The Log Book

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.



Thanks mate.





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
  • Parking
  • Air / nitrox availability 
  • Food / Drink
  • Site Fees
  • Dive flag requirement
  • Boat traffic
  • Local laws 


Temperature

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.


Thermal Protection



This is linked with water temperature. When diving a dry suit, it pays to keep track of which undergarments work in specific temperatures.

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.




Weighting

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.


Air Consumption


Most log books provide an area to record tank pressure at the beginning of the dive and what remained at the end.

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.



Additional Equipment

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.


Marine Life

One of the main reasons I go diving is to look at stuff; this includes the fishes.

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.



Wreck Information

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.


Dive Analysis


Plan the dive and dive the plan. Although that’s the idea behind a dive, it sometimes doesn’t end up that way.

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?

7 comments:

  1. Yep. Very usefull for weights, temperature, deco calculation, all the reasons you wrote about.
    Me and my buddies are getting a bit lazy for signatures, but i think i'll keep on logging my dives.And i like the ritual of doing so when i get home, with something nice to drink!

    Jean-Louis

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  2. I stopped at 32 dives, i must be over 300 now, i regret stopping but i also feel kinda detatched from the system in a sense, i trade on skippers knowing me, other than that my cards are proof of my rating. if i'm challenged one day I'll either have to pay for a check-out or rationalise the cards and ability that comes with them and my assurance that I'm dived-up

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  3. Yes Jean-Louis, i'm a bit lax with the signature thing too! Although it depends who my buddy is; it was cool getting the instructors at TekCamp to sign my log book.

    To the post above: If you have 300 dives i'd imagine a quick scuba review would reveal your skills being more than adequate - that's a lot of dives!

    I can understand why divers stop logging when they reach a high number, maybe they just need to approach it differently.

    I think you should try and log your next 10 dives, just to see what you think of it after such a long break.


    Thanks for the comments folks!

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  4. I know the basics but no. I am terriable in numbers. I know you descend slowly down and then going back up you ascend slowly going up. then there is a decomprassion stop

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  5. I slowly became complacent about logging after about 100 dives. I always regretted it as I logged my OW, Adv and reading the (now ruined) book does bring back the memories of the first diving experience. After the first dozen, everything is a blur.

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  6. I'm with you Steve.

    I've only recently hit 100 dives, and i have to admit my logging has become a little lax of late!

    I'm getting it sorted though, i promise!!

    :D

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  7. I prefer keeping track of my dives online, so I use the website https:\\dive.site as a logbook.
    It's really cool that I can keep not just my dive logs there, but I can also store my diving pictures and use the interactive dive map to explore new dive sites or chart my own.
    I've been looking for a service like this for a long time, but the ones I've found before this one are slow and their interface is not as nice.

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Thanks for commenting, I appreciate it!

Safe diving buddy.