logbook tips

Just the Tips: Logbook Advice for New Divers

By: Jesse Iacono

Depending on how you treat your logbook, logging dives can be seen as a chore, or it can be seen as an enjoyable part of the diving process. Here at SDI, we prefer to think of it as the latter. Consider the following five tips to increase efficiency when logging dives and bring some life back into your logbook.

1. Log Your Dives ASAP

Logging your dives as soon as possible helps you to document information before it leaves your mind. Our dive computers record many details from the dive, but other details must be recorded by us. These include details such as:

  • Equipment used
  • Starting and ending gas pressures (if your computer isn’t air integrated)
  • Dive site
  • Dive buddy

These rely on your memory to successfully make it into your logbook. If you don’t have immediate access to your logbook, temporarily recording this information on a slate or in your phone can be a great way to ensure an accurate record later.

2. Back Up Your Logbook

Paper logbooks can get lost or damaged. Digital logbooks can get compromised or deleted. Dive logging apps may not allow you to export your log data. Having a single copy of any important document is risky, especially when your logbook can be your ticket to proving experience and moving on to advanced training. If you prefer a physical logbook, make digital copies of the pages and keep a backup on your computer. If you prefer a digital logbook, keep a backup in cloud-based storage.

3. Make Your Own Pages/Layout

Many divers start out with a pre-made logbook, created by a training agency or dive manufacturer. For many, these are excellent options and fulfill all their needs. Others, especially as they gain more experience and move to higher levels of diving, may need something a bit more personalized. Whether you use a physical or digital logbook, it may be worth taking some time to create a template that caters to your diving and logging preferences.

4. Treat It as a Journal

Spending extra time to document your diving experiences can be valuable in the long run. If you use the Notes section of your dive log pages to reflect on what you saw, how you felt, and any post-dive thoughts, it will produce two results:

  • Your logbook will contain more valuable information that can be used to better yourself as a diver and your future diving experiences.
  • Your logbook will become a collection of experiences you can look back to and reminisce upon.

You’ll be surprised how easily you can visualize previous dives with a few extra recorded details.

5. Include Pictures and Notes

Divers use tools and pieces of equipment to support their dives or enhance the fun aspect. These can also be used to beef up your dive logs.

If you are taking notes on a slate, keeping dive details on wet notes or taking photographs during a dive, add copies to your logbook. The additions will create more detailed dive logs and help embody what was occurring during each dive. This option goes hand-in-hand with the point about turning your logbook into a diving journal.

Get out there and log those dives!

Whichever method you choose, the most important thing is to keep diving and keep your logbook up to date. Remember, your logbook is your proof of diving experience, but it also needs to work for you. Comment in the section below to share your favorite tips for making your logbook the best it can be.

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4 replies
  1. Paul Dube
    Paul Dube says:

    I encourage (read:require) students to record their weight configuration in an easy to understand format so as their skills, experience and gear setups evolve they can track and/or reference what weight configurations worked or what changes should be made.

  2. Adam Baxter
    Adam Baxter says:

    For my first 500 dives I used to make notes on things that were amazing (creatures spotted and features of the dive site), but also about things that went wrong or could have been done better. By documenting these things, it helped me to analyze how to avoid making the same mistakes in the future. ie navigation issues, poor dive buddy skills, gas management, dive buddy behaviour, current conditions, equipment issues. Keep diving, keep logging and keep learning. Still logging at 3679.

  3. Nancy
    Nancy says:

    I have 500+ dives. I have logged every one. It’s fun to read my log and reminisce. I also keep a grid of what weight I used with each wetsuit and what water. I started just naming the things I saw. Now I log triumphs and problems and details about each dive boat. It come in handy when we return to the same dive boat

  4. Michael
    Michael says:

    I am only at 24 dives but the stickers, stamps, and the characters i meet are really priceless (divers and crew).


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