Great New Book For Boating Kids, Filled With Ideas And Projects For Summer

The Anti-Pirate Potato Cannon...and 101 Other Things for Young Mariners to Build, Try & Do On The Water, is now available at select bookstores. Written by award-winning marine writers David Seidman and Jeff Hemmel, the book is filled with fun and unique projects that are perfect for parents and children to do together.

27th May 2010.
By Jeff Hemmel

Okay, it’s blatant self promotion, but fellow Boating Magazine-writer David Seidman and I have worked on a new book over the past 18 months that was just released last week, right in time for summer.

Dubbed “The Anti-Pirate Potato Cannon…And 101 Other Things for Young Mariners to Build, Try, And Do On The Water,” the 260-page hardcover book is loosely modeled on the popular “Dangerous Book For Boys,” and features all sorts of stories, projects, and activities for kids that love to be around the water.

Here’s how our publisher, McGraw Hill, describes it:

“Ever since humankind began seafaring, boats and shoreline adventures have produced sturdy, independent, creative, self-reliant kids. Here is the book for all parents who want to introduce their kids to the world of boats, boating, sailing, the shore, and the sea. It provides dozens of adventures and activities for kids, and a plethora of projects for you and your kids to do together.

“Topics range from how-to to fanciful, in random organization so that each excursion into the book turns up unrelated gems on facing pages. The Anti-Pirate Potato Cannon encourages your kid to get outdoors and on the water, to build things, to try things, to cultivate their curiosity, to learn self-reliance, and to get a giant dose of the magic of seaside adventure.

“Designed to cultivate a kid’s curiosity about the natural world.”

In other words it’s filled with things to get your kids outside and off the couch, from how to build a Huck Finn-style raft to how to body surf, chart a favorite cove, build a ship-in-a-bottle, tie the essential knots, have a beach clambake, cook lunch on a boat engine, navigate by the stars, pass your boating exam, even build your own boat. Of course, there’s also plenty of PWC and watersports-related stuff in there as well, like how to submarine a stand-up PWC, get up on a wakeboard, and carve a cool slalom turn. Thrown into the mix are some fun facts, like why pirates wore gold earrings, what ice cream has to do with outboard motors, or how a canal lock works.

I could go on and on, but hey, there’s 101 things in there…I’m almost writing another book just describing it.

Sure I’m tooting my own horn here, but David and I both have got a lot of boating experience between the two of us, and have both earned awards for our writing. I think the book offers a lot of fun activities that both parents and children will enjoy.

If you want to check it out, you can find it at Amazon, Borders, Barnes & Noble, as well as select local bookstores. I hear it makes a great Father’s Day present…hint, hint.

So what’s the deal with that title? One of the 101 things to do is build an “anti-pirate” potato cannon, essentially a spud gun that, with parental help and supervision, can launch a tater clear out into open water. Pointless, yes…but guaranteed to elicit some giggles.


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About the author:

Jeff Hemmel

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Jeff Hemmel writes for boats.com, Boating, PersonalWatercraft.com, and Powersports Business. The former Senior Editor at Watercraft World, Jeff is a multi-time award winner as well as a 2008 inductee into the IJSBA Hall of Fame. His first book, "The Anti-Pirate Potato Cannon...and 101 Other Things For Young Mariners To Try, Do, & Build On the Water," received a bronze medal in the 2010 Moonbeam Children's Book Awards. For more info, visit Jeff Hemmel's website.

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