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Why Keep a Dive Log?

Bottom Line: While maintaining a dive log is not mandatory, it is highly recommended. What you log and why you log it is a personal decision, much like what you put in a diary. The benefits of maintaining an accurate logbook can help you in many ways. Find out how a log can benefit you.

“What do I write down?” is usually the question Open Water students ask when confronted with a blank dive log page for the first time. Think of your dive log as a personal diary—no one is required to one but many people do. The same holds true with dive logs—you are not required to keep one, but it is strongly suggested. Why?


The biggest reason to keep a log is to record important aspects of your dive, including:


  • Location

  • Date

  • Time|In the water/out of water

  • Dive Profile|Dive type (shore/boat/night), bottom time, depth, surface interval, pressure groups, safety stop details

  • Conditions|Weather, visibility, water, temperatures

  • Equipment|Configuration, proper weighting

  • Experiences|Observations, challenges, buddies, accomplishments

  • Gas|Type, tank size/type, start/stop pressures, consumption rate, supplemental systems

  • Cumulative Information|Total dive time to date, dive number to date

Most logs have space for a verification signature from a dive buddy, instructor or Divemaster. Some even have space for a boat or dive shop stamp or sticker. Many divers have turned their logbooks into an impressive collection of ornate dive shop stamps and stickers from around the world for fellow divers to envy. Incorporating these into your logbook gives an added level of credibility to your underwater feats.

If you travel to dive, think about packing your dive log. Some dive operators will ask to see your dive log to confirm you have the experience you claim and it’s also an easy way to log dives as you go.

When it comes to continuing education, certain levels of PADI advanced certification (like Divemaster and Open Water Scuba Instructor) require a specific number of dives and dive types.

Preprinted dive logs, like the ones provided with your PADI Open Water class materials (Figure 1), are designed to hold specific information but, in reality, the log can be nothing more than a blank page with whatever information you find relevant to record.

There are many options available to put your dive logs online, from free solutions like PADI’s ScubaEarth (Figure 2) to many subscription-based, non-proprietary digital logbooks like (Figure 3).

Many dive computers integrate into dive logging software that is often available for free. One example is the Suunto DM5 software (Figure 4) that integrates with the Suunto Eon Steel, among other Suunto computer products.

Whether you decide to log in hard copy or digitally, the biggest benefit to maintaining a dive logbook is recalling past experiences. Reliving your special moments in the water will surely bring back pleasant memories for years to come. Let’s go diving!

PADI preprinted dive log

Figure 1. PADI preprinted dive log.

ScubaEarth's logbook readout.

Figure 2. PADI ScubaEarth’s logbook readout. digital loogbook readout.

Figure 3. Example digital logbook readout.

Suunto DM5 digital dive log.

Figure 4. Suunto DM5 digital dive log.

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