Customised Logbooks

Since man first went to sea he has been recording his events in some form.  Firstly, to seek and record knowledge and latterly to record facts for performance monitoring or as a legal requirement.

Most ships now carry numerous logbooks as a legal requirement for recording events.  However, the primary logbooks on board are the Official logbook, the Deck logbook and the engineers logbook.  Should the ship suffer any serious mishap these logbooks will end up as being used in court, hence the need to keep an accurate log of events is important.

For yachts and pleasure craft the requirements for keeping a logbook are less onerous.  But it is still important to record events and navigational information, both for onboard use and scrutiny by a third party.  Remember, that if your vessel is involved in an incident the logbook may be used as evidence, a well recorded and accurate logbook is indicative of a well-run boat.  As a minimum I would suggest recording: –

  • Date and time of any event
  • Name of person recording the event and signature
  • All entries recorded in pen and nothing deleted
  • Navigational position, frequently on the coast, less frequently in open ocean
  • Sail changes and weather / sea conditions as they change
  • Barometric pressure and weather forecasts
  • Engine running hours, consumptions and remaining on board
  • Water consumption and remaining on board
  • Radio traffic and communications
  • Safety events, drills and maintenance to equipment (I use red pen for these entries)
  • Persons on board
  • Garbage disposal at sea and to shore reception facilities
  • Bunkering and disposal of waste oils
  • Oil changes and engine maintenance
  • Breakages, defects and maintenance carried out
  • Significant events and port entry, visa clearance etc
  • Any events you think are applicable and helpful

There are a multitude of generic logbook formats available from nautical publishers and marine stores.  The downside of these logbooks is that they don’t always fit the requirements of individual vessels and they tend to be expensive. 

A monthly logbook costing $40 amounts to $480 pa.  A large number of beer tokens for the average cruiser.  Good news, there is a cheaper option that could also provide just the style of logbook you need. 

Sample log book offshore

For my logbooks I have made up a template in Microsoft word, just how I wanted it.  With this template on USB I headed down to the stationary store and had copies made and bound up into monthly logbooks.  Easy and the cost was a fraction of a store-bought logbook.

Log book template in word

Let me know if you would like a copy of my word template and I will email a copy you.