A log book is an important piece of equipment onboard every vessel. Let’s take a loot at a ship’s log book and why you need one.
Recreate Your Journey
A ship’s log book is a great way to recreate your journey, keep records and later, look back at what you have achieved. Your log book is an ally, and a travel companion. Think of it as a ‘good-seamanship’ task. The log book complements your journey and keeps the information and memories in a safe, and orderly fashion.
Keeping a log book is good practice, professional, and could be a legal necessity if an incident is investigated. It’s a running record of all official events such as arrival and departure, communications, distance travelled, etc.
How to maintain a log book
On a longer voyage, the log book should be written up regularly, every hour is recommended in addition to any notable events such as weather changes, radio communications, sighting other vessels, etc. If the log book is not kept up to date and you need to call for assistance you may not have the necessary information at hand to provide your position. Completing the columns regularly assists in a good on-watch routine.
The columns are for the essential information. The Comments sections are for additional information, expanded details on weather (e.g. storm warnings), events/incidents on board, radio communications, on-watch/off-watch. Best of all, short notes on the people you meet and the adventures experienced will make this book a wonderful keepsake to look back upon time and again.
A log book can become a legal document in the event of a marine incident. All pages are numbered and should never be torn out. All corrections must be crossed out and initialled (and still be legible). Although this is a requirement for commercial boats, recreational boats’ logs can still be integral in an insurance claim or marine incident. They are also an impressive item for prospective owners to review.
Hourly entries could include: fuel consumed/fuel remaining, time to be noted when navigation marks are passed, cloud oktas , time, details and reason for course alteration, meteorological conditions, engine on/off, other boats, radio communications, floating objects (contact or visual), groundings, received distress signals, oil spill, crew on watch/off watch, stores, fresh water. Don’t forget to tick the bilge column to show it’s been checked regularly – find a small problem before it becomes a big one!
This log book has been compiled with recreational and commercial knowledge. We’ve included a contents page so you can easily find your main ports on each page, and dates relevant to the arrival and departure. In the back, the maintenance log allows you to keep track of imperative tasks. Together with useful formulas, this log book is all you need to capture your journey in a professional, easy, and reassuring manner. Our log books have pride of place in our home and often accompany a fun evening of reflection and reminiscing.
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