is no legal requirement of the small boat skipper to keep a log, should
ever be a problem, then a written record of your trip will be of
will simplify the process of providing an account of events to the
or your insurance company
Hopefully that will never be an issue for any of us.
However, where keeping a log book can be rewarding as a valuable record
It is also critical to safety and
navigation as it
encourages you to keep track of where you are and where you’re
With this record, should your GPS
fail, the log books will
be invaluable for navigation purposes.
Content should also include weather
pressure, course, speed, distance traveled and events such as anchoring
docking at a harbor or port.
A record of previous trips can also
work as a cruising
guide when re-visiting an area.
For that reason a record of places
visited is almost as
good as local knowledge, and could include, as well as navigation
such useful items as names and telephone numbers radio frequencies
Your own observations on landmarks,
entrances, etc or even such things as that excellent restraint ashore,
useful on any return trip.
And just the process of writing down
an observation, such
as the time it took to return to your home port, will help impress it
memory for next time.
On top of this, the log book is just a
very enjoyable way
to keep track of your journey.
The log book could also include boat
It is also an excellent place to keep
other boat data such
as length, beam, draft, vertical clearance, as well as capacities for
the onboard tanks, fuel, water etc.
Not only will it be interesting to
look back on previous
passages but having that record could improve the resale value of the
Naigators Log Book
There are quite a number of commercially published
logbooks on sale aimed at the leisure sailor.
Unfortunately many of these are based on the formal Ship's Log type
requires meticulous recording of data, and they are bound and have
pages and are really more suitable for long cruises.
Very few are suitable for weekend sailors and as a result rarely get
which is a shame.
Everyone’s boating is different and so why not design your own system
which is geared to your own needs and boat, and is versatile enough to
the different types of sailing that you do.
This could be kept in a file folder which could also hold passage
pilotage plans and all your other boating information all in one
If you base it on the A4 format you will
find something to suit you
the host of ring binders, plastic sleeves, etc in you local stationary
And using this size, as well as designing your own pages you will be
include computer printouts of weather and tide information, there is so
available on the net it would be a shame not to be able to include
The only problem with the majority of printers is that the ink is not
waterproof, hence the use of the plastic sleeves, they aren’t fool
but will help.
If you want to make up some proformas to use regularly, photocopying
should overcome this.
One of the advantages of creating your own layout and design using a
binder is that you can vary the style to suit you and your style of
It can be adapted to use for a day sail, an extended cruise or even
just a day
To start with you might want to design a layout based on the
of log book, then adapt it using your imagination to fit with your type
I like to have a new page to cover the navigation for a days trip on
hand side and on the left an adjustable amount of space to write notes,
times that might be only a couple of lines, sometimes a couple of
Some people like to add sketches and photographs.
On the navigation page I like to have a heading showing the where the
from and towards which destination.
Then space below for recording the date, time (whether in UT or local
weather conditions, course (showing whether it is magnetic or true),
speed, position, and I like to include the barometer reading even if it
a day sail.
For long passages you might also want somewhere to keep track of the
drinking water left in the tanks, fuel, batteries state, engine hours
to note the names of crew members and
It is surprising too, how keeping records can help in problem solving.
someone who was worried about the varying amount of water in his
times there would be quite a lot other times nothing.
It wasn’t until
started keeping a record that he was able to tie the rise in bilge
to the times when he filled his fresh water tanks.
A maintenance log will also help keep track of those jobs.
When did you
grease you stern tube or check the seacocks?
All it needs is a list of
with columns next to it with space to quickly write in the date.
Remember this is your personal log book unlike a ‘Ships Log’ it
isn’t a legal document, so use it to suit you.
Use your imagination to create something you will enjoy keeping up to
Someday who knows it could become the latest publishing sensation
If you want a truly unique Log Book have a look at the designs by
available from Starfish Books.
"Setting the course, keeping the dead reckoning up to date, and fixing
the position by observations of the celestial bodies, call for nothing
more than simple arithmetic, a little geometry, and some dexterity in
handling a sextant." (Eric
The paper log books
traditionally used by commercial ships are gradually being replaced
electronic logs or E log books.
Their point is to make the keeping of the log more formal.
However, this means that they are set up to rule out precisely the
the paper log book has for the small boat owner.
I am perfectly aware that the majority of Wooden Boat aficionados are sensible folk. However, I need to point out that I am an amateur wooden boat enthusiast simply writing in order to try to help other amateur wooden boat enthusiasts. And while I take every care to ensure that the information in DIY Wood Boat.com is correct, anyone acting on the information on this website does so at their own risk.