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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Seamanship & Navigation
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Seamanship & Navigation Forum devoted to seamanship and navigation topics, including paper and electronic charting tools.


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  #1  
Old 12-04-2009
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Logkeeping- Do you?

Navy ships run on logbooks. We log everything, and I mean everything.

I don't log anything that occurs on my 17' motorboat, but I'm thinking that I should keep logs for certain things on my 25' Coronado. I'll probably never leave Chesapeake Bay in it, but should I keep logs? What are important items to track?

Should I track the loading and consumption of stores? (Food, potable water)

Travel? (Point A to Points B, C, and D, then back to A)

I should probably log hours run on the outboard so I at least change the oil on schedule, right?

Events and observations? Radio communications? A record of my own actions and decisions?

Thanks,

BubbleHead
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Old 12-04-2009
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There was a bit of a thread on this a while back, can't seem to find it now.

We keep an informal log of our sailing days, keeping track of conditions, destinations, hours motoring vs sailing, sails used, etc. We do not routinely track every course change, tack, or do hourly fixes as we are most always conning/piloting in visual range of a shoreline. At the same time we track number of days and overnights and any guests we've had onboard.

Also we keep detailed records of maintenance done, any gear purchased/added/replaced, fuelups and oil changes etc.

The one we use is this one: Boater's Log Book and Journal

It has sections for engine logs, radio logs, fuel consumption and about 80 pages for daily descriptions with headings for weather, destinations, wind. That lasts us just over a year. We've since 'copied' the format and create our own pages and keep them in a binder.

Makes for good reading on those slow rainy days at anchor, or to take home and do the same in the wintertime.
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Old 12-04-2009
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I keep two logs: One for all maintenance that I do. Spring commisioning, Winterizing and everything in between. Includes costs, receipts, methods, part numbers, etc.

The other is a cruising log: which has two parts: all the routine checks for: oil levels, battery checks, engine hours etc etc. The other half is for guests aboard, trips, fuel expenses, weather, trip, sea state...notes from the helm

Logging sea-time is a necessary reference for me when it comes time to renew sea time for my CG license.
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Old 12-04-2009
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I keep a jouranl of all maintenance, repairs and upgrades but that is kept on the computer at home. Will go on board when we go long-term sailing.

Sailing logs are kept for any trip going out of our local environment. For example next weekend I am delivering my boat to an area 110 miles from base to leave it there in preparation for our annual holiday.

That trip will be logged as far as:
  • weather conditions and changes
  • course changes
  • watch changes
  • expected landmarks/lights and the time
  • two-hourly course/distance notes (and lat long position marked on chart for DR if needed)
  • two-hourly barometer readings
  • engine hours (fuel consumption)
  • any unusual sightings (whales, orca, dolphins, etc) or happenings of interest
My Maxsea runs a navigation log that records vital course stats every hour but this is just coincidental and not relied upon because it may switch off at any time but it is interesting to read through it later.
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Old 12-04-2009
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Having worked on commercial vessels, they are required to log everything so I got used to it. The log serves 2 purposes in my mind, the first to job your memory, and the second is in case you end up in court.

At the very least, it is a good idea to keep a maintenance log. It is also advisable to keep a log of what days you were underway. If I am traveling in conditions where visual navigation is difficult, I plot at least hourly so if the GPS fails, I still know about where I am.
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All valid. I also keep a log to relive my voyages when at home. You think you will always remember, but you don't.
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Old 12-04-2009
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Thanks for the info, especially the link to a decent logbook.
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Old 12-04-2009
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No I don't .. don't have a fireplace on my boat! lol
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Old 12-04-2009
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Absolutely! Keep a log (the Army taught this, too)! It helps maintenance and troubleshooting (i.e answering "what changed since I last inspected this?"). It disciplines you to track barometer, sea and wind conditions, location, course, speed et al which helps prevent the s hitting the fan. I recently printed out the log from a cruise 20 years ago and gave it to my son. He was amazed to read about our cruise years later!
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Old 12-04-2009
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Bubblehead,

Log-keeping is one of many seaman-like things that a lot of people do religiously that I don't see the point of, at least for the type of boating that I do. I spend most of my time daysailing/weekending on the Chesapeake and I do not keep a log. My boat is relatively new, so most of my engine maintenance occurs when winterizing. I don't need a log to tell me that I changed the oil, filters, impeller, etc. last November because I do it every year.

I used to wish that we recorded the places we anchor in and described the time we had, but we do it so often now that we don't have much need for written record to reminisce over. Besides, we usually have pics and/or video.

What I'm trying to say is, don't do it because you feel like you ought to. Only do it if you find value in it.
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