Logbooks provide long forgotten details!
The Purpose of a Logbook;
The purpose of a logbook is to record essential details of each individual dive. It is mandatory to log your open-water dives during your PADI Open Water course. Your PADI Instructor must sign your logbook once the open water training dive is satisfactorily completed. This applies to PADI entry level diver courses and any continuing education courses.
Many divers forget, or they choose not to log their dives as their diving career progresses. For others, the logbook becomes a personal journal of their diving experiences. Some divers even see it as a meaningless task or a chore that is not worth their time.
However, you will find that logging dives has multiple benefits. One day, you might decide to move up the education ladder to the PADI Divemaster course. Here, proof of your diving experience is required. It is a good habit and well worth continuing for many reasons. Lets take a look at some good reasons why you should log your dives;
Proof of your Experience;
An up-to-date logbook illustrates the frequency of your diving experience and the type of diving take part in. It provides proof of any night diving, wreck diving or other underwater activities that you participated in. Times and depths are recorded, offering an insight for the dive guide on your air consumption relative to depth and dive time. In some circumstances, dive centre owners and dive guides will insist on a certain level of diving experience before permitting you to participate on specific dives.
For your Safety;
Tour operators and boat captains may ask for proof of experience before allowing divers to undertake certain dive trips or itinerary’s on a Live-aboard vessel. According to your experience documented in your logbook, dive site selection can be made early-on by the dive guide and boat captain. This insistance is for your safety and well being.
For example; a Live-aboard operator requires a minimum number of logged dives before an environmentally challenging dive site. Proof of night diving or low visibility may be requested if certain dive sites are deemed more challenging.
On a Live-aboard vessel, the dive guide will verify diver certification and logbook upon check-in. This procedure enables the dive guide to determine which dive sites are suitable. Depths and dive times will be adjusted according to the experience written in your logbook. Dive briefings will be given according to your groups capabilities.
Profession Level Diving;
Progressing into Professional levels, such as the PADI Divemaster or PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor requires documentation. A pre-requested amount of dives are required to enrol into a PADI Pro-level course, and a copy of the logbook is required.
What size Equipment, Weights and Configuration do you require?
In your PADI Open Water course you’ll learn how to fit your equipment correctly and you will get to know the size that you need. As you progress and become a certified diver, you will be expected to know what size equipment you require. Not only equipment, but how much weight you need with a certain thickness wetsuit. When filling out your logbook, write down size and thickness of your wetsuit. BCD size and the amount of weights you are carrying. Take note of your cylinder size that you are using. Is it 12L or a 10L, is it steel or aluminium? All these factors have a bearing on how much weight you need to carry for future dives with roughly the same equipment.
Moving forward, your comfort and safety will depend on the environment that you are diving in. Different wetsuits and different thickness means a change in weights. Steel or aluminium cylinders means a weight adjustment, as well as cylinder size. A change from fresh water to salt water requires you to change your weights again.
Keep Logbooks Current;
The best place to retrieve all this information is from your logbook! Attention to detail is an important part of scuba diving and makes your dive a better experience. The logbook, if kept current will hold all the information that you need for reference. If you are lucky enough to own your own scuba equipment, you can use the logbook to record service dates and purchase of new dive gear etc.
The logbook as a personal journal;
As well as a simple data storage, your dive log can serve as a diving journal. You might want to record memories of a dive, the equipment you used and what you experienced with your dive buddy on that dive.
When you achieve a milestone such as 50, 100 or 500 dives, get your buddy to sign and witness the achieved number. This is a personal thing and later down the line you will look back and remember these events; hopefully with a smile on your face!
Record sightings of differentt marine species. Use your logbook to record where, when and what you saw. You can record your dive buddies name or group you were with. Sometimes dive buddies become life-long friends. Many divers collect dive centre stamps, stickers and photos. Friends are made, new dive buddies are met, names and phone numbers are exchanged and often recorded in the logbook. Scuba diving is a social sport and photos are often shared on social media. Record your dive details and you might want to match faces to names that are recorded in your logbook.
Logbooks are personal;
A logbook is your logbook and it is a personal item which contains personal details. It delivers a story about you and your diving. Your dive buddies or group, personal thoughts and if you enjoyed the experience or not? Thoughts and personal information is often stored here and it makes great reading in a few years time.
Your logbook is also a development tool;
During your diving career, development never stands still. You can go back and reflect on the dive you just did, record how you felt and act on the recording. For example; was the ascent slow enough and controlled? If not, this might encourage you to act on this problem. Why not take a PADI Peak Performance Buoyancy course to help improve buoyancy control? Record both positive and negative things. This helps you improve your diving performance. Do not slip into a comfort zone and do things just the same, over and over again. If you are a novice diver and feel unsure, speak with the instructor, dive guide or divemaster.
Novice divers are not expected to be perfect, sometimes they make mistakes without realising. Being too far away from the group, touching the reef or seabed with the fins are some mistakes that might be pointed out to you. Take this advice on board, act on it and learn by doing. If no feedback is given, ask if everything was alright? Learn from it when you need to change things. Remember, practice makes perfect. Seasoned divers also make mistakes, so make no bones about the small mistakes you make as a novice diver!
If you consider going Pro, listen to dive briefings and try to consider why the dive guide requested certain details. Draw small maps of the dive site, add ascent places, a swim through or turning point. Practice looking at maps and dive briefing drawings. Give yourself a dive briefing; no-one will hear you!
The Digital Logbook;
As we progress through the ever changing digital age we no longer require logbooks made from paper. Dive computers nowadays offer a USB cable or Bluetooth connection to download your dive data. This method allows you to analyse your dive profile in detail. You can record information about your dive in digital format on the same page as the dive profile.
Digital logbooks are also available on Scuba Earth. Here, you fill out your open water dives during your course and continue to log dives after the course has been completed.
Good diver Practice;
It is good practice to log your dives and even more so when students are present. Your logbook is a journal of your diving experience holding many memories, both good and not so good. Logbooks provide a documention of your diving careeer and personal diving thoughts. Look back over the years, an old logbook can bring back many enjoyable memories!
Happy diving everyone
Dive Smart Gozo