With the arrival of the new Scuba Murcia Log books this week it got us talking and thinking about why it’s important to continue to log dives.
We have heard so many divers say “I don’t bother to log dives anymore, what’s the point?” or “I don’t log mine anymore, I’ve done loads”.
So, what is the point?
1. Are you Sherlock Holmes?
If you have a mind palace and can store every memory of every dive you have done then good for you, but most of us can’t and need to rely on other methods! Logging your dives is a great way to remember those awesome moments experienced during the dive, on the boat and at the dive centre. Hundreds of hammer head sharks…Dolphin Surprise visit…barracuda soup… The gun run…Terrible viz, couldn’t see my hands…These are all the cool and sometimes not so cool things that make you the diver you are today so make a note of them. Your logbook is also a great place to collect those lovely dive stamps from the dive centre, boat or buddy. To some divers, this collecting of stamps is just as important as the dive itself! When you look back in 20 years’ time it will jog your memory and hopefully make you smile, or grimace at the good old days! If its anything like my dive log you will find BEST DIVE EVER about 20 times at various dive sites.
2. Every dive is different.
It’s a great record for new and experienced divers that helps remind you of the important differences that each dive has. How much lead did you wear with the 5mm suit? How much with the dry suit and 15ltr? Did I use any extra lead with my Twinset in the sea? Did I use my Ali 7ltr or 11ltr last time? Just by making a simple note in the logbook can confirm when you flick back through it and take away the guess work when you get back in next time. As your experience grows you will be diving in more varied environments so your equipment requirements will change too, generally more experienced divers don’t want to / don’t think it’s ‘cool’ to log their dives, but this is the most critical time to record the changes you have made.
3. Proof of experience.
I know this might sound a bit obvious, logging dives during and after your entry level courses is a great way of showing the dive centre and your buddies that you have been out there getting some experience under you weight belt. But it won’t stop there, you will need to show evidence of how many dives you have to book onto certain dive trips and holidays, more advanced dive courses and other training. There are many excellent dive destinations that specifically request a minimum number of dives before you can book, so you can’t expect to turn up and say that you have loads of dives but can’t show it in your logbook! For certain advanced training there are strict pre requisites, for example Technical diving courses, re-breather training and also professional courses such as PADI Divemaster all require a logged minimum requirement as well as a minimum certification level.
4. Your own dive guide
When you start to dive the same sites more than once you can build up a decent mental picture of the site, this can also be translated into your logbook as your own personal dive guide! Remember where the moray eel was in the reef last time, or how to get to the boiler room on the wreck? If you wrote it in your log book with some key points that jog your memory it will become much easier next time, even if it’s a year or two later. It might not be 100% accurate and won’t replace a good dive brief but it will help you get the most out of your dive. I know a very experienced diver whose log book is like a treasure map of every dive site, making his logbook a great source of information for any repeat visit. Your dive buddies will soon give you legend status if you can always take them to the best parts of the dive sites!
5. It’s never been easier.
I’m a bit old fashioned, it’s my age, and like using a pen and paper logbook but for the more technically savvy of you (mostly younglings) you can use on line logbooks and record everything you want to. There was a time when the logbook was a key part of your dive plan, recording depth and time, calculate your surface time and pressure groups, but with nearly everyone using a dive computer and planning tools this has become a bit side lined. New design log books and Apps like Scuba Earth have developed with this in mind. Now you don’t even need to write anything! You can tag your location, add photos and videos and even download your dive computer to give an exact profile of your dive along with all of the other technical information that it gives you. You still need to write who your buddy was…but that’s not too much to ask?!
It’s not an exclusive list as there are lots of good reasons to keep a logbook, the social aspect of sitting down after a dive, beer on the table and chatting about the dive you have just done while you fill it out is one of my favourites. At the end of the day it’s down to the individual, some will always log every dive, some wont. No need to write the entire works of Shakespeare, a few comments and a dive centre stamp is enough to keep any divers interest in where you have been, and when someone says “Nahh mate, I don’t log mine anymore” you can proudly say “I still do”.