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To log or not to log?

To log or not to log? That is the question of many an experienced diver. After all, once you’re beyond logging the requisite number of dives for the next class you want to take, why bother? The answers might surprise you.

First off, logging your dives is easier than it’s ever been. Most dive computers can download your dive profile to an electronic logbook. Add in the name of the dive site, the equipment you used, buddy information, and conditions, and a wealth of information is available for recall with a few keystrokes.  This information is easily shared between your electronic devices.  Being able to access this information on the go is particularly beneficial.  Why?

Glad you asked. Most dive operators ask you to fill out the date of your last dive when you are completing your boat waivers. Many destination resorts ask for proof. If your log is on your phone, that’s one less thing to worry about packing.

But the reason behind the question is even more important. Dive skills are perishable. If you’ve been out of the water over a year, it may be time for a refresher—or when you take that giant stride off the boat, you may find yourself in over your head in more ways than you intended.

Divers often travel to their destinations. Perhaps you’re a photographer and you have the opportunity to return to a favorite destination from time to time. Remember that site in Little Cayman where the baby squid like to congregate? Or what about the frog fish that likes to hang out by the buoy. What was the name of that site again? If you logged your dives you’d know. Plus, if you logged your equipment, you’d also know exactly how you got the shot—or didn’t, and what to do next time.

Thinking of becoming a tec diver? What about an instructor? Maybe you’re a public safety diver. Depending on the position, there may be mandates to log your dives. Even without a mandate, for professionals, it’s considered best practice.

Even if you haven’t hit the ranks of professional diver, it’s still important to maintain your gear. Logbooks hold more information than just your dives. Do you remember when you last serviced your regulator? Did you take in your buoyancy compensator device at the same time? How about your tanks? Hydro, VIPs; all require regular service for safety reasons. At depth is not when you want to experience a malfunction that could have been prevented with regular service. Recording that information in your logbook eliminates the guesswork.

Speaking of guesswork.  How much weight do you use with your 5mm in freshwater? What about saltwater? How does that compare with your shorty? Are you feeling chillier when you dive lately? Using more weight? The greater your number of dives, the less effective your wetsuit becomes due to compression. Knowing how many dives you have on your wetsuit can help project when you’ll need a new one.

Need one more reason? Do you remember your first dive? All the silt you stirred up, the trepidation you felt, the thrill of being weightless?  Or how about the time you saw your first (you, fill in the blank)? What about the new friend you made when you were paired up with another solo diver? Dive logs offer a trip down memory lane. Which considering our current situation, is a gift.  Fortunately, when restrictions are lifted, we’ll be here—and we look forward to you logging your next dives with Jupiter Dive Center.

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