that this guide will aid in
understanding the functioning of sail freight operations, but relies on
perspective sail freight operators to be experienced sailors. The advice
in this work does not constitute an exhaustive or direct set of
procedures, but points the way to developing your own.
No part of this manual can be used directly without adaptation to
local circumstances, and does not constitute legal, business, investment, or financial advice.

Title Page Image courtesy of the University of Washington Freshwater and Marine Image Bank.

Introduction And Scope

This small book isn’t designed to be a complete manual of
everything you need to know about Sail Freight: That would be a
volume of several gross register tons, and completely unreadable.
Instead, this is designed as an introductory How-To of the practical
elements of Sail Freight. Once you have started to understand the
regulations, practicalities, and the basics of navigation, this volume
will begin to be useful. Hopefully, this is the tool you read between
understanding the theory and buying a boat, to clear up the otherwise
difficult portions of making a sail freight business function.
When looking at Sail Freight, just knowing how to sail isn’t
enough. You have to know how to get cargo back and forth to the
docks, how to recruit cargos, be your own broker, and more.
Understanding Coast Guard and state regulations is critical, alongside
many other practical concerns you’ll find mentioned in this booklet.
This tool is designed to help guide you through the practical decisions
necessary to be successful, and isn’t going to help you learn to sail, or
handle cargo, or other challenges. While this may point out gaps
which need to be filled in your knowledge, it is hoped that closing
those gaps before you begin will save a lot of headache, money, and
(possibly) lives, in the long term.

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