This concise book generously explains the background of weather in a surprisingly compact format. Although not specifically aimed at boating, its coverage is more than adequate for those who venture out of safe harbors. And it’s delightfully all-encompassing. The reader can quickly find the immediate information sought, as well as discover little gems of related issues to be pondered later.

A difference between this book and other weather references is the coverage of climatological influences that impact what is conventionally thought of as meteorology. Seasonal, as well as daily (diurnal), variations in weather patterns are sometimes not well understood but are especially relevant to sailors.

Additionally, Weather Wise explores the “why” behind our dynamic world. It fosters a better understanding of this delicate interconnection of land, water, moon, wind, and rain. Our need to prepare, to fit our boat smoothly into the equation, becomes very clear.

Within the covers, the reader finds a cohesive approach to an important part of boating enjoyment, rather than a book of stated facts. It builds an interrelated holistic understanding of our world, rather than a sterile catalog of weather indicators.

As a bonus, Weather Wise is interesting to read. Not a book for the esoteric scientist (although I’d bet most would find something new inside) but, instead, it’s written in easily understood everyday language. The book strikes just the right balance in detail and description.

When darkening skies, shifting winds, or a dropping barometer bring that tickle of anxiety, you will find this book comforting. It is an effective remedy for dispelling a queasy uncertainty about the unknown.

It’s an amazing omnibus that is somehow pleasantly developed in a book easily fitting into your essential reference shelf, and less than a fourth the physical size and weight of Bowditch. In fact, I prefer this book to the familiar classics when weather questions come up.

Your VHF and SSB weather radios now can have a worthy partner that will prove invaluable — Alan Watt’s Weather Wise. I recommend setting course to your favorite book source and rewarding your boat’s library with a copy. Once read, you will not want to leave shore without it.

Weather Wise, Reading Weather Signs by Alan Watts (Sheridan House, 2008; 156 pages)