Dive logbooks is one of the topics that is drilled into us in our Open Water Diver training programs. Dive Logbooks are a MUST. We are taught that we need to log all of our dives and the logbook is even a part of the dive table training. When we calculate our dive times and depths after a dive, we record the information into our logbooks. we then use the information to plan our next dive. However, for many divers, this MUST is just one of the items of our Open Water Diver training that falls by the wayside.
Why keep logbooks?
There are many reasons why you might want to keep your logbook up to date. The most obvious is that it is a great reference for your personal dive history. If you are returning to a dive site that you dove before but do not remember all of the details, a logbook can give you a reminder of what your dive was before. Changes in configurations that impact the weight you wear are easier to adjust to if you had recorded that information in your dive log on a previous dive. Best of all, you can look back at the log entries and use them as cues to remember outstanding dives.
Qualify for Advance Training or Recognition.
While PADI is the world’s largest dive training agency, it does little to recognize divers dedication to the sport unless you go professional. As an example to enter PADI’s Divemaster program you need 40 dives with 60 dives required at graduation. So you need a logbook to enter the program. That recognition as a Divemaster can be flawed as well, There are many dive operators that support PADI’s Zero to Hero program that lets you reach the Dive Master level in as little as 6 weeks, and enter the instructor programs in as little as six months from being certified as a OWD.
Sadly there are too many divers out there that believe you can not be knowledgeable unless you go pro. I have seen comments, even on this website, dismissing a diver’s knowledge because they are not “professional”. These same people will accept a dive master even if they only have the required 60 dives, but a potential employer might not. Most will look for a experience level that requires any dives and will use the logbook as a guide to judge you.
Other Organizations, such as Scuba Schools International – SSI – show recognition as a diver reaches different dive milestones. When a SSI certified diver reaches a milestone, they present their logbook and receive a sticker for their C card or an upgraded C card depending on the level.
This might sound silly, but, I have seen it happened. You book your dive vacation that includes a number of dives. When you get to the resort they ask for your logbook. Since you do not have a current logbook and prove you have dived in the last 6 months,they tell you their rules require you to take a refresh class, or maybe it just a check out dive. Either way it not included in your package and you end up shelling out a chunk of money.
Meet Standards for a Dive
Certifications may allow you to do certain dives, however, at times that might not be enough. A number of dive operators are requiring experience as well as certification before allowing a diver to dive with them.
My dive buddy and I went on a trip once that a dive operator would only take deep certified divers with at least 10 dives deeper than 100 feet/30 meters to one of the dive sites. She did not have her logbook. So they were not going to let her dive. Luckily, since my logbook showed her as my dive buddy on more than 10 deep diver. So they allowed her to dive.
When you are booking a liveaboard check the fine print. A number of liveaboards will specify certifications that must be carried as well as presenting logs showing different types of diving before boarding. Without them you can be denied boarding, without a refund.
Paper copies or electronic versions?
Like almost all aspects of life today, the internet has become part of scuba diving and many divers keep electronic logbooks. Whether you keep a hard copy dive log or an electronic one is solely a personal decision. I like leafing through my dive logs and having them to look at on paper makes them more real for me. On the other hand, one volume of my dive logbook was ruin in a flash flood so that information is lost to me.
Electronic versions are becoming easier to use, like everything associated with the internet, and offer many features that are not available with paper logbooks. You have two different forms of electronic logs, first are the ones that reside on your personal computer, the other reside on “clouds”. These “cloud” electronic logbooks are stored on a remote server and you log in like any other secured website. Some of the “cloud” type also have social media aspects. Websites such as scubaearth and Diviac will not only allow you to record your log information, they will also allow you to rate dive sites, upload images and share the information with other divers. This is great way to share your experiences as well as getting a sneak peek at a dive site you are thinking of diving.
Most dive computers allow you to transfer dive information from the dive computer to an electronic log. Depending on the dive computer these files could be on your computer or on a cloud. The dive computer manufacture either provide the site or the software which allows divers to get the most benefit from the dive information itself. The divers, themselves will have to enter some information such as the name of the dive site and their dive configurations. The rest of the dive information comes from the computer. The amount of data available can be astonishing.
I have a Aqwary Smart Console which has a built in WIFI to upload information to my dive log on their cloud. The Aqwary Smart Console has air integration in addition to the standard dive computer. After I upload a dive, I can go to my log and review the information. If I want to know how deep I was 22 minutes and 10 seconds into the dive, I can hover over the dive log graphics and find out. I can hover over another graphic and see how fast I was using my breathing gas at the time.
Whether you use a physical logbook or an electronic one is something you should decide for yourself. The benefits of having a logbook in either form can help you become a better diver.