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So for years I didn't adequately track the maintenance that I did on my boat, and then subsequently did an inadequate job keeping a list in a physical log book. When I went to sell my prior boat, I found that I had to try to figure it all out, and it wasn't easy. Now, with a new boat, I'm aiming to be more organized. Has anyone found an online or app solution that works well?
 

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It all depends on what and how you want to track.
You can use smartphone apps (like the basic calendar and contacts) and set up recurring items on the calendar, i.e. so you get reminders and completed tasks checked off. Or you can do that in Excel or any number of other programs. A dedicated (old, cheap, offline) smart phone or an old Palm can live on the boat and do that.
Or you can use something fancier. Or, just buy a box of 3x5 cards (really, they still sell those) and move them around as needed. "Oil change every 100 hours" can be one card, which you sign off when you do it, and then move it back three months deeper into the box. Box organized in 12 compartments, for the months, plus maybe one more for "ToDo" where you can pick over odd jobs as you have time for them.
That's not the same as a bound book where everything is logged securely, but it certainly can be flexible and inexpensive. And paper cards never "crash". You can back them up by simply noting down any major maintenance, or important issues like those oil changes, in the ships bound paper log anyway.
 

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I have 8.5x11 dry erase sticky sheets.
I note engine hrs, jobs to be done, supplies needed, diesel used at x rpm, expenses...etc.

Peel off..restick anywhere.
I don't want to be anymore organized than this. Just a memory aid.
 

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Thanks for the replies! Really helpful. If anyone is interested, I just downloaded what seems to be a really helpful iPhone/iPad app that tracks maintenance items and some other cool cost tracking/parts, etc, other features too.

It's called "Boat Boss".
 

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Buy a black sharpie marker ...change the oil filter , put the date and engine hours on it . New sanitation hoses ? Put the date on them ...new main halyard? Scribble it on the underside of a lazarette lid, works better for me than entering it into my iPad/phone ( too easy for me to say I'll put that into my notes later , then well , forget to....tried the keeping note pad thing when I was restoring cars , worked great right till I forgot where I put it .... hard to forget where you put your boat .... but there have been some late evenings of celebratory nature where it could have happened ....
 

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If you have trouble filling out a physical log book you will usually have trouble filling out a digital one so you need to do something about that.

I avoid touching my phone, tablet or log book when doing maintenance since I totally despise having to deal with one that's been in dirty or greasy hands so the log book or spread sheet gets filled out before or afterwards when I am at a clean table with clean hands. Either way you go, book or device, fill out the log book with required tasks and drop dead dates before you start the dirty work filling in the completed date after you're done and have cleaned up. If you see tasks that were scheduled but not listed as completed you know you need to revisit them.

In a physical log book I will put also put a circle next to anything I start on and when done put a slash through it to indicate completion especially if its a list of steps that need to be done in order. This helps dealing with interruptions so you can quickly scan for circles without slashes to see if you left a step undone. On a digital log I may list the tasks in black at first, change them to red when started and then green when done. Entries that are not green have not been completed.

Personally I will use Spreadsheets or write an Access Database Application of my own for tracking since I am a Microsoft Office Developer. A spreadsheet may be easier/less expensive to deal with for some with the added benefit that the data will be more portable between platforms than with a dedicated single purpose application.
 

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If you have trouble filling out a physical log book you will usually have trouble filling out a digital one so you need to do something about that.

I avoid touching my phone, tablet or log book when doing maintenance since I totally despise having to deal with one that's been in dirty or greasy hands so the log book or spread sheet gets filled out afterwards when I am at a clean table with clean hands. Either way you go, book or device, fill out the log book with required tasks and drop dead dates before you start the dirty work filling in the completed date after you're done and have cleaned up. If you see tasks that were scheduled but not listed as completed you know you need to revisit them.

In a physical log book I will put also put a circle next to anything I start on and when done put a slash through it to indicate completion especially if its a list of steps that need to be done in order. This helps dealing with interruptions so you can quickly scan for circles without slashes to see if you left a step undone. On a digital log I may list the tasks in black at first, change them to red when started and then green when done. Entries that are not green have not been completed.

Personally I will use Spreadsheets or write an Access Database Application of my own for tracking since I am a Microsoft Office Developer. A spreadsheet may be easier/less expensive to deal with for some with the added benefit that the data will be more portable between platforms than with a dedicated single purpose application.
A huge amount of boat maintenance is NOT engine... and your entries don't have to be done until you've cleaned up. What is handing is that you can have calculated reminders based on hrs or days between tasks... like changing impellors or filters or oil. You can color code tasks which makes it easy to find them. And you can several columns for different info about the task.

And yes you can transport the log on a sip drive and move it between devices as between home, office and boat. As such the spread sheet can be used as a PLANNER.

I started a SHIVA spread sheet years ago and it has multiple tabs for all sorts of things such as

serial numbers
purchase / replacement dates of equipment
boat stats/ numbers
equipment list
watch sched(s)
electric load calculations/chart
list of spares
storage inventory/location
annual spring maintenance projects
insurance claims
and so on...

Today I would never keep a paper log... although I can print parts of my spread sheet if needed.

I can zoom the scale if I want to see it easier... and I can convey is or parts of it in email.
 

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Engine maintenance is not the only work on a boat that leaves you with dirty hands.

Most work on a boat usually involves fixing, cleaning and or polishing something that's dirty.

Though I am a programmer by trade I do realize that digital logs while handy can be vaporous and at times inaccessible when batteries get discharged, devices die, media fails/gets corrupted or cloud services are not available however a paper log is fairly immune to all that. If there is a fire on the boat that destroys a log book or it fills up with enough water to destroy the book the maintenance log may then be the least of your worries unless the insurance company claims lack of maintenance was to blame.

A good backup is to keep a file folder with all the receipts along with, when possible, write a date on parts that you replace using a permanent marker as others have mentioned.
 

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I've tried it all, from no log, to spreadsheets, to an app. No log has bitten me in the butt, because I forget, let alone can't demonstrate to a buyer what's been done and when. Even when I created a custom spreadsheet that listed all rountine items, for each engine, winch greasing, etc, etc, low and behold I needed to log something I didn't think of.

I think the best and easiest way to log maintenance is in a bound composition book. Record the date and engine hour, then list freehand what was done. It's all chronological and flexible. It's not as hard to look back and find the last time something was done as it may seem.

I maintain a spring and winter checklist of things I need to remember to do at those times.

To each their own.
 

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Thanks for the replies! Really helpful. If anyone is interested, I just downloaded what seems to be a really helpful iPhone/iPad app that tracks maintenance items and some other cool cost tracking/parts, etc, other features too.

It's called "Boat Boss".
Anyone else suspect this thread is an add for "Boat Boss?"

When I managed a boat with group owners, I used Google Calendar to manage all aspects of the boat. This was more for scheduling of the partners but also used it to send out emails about dues. It would be really easy to use it also to schedule maintenance and record work that has been done.

The bonus is it's free.
It is on the cloud so will always be there.
If you use a android phone it is easily accessible to all your electronics, phone, tablet, and computer.
If done properly, any schedule maintenance will be reminded by emails or pop ups on your phone, to make sure the work is done as scheduled.
If you create a separate calendar for just your boat, you can share it with others or "give it" to the next boat owner so they can access all this information.
 
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