10 Seafarer Quotes That We Love About Sailing

Jun 09, 2022 · 13 mins read ·

Fun Stuff
sailing boat regatta

At Martide we know our blog posts about seaman quotes are always popular and we realized that we haven’t published a new one for a while. We always love finding unusual or funny sailing quotes and inspirational and meaningful seafarer quotes to share with you so we thought it was about time that we found some more!

From seaman quotes and sayings to quotes about seafarers to quotes about storms and even seaman quotes in Tagalog, luckily the sailors, authors, poets and adventurers of past and present are never short of a quote for a seaman or two. In this post we thought we’d narrow down our choices to quotes about sailboats and sailing.

Life in the merchant navy or merchant marines these days might not be about hoisting the mainsail and waiting for favorable wind conditions, but who doesn’t love a good maritime quote about sailing anyway?!

Read more: 10 of Martide's Favorite Seafarer Quotes About the Sea

Like our other quotes for seamen we’ve also included a little biography about each of the authors of that quote so that you can go ahead and Google them should you want to find out more. So let’s get into it!

10 Seafarer quotes that we love about sailing and sailboats

1. “When all seems to be against you, remember, a ship sometimes has to sail against the current, not with it.” - Matshona Dhliwayo

Matshona Dhliwayo was born in Harare, Zimbabwe and is now based in Canada. He is the author of books such as The Art of Winning, 50 Lessons Every Wise Mother Teaches Her Son, The Little Book of Inspiration and 100 Lessons Every Great Man Wants You to Know, among others. Given those titles, it’s probably not too surprising that he can come up with inspirational sailing quotes in his spare time!

two sailing yachts

2. “Sailing unties the knots in my mind.” - Al Noble

It’s tricky to find any information about Al Noble, even though this seaman quote is a pretty well known one. Do you know who Al Noble is or was? We're intrigued and would love to know!

Read more: 12 Intriguing Seafarer Quotes About Storms

3. “Pull that thing. Pull that other thing. Sail faster.” - The Princess Bride

The Princess Bride is a much-loved romantic fantasy movie released in 1987 which was based on the book of the same name by author William Goldman. The movie’s tagline probably tells you as much as we can without any spoilers in just one sentence: “The story of a man and a woman who lived happily ever after. Even though the courtship almost killed them.”

Read more: 13 of Martide's Favorite Seafarer Quotes About Anchors

4. “I cannot not sail.” - E. B. White

E.B. White went by his initials as he reportedly did not like his given first name of Elwyn (the B stands for Brooks). He spent his entire career working at the New Yorker magazine as a contributing editor and writer however many adults (and children) will know him better as the author of three children’s books - the best known of which are Charlotte’s Web (1952) and Stuart Little (1945) - which was made into two movies and a TV series.

5. “To young men contemplating a voyage I’d say go.” - Joshua Slocum

We’ve included quotes by the renowned seafarer and writer Joshua Slocum in a number of our other seafarer quote blog posts. And as the first person to sail single-handedly around the world we think that seems only fair! Slocum’s international best selling book, Sailing Alone Around the World, was published in 1900 and details his historic journey.

a map of the world and bank notes

6. “He that will not sail till all dangers are over must never put to sea.” - Thomas Fuller

Born in the county of Northamptonshire, England in 1608, Thomas Fuller was one of the first writers to be able to support himself by income generated by his writing. He was a religious man: A churchman and preacher, as well as a scholar and a historian. And among his prolific written output was a great number of quotes on all subjects, not just sailing or seaman quotes.

Read more: 10 of Martide's Favorite Seafarer Quotes About Rowing

7. “On a day when the wind is perfect, the sail just needs to open and the world is full of beauty.” - Rumi

Born in 1207 in Balkh, Afghanistan, the poet, Islamic scholar, Sufi mystic, Hanafi faqh and Maturidi theologian named Jalāl al-Dīn Muḥammad Rūmī (also known as Jalāl al-Dīn Muḥammad Balkhī, Mevlânâ/Mawlānā, and Mevlevî/Mawlawī) is better known today as simply Rumi. His poems and quotes inspire millions to this day.

8. “Land was created to provide a place for boats to visit." - Brooks Atkinson

Despite sounding like a true seafarer, Brooks Atkinson was actually a theater critic. Born Justin Brooks Atkinson in 1894 in Massachusetts, USA, he worked for the New York Times from 1922 until 1960. His reviews were highly influential, leading to the Mansfield Theater in Manhattan being renamed in his honor in 1960.

9. “No pessimist ever discovered the secrets of the stars, or sailed to an uncharted land, or opened a new heaven to the human spirit." - Helen Keller

A true optimist, Helen Adams Keller was born in Alabama, USA in 1880 and lost both her hearing and sight after falling ill at just 19 months old. Despite this she went onto become a political activist, lecturer, author and a disability rights advocate - at a time when disability rights, and indeed women’s rights, were not particularly at the forefront of many agendas.

rope knotted in the shape of a heart

Read more: 21 Maritime Quotes About Diving

10. “It's remarkable how quickly a good and favorable wind can sweep away the maddening frustrations of shore living.” - Ernest K. Gann

Have you noticed that many people on this list are well known for having more than one specialty, career, or remarkable trait? Ernest Kellogg Gann was no different, being variously a sailor, an aviator, an author and a conservationist.

Born in 1910 in Nebraska, USA he is probably best known for his numerous publications, including both novels and memoirs, about nautical and aviation-based adventures, many of which were made into TV series or movies.

Read more: 10 of Martide’s Best Seaman Quotes About the Ocean

That’s our list of 10 seafarer quotes about sailing that we love - we hope you’ve enjoyed reading them too. Whether you’re looking for meaningful seafarer quotes about ships, quotes about compasses, quotes about storms at sea, inspiring travel quotes, or quotes about seafarers and seaman life, we hope you’ve found something here to entertain, inspire or interest you.

Eve Church

Eve Church

Eve is Martide's content writer, publishing regular posts on everything from our maritime recruitment and crew planning software to life at sea. Eve has been writing professionally for more than two decades, crafting everything from SEO-focused blog posts and website landing pages to magazine articles and corporate whitepapers.


Apply for seafarer jobs now!
See all jobs