The Eternal Search for the Perfect Dive Log Book

In June, when I hit the 180 dives mark, I stopped logging my dives. Since then I haven’t been able to get back into the swing of things. Part of that has to do with already feeling behind on logging dives—now there are dozens I am missing and certainly not going to remember—and part of it has to do with the medium I chose to switch to—digital. Or, more specifically, a Google Spreadsheet.

The spreadsheet format was one required by my scientific diving course instructor. While he never made me switch formats, he did say that moving forward, my scientific dives would need to include a number of details that were not a part of the basic PADI logbook I was using at the time. Naturally, I thought it a good opportunity to switch things up a bit. After all, I had my frustrations with my paper logbook, namely that it only had space for 50 dives—a number of dives I was hitting faster than ever thanks to helping out with Open Water and Advanced classes on a regular basis. Secondly it wasn’t waterproof and was starting to look really ratty, and last but definitely not least, that it didn’t have the options I wanted. I wanted to separate out my Aquarium Dives, my Pool Dives (which I never technically include as dives/or at least I never count them), and my normal dives. Add to that my desire to often “journal” about my dives and you have a really complex set of needs!

To this day I have not figured out what the perfect format is. I have however figured out that digital is not a natural option for my brain. It requires a little too much work. Plus, cell phones are usually not readily accessible at a dive site, which means the logging has to be put off until later, at which point I am usually doing something else.

For this reason I have decided to focus my future logging needs in a few different ways.

  1. Use a dive journal. That is, a normal journal (lined pages) exclusively for logging private thoughts about my dives. It’s not something I should feel obligated to use, just something I can keep separate from the more professional log book, and that I can use to elaborate on things I might want to write an article about later, or just remember.
  2. Return to the paper logbook format, with a difference. Opt for a dive logbook that includes only the necessary details, and that has space for a lot of dives. In this manner I can ensure I log all types of dives, and simply don’t add the pool dives to my dive count. Had I done that using a PADI dive log, I’d have used it all up in a couple of months, especially given I’m in the pool most weeks, have the aquarium every third week, and of course, help out with scuba classes as a divemaster.
  3. This blog for thoughts that are not private.

The dive log book I have ordered and eagerly await is a simple little thing made by Amazon Seller, BeautifulDiveLog. It isn’t waterproof but it’s super cheap (another problem with most dive logs that are overpriced given what they offer)—just $6.50—and does the job I need it to do—contains enough space to log the bare minimum in order to keep me on track!

If I still want the online log to hand off to people, I can transfer data to my spreadsheet at a later date.

I’ll make sure to write up a proper review when it arrives, though I am already quite sure it will work out just fine. My only complaint before I’ve even seen it is that I know it’s not waterproof.

If you have the same problem with logging dives, I’d love to hear more, though I suspect for most people the in-depth exposition is not a requirement.

Written by Candice Landau
I'm a PADI Scuba Diving Instructor, a lover of marine life and all efforts related to marine conservation, a tech diver and a member of various scuba organizations in the Pacific Northwest. I write articles related to diving and spend my non-diving time writing and providing digital marketing services to nonprofits and businesses.