My First Log Book
It was the end of my PADI Open Water course before I managed to get my watery paws on my very own Log Book. Wifebuddy, on the other hand, was in possession of hers from the first day.
That was because she stole mine.
There was a delay in the PADI course materials making their way to our dive school, and the instructor only had one Open Water folder thing left in stock; which he handed to me at the conclusion of our confined pool sessions.
That was fine.
Upon returning home I made the mandatory post dive brew, while Kerri flicked through the manuals, tables and log book. By the time I returned with tea, Kerri had scrawled her name across everything; as a small child would upon receipt of their first mathematics jotter.
It appeared I didn’t have log book after all.
Nevertheless, by the finale of our course I had received my acclaimed, blue plastic, zip locked PADI folder containing my own log book.
|My Log Book|
I took great pride in completing my dive logs. I dutifully filled in all the required information about every dive; giving a very detailed account of what I saw, how I felt, what I learned, along with all the technical information on my gear.
We subsequently handed our log books to our instructor so he could sign us off, proclaiming Wifebuddy and I ambassadors of the sea.
I took my log very seriously; I presumed it was something that PADI could ask to see at any stage to verify my status as a diver, and it was imperative it was maintained accordingly.
Upon receiving my log back from my instructor I was horrified; it was defecated with sarcastic comments.
My so called instructor had ruined my log book!
Every dive we conducted; detail of an ill fitting wet suit, mask removal failure, the leaking dry suit, the cold water, the bad visibility – all provided a great source of amusement for my so called instructor, and was mocked accordingly.
Wifebuddy on the other hand had a completely different log book. Hers was full of praise and congratulatory remarks, explaining she was a phenomenal diver and, I quote; “Should be staff.”
Our instructor took great pleasure and satisfaction as we flicked through the notes; his every increasing grin spreading across his stupid face.
I too enjoyed a sense of great pleasure and satisfaction, as I made a mental note we would not be taking any further courses, or purchasing any gear from him in the near future.
Well, aside from PADI rescue, and a set of regulators.
Damn him. Damn him to hell.
Time progressed, my log book experience was forgotten, and I often look back upon it with a grin myself.
That was until Paul Toomer saw fit to revive the trend as he signed our log books at TekCamp. We had explained the joke and he thought it was great, subsequently resuscitating the gag on Kerri’s log.
What to Log?
I have logged every dive I’ve ever done, and here’s what I put in it:
Dive Site Information
I often add information about a site that may be useful in the future.
- Entry / Exit points
- Air / nitrox availability
- Food / Drink
- Site Fees
- Dive flag requirement
- Boat traffic
- Local laws
Keeping track of the water temperature is very useful. When the season changes you can go back to your log and get an idea of how comfortable your dive will be, and if a decompression dive is a good idea; after all, no one likes cold stops.
If you dive a wet suit periodically you can judge when it is feasible. The “flush” isn’t pleasant at the best of times, never mind if it’s colder than you thought comfortable.
This is one of my primary reasons for keeping a log.
I constantly switch tanks, undergarments, canister lights; all the things that can screw up the task of establishing neutral buoyancy.
I always conduct a weight check when I change any part of my diving kit, and keep a record of all the variables in my log book, along with the lead required for each.
Now, when I head to warm waters in a 3mm suit wearing an Ali 80 I simply check my log and know what lead to ask for before I even arrive.
Nothing replaces a proper weight check, but it’s a good starting point.
This is great for dive planning on future sites that have similar profiles to those dived previously.
Combined with depth records, it can also be used to calculate Surface Air Consumption (SAC rate). All divers should be aware of their SAC rate, even roughly, for numerous reasons.
Certain dives require more, or less, gear than others. I keep a note of what cylinders, stage bottles, lights, and reels I used on a particular dive, if any.
It’s better to only bring what’s required on a dive, and leave behind what you don’t.
I like to record species, numbers and general aquatic life on dive sites. This can be interesting when visiting a site at a different time of year, or on a night dive, to see how the marine life changes.
As a fan of wreck diving I like to get as much information as possible about a particular shipwreck prior to the dive itself. The history of a wreck can be recorded in a log book alongside what was noted on the actual dive.
This can be fascinating. You can often see how wrecks have deteriorated over time, and even witness the damage that caused the wreck to end up on the bottom in the first place.
If a dive goes a bit wobbly, it can be useful to write down what went wrong, or what made it a crap day out.
I have found it very helpful, often indicating a particular moment of a dive that caused the problem. This in turn can provide elements that require further training or refinement.
Online or Offline?
I’m a fan of the physical log book; i.e. pen and paper.
I love the digital age and I am a great user of all things internety, but I find the original paper log book works for me. There are a million resources of online and digital based logs out there; a visit to the almighty Google will reveal all.
There are mobile phone things as well which will record your dives.
Don’t forget your trusty dive computer can most likely download your dive to your laptop; often containing options for additional dive information.
To Log or not to Log?
It’s an age old question that divers throw around from time to time around the camp fire, on a dive boat, or hanging about the dive shop.
|Should i log my dives?|
I log everything.
As my introduction clearly demonstrates; log books can, and should be, a source of fun. Scuba diving is fun; so why can’t the log book be?
I love reading back over my initial comments on my first few dives. All I did was complain; it’s a miracle I kept on diving. My PADI instructor had the right idea, he attempted to make the dives a fun experience rather than focusing on the negative.
Tall Poomer simply continued the thread, adding further comedic value to my log.
It’s also useful to have evidence of past dives when visiting a resort, a new dive centre, or if taking a course. Technical dive courses require you have a certain number of dives, and at certain depths; if a log is up to date, the proof is all there.
The dive log is the DeLorean that allows a diver to visit their diving history, and I think every diver should record something about their diving; you can’t remember it all, why not just write it down?
|Was that a good dive? Let me check!|
Do you log your dives?