The aim of the Watching series is to draw attention to some of the very interesting items around us, things that perhaps we don't notice as much as we might. The first was Bridge Watching, and when this was put ''on the Net'' it produced, to the surprise of the author, such a pleasant flood of e-mail that another was written, called Water Watching. This, too, was kindly received. So it was tempting to continue with the theme. Boat Watching doesn't set out to teach you how to design a boat, build a boat, or even how to use a boat. I hope it will help you to look at boats, though, really look at them, and to enjoy doing so. When I say ''boats'', I mean ''boats and things'', for boats have things on and about them, and they are all interesting. If you are looking at boats, you can't help seeing all the other things, too. Boats are truly lovely things, from the humblest to the noblest. Given a bit of time, you can lounge against a wall, or a post, or stretch out in a chair, and just drink in the happiness of looking. Looking at things is one of the great free benefits of being alive. You don't have to be an expert, but a little knowledge does help to enjoy the details. This treatment doesn't set out to turn you into a mariner or boat designer. It isn't meant intended for that kind of person. It is chiefly for idlers, loafers, those who have time to like stand and stare, or who can make such time, taking life at a reasonable pace, and enjoying it, even if only between bouts of frenzied exertions.