The scuba diving logbook
The scuba logbook background
The scuba diving logbook was initially introduced in the certification programs of most dive agencies in response to the need for increased safety. Recording parameters such as depth, bottom time, surface intervals and pressure groups was an essential process to be able to plan repetitive dives. Over the years, with the growth of recreational scuba diving, the logbook has evolved and has increasingly also become a journal, a place for divers to record their dive memories, the sites they have dived, the marine life they have seen, the people they have dived with and so forth. With the advent of dive computers, the necessity to maintain a logbook for the purpose of dive planning has strongly diminished and as a result some divers have given up on recording their dives altogether. Most agencies and professionals believe this to be a big mistake tough, and the arguments in favor of keeping a logbook remain very strong.
Top 10 reasons to log your dives
in case of an accident, a quick review of a diver’s latest dives will allow the doctors to improve their diagnostic of the diver’s condition. In addition, the logbook should contain details of the diver’s medical conditions, emergency contact person and insurances, all of which will facilitate appropriate treatment and the logistical aspects of dealing with the incident.
all serious dive operators will not only request proof of certification, but also want to evaluate the diver’s dive experience as documented in a logbook. Date of last dive? Maximum depth? Average dive durations? Experience with special situations – strong current, wrecks, caves…? Usual diving conditions – tropical reef diving vs. cold-water lake diving? In addition, a certain number of validated dives are necessary in order to be eligible for more advanced diving courses (tech diving, dive master, dive instructor, etc.)
Memories (log it or lose it):
for recreational divers, the most important reason to use a logbook is often to keep the memories of all these wonderful moments spent diving in exciting and beautiful places. Keeping a record of what was seen both above and underwater, the names and faces of dive buddies and instructors and the impressions left by each dive is a wonderful way to keep your dive history alive.
whether it be face to face, flipping through the pages of a good old paper logbook combined with printed photos of the dive trip, or through email and social media, the logbook is a great way to share one’s experiences with friends and family.
Marine life exploration:
besides the amazing feeling of weightlessness and the magic of breathing underwater, exploring the underwater world is an important motivator for many divers. What species of eel and rays did I just see? What type of coral was that colorful fan? My first whale shark spotting! The logbook is the perfect place to keep track of the species sighted. And as a result, other divers’ logbook is a great place to look for dive sites where species personally not yet seen have been sighted.
for divers regularly diving the same sites, the logbook allows them to record valuable information such as the site’s coordinates, best entry points, best time of the day to dive, flora and fauna sightings, dive conditions (current, visibility, etc.), all of which help to optimize their dive preparations. For divers returning to a site after a few years, a comparison of current vs. past conditions is also very interesting.
one of the biggest headaches when diving in different types of bodies of water and with different equipment (or simply irregularly) is deciding on the amount of weights to carry. Instead of going through an uncomfortable test dive, the logbook can make it easy to do that by checking what weights were previously used in similar conditions.
Every diver wants to spend as much time underwater as he can. Usually the constraining factor is the diver’s air. By tracking and analyzing one’s Surface Air Consumption (SAC), its evolution over time and the impact of various dive conditions (current, depth, personal discomforts (too hot/ too cold, too light / too heavy, etc), divers’ can work on improving their air consumption and hence increase their bottom time.
with the advent of dive computers and electronic logbooks, the amount of data available for divers to review and analyze is constantly increasing. Simple statistics such as total number of dives, distribution over time, maximum depth or dive duration, etc. create a rich picture of a diver’s profile. For divers with a large number of dives, electronic dive logs also enable useful targeted searches based on specific parameters (water type, country, dive buddy…)
the logbook is the perfect place to store all the relevant information about your dive equipment and make sure you don’t forget the next service milestone. In addition, by recording purchase price, store and warranty information, you will also make sure you have all the information at your finger tips in case of trouble or as a reference for your next purchase.