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The Importance of Logging your Dives. The Advantages for new divers (and old)

Discussion in 'Basic Scuba Discussions' started by Gary_Ward, Jul 6, 2020.

How do you prefer to log your dives?

  1. I don't log

  2. I just use my computers log features, but don't add anything else

  3. I use a paper log book

  4. I use a digital log book app or website

Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. kablooey

    kablooey Divemaster

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: San Diego
    For twenty-three years I've logged all my open-water dives from #1 to #1,700+.
    I use custom made spiral bound log books with pager pages.

    While at home on furlough in May I pulled several of my logbooks off the shelf and started reading.
    It was surprising how many memories came back to me. Great fun to relive all those wonderful places and friends.
    It's not that I forgot the experiences... I just need a little reminder to bring it all back.

    And I hope to continue to fill many more of those pages as my diving life continues.
    Let's all stay safe, act responsibly, and get back to our diving soon.
    Wishing everyone the best.

    Landau, Hoag, Ontwreckdiver and 2 others like this.
  2. stuartv

    stuartv Seeking the Light ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Manassas, VA
    I have every dive (including pool dips) downloaded into an electronic logbook (Subsurface).

    I # the pool dives all as "0", so they don't count toward the total # of dives my log shows.

    I have had at least half a dozen different dive computers over the years and I like that they are all downloaded into one place, so I can see all of my dives without regard to what kind of computer I was using at the time. Subsurface supports the vast majority of dive computers, including all the ones I have ever owned, including Oceanic, Seabear, Hollis, and several different models from Shearwater.

    I typically download from whatever dive computer I used on a given day, via Bluetooth to my phone, into Subsurface at the end of each day. Either, during the boat ride in, or while breaking down/packing up at the lake or wherever I am. Subsurface automatically uploads it all to the Cloud when there is a connection available. I open Subsurface on my laptop when I get home or back to my hotel room and I add the details like site, buddies, weighting, equipment, and any notes I want to include. Then it syncs back to the cloud automatically so the next time I open Subsurface on any of my mobile dives, the latest info is there.

    This is often helpful to me when I'm trying to answer questions like:

    What is the water temp in NC in the month of XYZ?

    What is the depth of the XYZ wreck?

    What was the water temp at 50' in Lake Phoenix 2 weeks ago?

    How many hours do I have diving on my CCR?

    How many dives do I have diving on my CCR?

    How many dives do I have past 100', or past 150'?

    What was my RMV/SAC on my last few drift dives in Cozumel and how does that compare to my last few dives in a drysuit with doubles?

    Subsurface makes it very easy to answer questions like using it's Filter pane and its Statistics pane.

    As an Instructor, I take extra care to log dives where I am teaching and write down everything I can think of regarding those dives. Who my students were. What they were doing. How they did. Etc.. I view it as extra insurance/documentation, in case there is ever any incident that I am asked to recall the details of after the fact.
    Krabby and Gary_Ward like this.
  3. 100days-a-year

    100days-a-year Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: NE Florida
    The first few hundred of my 8K+ and those were for training purposes mostly.
    I did however keep a tally sheet of fish shot and updated my GPS with bottom type and species.
    I also took a lot of pix offshore, initially with a disposable camera but when phones started having megapixel cameras switched over. Pix mean more to me than written words ever did.
  4. Gary_Ward

    Gary_Ward Dive Shop

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: Carriacou
  5. scubadada

    scubadada Diver Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Philadelphia and Boynton Beach
    Thanks, voted
  6. TMHeimer

    TMHeimer Divemaster

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Dartmouth,NS,Canada(Eastern Passage-Atlantic)
    I'm surprised that nowadays paper log leads the vote. It is not what I assumed in talking with people and reading.
    Esprise Me likes this.
  7. ATJ

    ATJ Barracuda

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Sydney, NSW, Australia
    I learned to dive in 1978 not only before dive computers, but before personal computers!

    For the first few years I logged my dives in the logs I got as part of my course.

    From late 1980 until 1998 I was using desk diaries to keep track of my dives. I wasn't diving all that often (maybe 5-20 times a year) and most of my dives were local. Somehow when we moved house in 1998 I lost the diaries (but not the original log books) so I have little information about 18 years of dives other than what I can piece together from the slides I took on some of the dives.

    From 1998 I vowed that wouldn't happen again so I started keeping my logs electronically. There wasn't any 3rd party dive log software at the time so I created my own using Lotus Notes. I'm still using my custom dive log software some 22 years later.

    My custom dive log has evolved somewhat in the 22 years (and is still evolving as I add more features). I also use OEM and 3rd party software to ease the import of data from my dive computers. For example, I use MacDive to get the data from my Garmin Descent Mk1 (although I'm getting extremely frustrated with the bugs that I have reported that haven't been fixed and may switch to using Subsurface. I use Shearwater Desktop to get the data from my Perdix and very old Windows based software to get the data from my Citizen Hyper Aqualand. I have automated the logging as much as possible to make it easier, quicker and more accurate.

    My logs are quite detailed and not only include the usual data such as weights, exposure suit, tank sizes, starting and ending pressures, but I also (when I have time) write up a detailed account of the dive. I find the detailed account helps me remember the dive better including what I saw (which is usually backed up with photographs) but also what I didn't see. I dive the same sites often and so I track a lot of animals.

    Here's an example of the level of detail in my logs:
    Dive at The Steps, Kurnell, NSW on Sunday 28 June 2020 - ATJ's Diving Site

    I have also automated the publishing of my logs to my website. It's not that I think anyone is particularly interested but it is an easy way for me to look at my logs when I'm out and about.

    Like Stuart, I find keeping detailed logs helps me answer a bunch of questions, like temperature, weights, and especially SAC/RMV which I analyse after the dive to understand why it might have been higher than usual (cold, current, surge, etc.)
    Krabby, scubadada and txgoose like this.
  8. Edward3c

    Edward3c Instructor, Scuba

    My primary log is a spreadsheet, though lately I use specialised software as well.

    I have fields for when I’m instructing to record the lesson and whether the student passed or not. I’ve have students ask me to sign their qualification log book 9 months later thinking I wouldn’t check whether they had passed the lesson or not. I’ve even had some I didn’t teach, but dive with, ask for lessons to be signed off.
    stuartv likes this.
  9. D_Fresh

    D_Fresh ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    I log on Subsurface. As others have reported, mostly just gear, weight, temp, and any remarks about those parameters which I feel may be worth noting for future reference... 25*c, was chilly at 30m at 20 mins... therefore, I might add my hooded vest for a repeat of that dive...

    I also like to keep an eye on my SAC/RMV for gas planning based on whether the dive is expected to be strenuous or not...
    AdivingBel likes this.
  10. AdivingBel

    AdivingBel Diver ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Missouri
    I download to Subsurface. I'll log weight and exposure protection for future reference as well as a few notes if I see/do something memorable. It's really become more of a travel journal than a dive log. I guess the most time consuming aspect is I'll use the map feature and internet to find GPS coordinates or make a best guess on dive site locations. I find it interesting/fun to look at the map and see the different locales I've visited and dived. :)
    James79 likes this.

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