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If you’re not a diver but are drawn to the underwater world, it’s essential to know that divers cherish and meticulously fill in their scuba diving logbooks as if they were treasures. While not mandatory, maintaining a logbook is highly recommended.
In this article, we’ll explore what a dive logbook is, its purpose and significance for divers, the crucial data it captures, and delve into digital scuba dive logbooks. Are you ready? Let’s dive in!
1. What Is a Diving Logbook and Its Purpose?
A diving logbook, as the name suggests, serves as a record of dives, documenting key information for each one.
Typically, your inaugural log in the diving logbook occurs during your Open Water course. These records are authenticated by your instructor, who also instructs you on their proper usage. Upon course completion, your “dive buddy” verifies the entries with their signature.
1.1. The Dive Log Book Showcases Your Expertise
It functions as a testament to your experience in this sport. Your logbook enables guides to gauge your diving frequency and the types of dives you’ve undertaken. In certain situations, demonstrating your logbook may be necessary to partake in more challenging dives. While your certification card indicates your level, the logbook signifies your proficiency—an experienced diver capable of handling strong currents, for instance. Moreover, it’s required when pursuing further courses that demand a minimum number of completed dives.
1.2. The Diving Logbook as a Tool to Improve as a Diver
Some dives are worth revisiting, allowing you to reflect on past experiences at the same site. Additionally, it tracks your progress as a diver, such as improvements in air consumption. Moreover, in the event of mishaps, the recorded data becomes invaluable for learning from mistakes and aiding medical professionals in treatment, if needed.
2. How to fill your Dive Logbook?
2.1. Essential Data to Record in Your Scuba Diving Logbook
While your dive log book can be as detailed as you desire, certain facts shouldn’t be overlooked. These include:
- Dive Number: record the number of the dive in Open Water, remember confined water dives don’t “count”.
- Date and time: the date when you completed the dive.
- Location: geographic location, for example (Cozumel, Mexico)
- Dive site: write down the name of the dive site, you can add a detailed description
- Dive Buddy: note in your dive log the name of your dive buddy.
- Time in and time out: the time you entered and exited the water.
- Bottom Time: the overall duration you’ve been submerged underwater (including safety stops), which gets logged on your dive computer.
- Maximum Depth – The deepest point attained during the dive and the average depth maintained throughout the dive.
- Air consumption. It’s another interesting piece of information to include in your scuba diving logbook. It’s useful to remember how much air you had at the start to record your consumption after the dive. The truth is, that your air consumption will improve with practice, and noting the final pressure will help you track your progress with each dive.
- Air mixture. You can also note if you’re using a different air mixture than usual and specify the percentage of the blend.
- Cylinder capacity: Ending with 50 bar in an 80 cubic foot tank is not the same as in larger or smaller tanks, nor is the weight you carry.
- Weight carried. It is about your ballast.
2.2. Other interesting information you can note in your dive logbook
Underwater visibility during the dive.
Type of dive: whether it was from a boat or shore.
Attire used: wetsuit, drysuit, among others.
Water conditions: description of how the water was, whether it was calm, choppy, etc.
Post-dive notes: additional observations or experiences during the activity.
Equipment details: specifications of the gear used, such as fins, mask, regulator, etc.
Personal feelings and experiences: sensations during the dive, challenges faced, and lessons learned, among other emotional and experiential aspects.
3. Types of Diving Logbook
3.1. Traditional dive log book
They are traditional dive logs with paper sheets. However, the more modern ones, although analog, use other materials resistant to water and do not degrade.
These dive logs are in the form of a book and contain all the headers with the necessary data to include. However, they have some drawbacks: they can get damaged and lost, have space for a limited number of dives, and do not allow for registering personal variables.
3.2. Online Dive Logbooks
An increasingly popular option is digital logbooks. Why?
- No need to remember to pack it; it’s an app on your mobile phone.
- Facilitates sharing experiences with other divers for mutual enrichment.
- Simplifies signature acquisition—no need to chase your dive buddy or instructor. Just share it digitally.
- Syncs with dive computers in most apps, effortlessly updating your records.
- Allows the addition of photos and videos, enriching the recorded moments.
- Provides statistics like deepest dive, coldest dive, longest dive, etc.
- Enables the creation of a bucket list based on shared dives.
Some examples of digital diving logbooks include the PADI App, ScubaEarth, Deepblue.
However, like everything in life, they have drawbacks. Mobile phones don’t have coverage in many diving sites, and you have to postpone logging when you’re already engaged in other tasks; they require basic technical knowledge to be used.
Some people create their diving logbooks. For instance, in Excel.
Which is your preferred scuba diving logbook?