Top 12 Maritime Books Every Seafarer Must Have

The maritime industry is constantly changing and so are the rules and regulations which govern it. These shipping rules and regulations are written and implemented in the form of codes and conventions by the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

Every seafarer working on ships are bound by these codes and conventions, which are constantly changing due to factors affecting maritime industry.

Maritime books by International Maritime Organization (IMO) provide details of the shipping laws which are to be implemented and

solas marpol

followed by seafarers and ship owners at the sea.

In this article, we have brought to you top ten (and more) maritime books which must be there in the collection of every seafarer.

Whether you are a deck officer, marine engineer, or a crew member, these maritime books are extremely valuable throughout the course of your career at sea.


1. STCW – Standards of Training, Certification, and Watch-keeping

The STCW Convention deals with standards of competence required by seafarers to join merchant vessels. It includes new training and certification requirements and methodologies, requirements of hours of work and rest, medical fitness standards for seafarers, and prevention of drug and alcohol abuse. The STCW convention is a must-read for all seafarers



MARPOL is one of the most important maritime regulations today. Marine pollution (MARPOL) regulation deals with prevention of marine pollution by harmful substances discharged from ships. It consists of six annexes for controlling and eliminating of marine pollution.

International Safety Management (ISM) Code

3. International Safety Management (ISM) Code

The International Safety Management Code (ISM) is one of the important regulations of the SOLAS Convention which deals with safety of seafarers at the sea through safe management of shipping operations. ISM code publication is an essential reference for shipping owners, operators, companies, and maritime institutes. The code explains safe management practices for safety at sea and avoidance of damage to the environment.

Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS)

4. Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS)

SOLAS or Safety of Life at Sea is one of the most important maritime conventions. It deals with safety of lives of seafarers at sea and describes requirements for all merchant ships to comply with the minimum safety norms in its chapters. This is one important book for all seafarers and shipowners.

Life Saving Appliance (LSA) Code

5. Life Saving Appliance (LSA) Code

The Life Saving Appliance (LSA) Code was adopted by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to provide international requirements for the life saving appliances, including personal protective equipment such as life jackets, immersion suits, visual aids, thermal protective aids etc.

Procedures for Port State Control (PSC)

6. Procedures for Port State Control (PSC)

Port state control (PSC) is an important procedure which is carried out on all ports around the world to find deficiencies in foreign ships and to increase maritime safety and prevent marine pollution. Procedures for Port State Control provide basic guidance to conduct inspections of ships worldwide and harmonize the criteria for the application of control procedures.

Fire Test Procedures

7. Fire Test Procedures (FTP)

The International Code for application of fire test procedures provides international requirements for laboratory testing, type-approval, and fire test procedures for products referenced under SOLAS Chapter II-2. It includes test for non-combustibility, test for smoke and toxicity, test of “A”, “B” and “F” class divisions, test for fire door control system, test for surface flammability etc.

Cargo Storage and Securing (CSS) Code

8. Cargo Storage and Securing (CSS) Code

The Cargo Storage and Securing (CSS) Code provides guidance for safe working conditions for securing of containers on deck of the ship. It also deals with safe stowage procedures and storage of vehicles in ships.

IMSBC Code and Supplement

9. IMSBC Code and Supplement

The International Maritime Solid Bulk Cargoes Code and Supplement provides information on safe stowage and shipment of solid bulk cargoes. It informs on the dangers associated with the shipment of certain types of solid bulk cargoes and gives instructions on the procedures to be adopted when the shipment of solid bulk cargo is contemplated.

Load Lines convention

10. Load Lines convention

The international convention on load lines deals with freeboard and stability of the ship along with potential hazards present in different zones and different seasons. One of the main purposes of this code is to ensure the water tightness integrity of the ship’s hull below the freeboard deck.

IAMSAR – International Aeronautical and Maritime Search and Rescue Manual

11. IAMSAR – International Aeronautical and Maritime Search and Rescue Manual

IAMSAR is a manual jointly published by International Civil Aviation Organization and International Maritime Organization for mobile facilities which are intended to be carried on board ships to help with performance of search and rescue in times of emergency.

Collision Regulation (COLREG)

12. Collision Regulation (COLREG)

The convention of International regulation for prevention of collision at sea is an essential guide for ship navigation at the sea. The regulations are also known as the “rules of the road” or navigation rules that are to be followed by ships and other vessels at the sea to prevent collision between two vessels.

More Important Books from International Maritime Organization (IMO)

International Code of Signals

1. International Code of Signals

PSSA – Particularly Sensitive Sea Areas

2. PSSA – Particularly Sensitive Sea Areas

Ship’s Routeing

3. Ship’s Routeing

Maritime Security and the ISPS Code

4. Maritime Security and the ISPS Code

GMDSS Manual

5. GMDSS Manual

International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code (IMDG)

6. International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code (IMDG)

These are some of the most important maritime books which every seafarer must have.

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