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.