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Logging Dives - It's a good thing to do.

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I just read the latest thread discussing logging dives. There is a new one almost every week. Some people don't log dives at all. My good friend Steve, who has been a dive pro as long as I have and a diver even longer than I have been diving, doesn't log dives. Others I know are content to retain the data their computer records, like my sometimes dive buddy Pete. Many others, like me, actually log every dive in a log book that has actual pages. I have logged every dive I have ever been on that was in a lake or the ocean. Pool dives don't get logged because they are not dives in my book. I log the date, location, dive site name, time in, time out, air consumption, gear used, exposure suit worn, weight used, and water and air temperature. I also note if the dive was from a boat or shore, and I note any current or surge or surf issues. I even note my weight, which can vary enough from from time to time to affect the weight I will use for diving. I note who I dove with, and I write down what we did and saw. I have never regretted doing this, and I intend to continue to do it. From my dive log I have created a weighting chart for various locations, gear worn, exposure suit worn, and how much weight I used when properly weighted. I also note my own weight as it can vary enough to impact proper weighting now and then. If I am diving in a fresh water lake here in Colorado in a semi-dry suit with a hood and gloves, with an 80 AL tank, I know what weight to use. I can look it up. I can do the same when planning for a dive in a 3 mil wetsuit with no hood or gloves, using a different bc, in warm salt water. In my log I also note whether I was cold on a dive, especially after the 2nd, 3rd, or 4th dive of the day, so I will know if I need to "dress warmer" next time out. My weighting and exposure suit charts are each valuable tools for planning a local dive outing or a trip to a far away dive destination.
In between dive trips, I tally total underwater time and average time per dive. I keep a summary sheet of number of dives to different depth ranges. (under 30, 30-39, 40-49, on up to 130 + ) I note the number of dives at different destinations, and other nerdy stats when I review and read my log book. I put a lot of information in it. It's also full of diver contact information and stickers and stamps from dive boats, dive shops and liveaboards around the world. I even have my own stamp to mark other diver's' logs if they want. All of those things are for my personal use. I like to read my log book from time to time, and refer to it for material when I have a public appearance or book signing coming up. I sometimes take it, actually I take "them" as I have several volumes compiled, to those appearances. People seem to like to look through the logs, as many pages are really colorful, some are funny, and others just interesting.
I also use my log to show dive operators where I last dove, and the extent of my experience, life long as well as recent, so there is no hassle over doing any given dive. This is a really good reason to keep an up-to- date dive log. Some dives require a showing of recent diving in similar conditions, or a certain number of dives. In addition, if you ever opt to "go pro," you will need to document your dive experience in this way. And once you are a pro, it's still a good idea to keep your dive log current for both personal as well as professional reasons.
Digital downloads or not, I log my dives with a pen and log sheets, and I log them every day. I get basic data off my computer, and fill in the rest while I still remember it. I encourage you to keep a log book, and fill it with useful as well as fun stuff. You will be glad you did!
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Updated May 8th, 2012 at 06:11 PM by DivemasterDennis (typo correction)

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