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Old 09-19-2016, 03:40 PM   #1
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Question Electronic Logbooks

Greetings. Just curious as to how many of you are using electronic logbooks, and if so, which ones? And of course, how well do you like them? I recently purchased Boating Suite, which I purchased without really reading the specs on the app. It is multi-faceted and offers a trip log, fuel log, expense log, maintenance log, vessel log, shopping list, a "to do" list, as well as several types of reports for these things. It is easy to use and for only five bucks, a steal, especially when compared to the effort of building my own on Access or Excel.

The downside is that it is strictly a mobile app and can't be used on a PC or Mac. That's the part I didn't read well enough. I'm so used to being able to store stuff on the "cloud," or at least backing up from one device to another, that I never gave it a second thought.

It loaded on my iPhone 6 easily and is a delight, except for the aforementioned perceived shortcoming. I probably should add that I've lost one phone overboard, and went swimming with another (quite unintentionally while boarding the dinghy with a case of beer!) The thought of losing all my logs in such a clumsy manner is not pleasant.

Any success stories out there with electronic logs?
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Old 09-19-2016, 04:26 PM   #2
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I only use electronic versions for our maintenance and system logs. Excel spreadsheet, about 9-10 different individual worksheets. On a laptop, backed up on a desktop, on removable storage media, another laptop, and two tablets. (There are also cloud solutions to storage and access that I haven't chosen to use: DropBox, OneDrive, whatever Apple and Google call their clouds...)

I'm not going to attempt to type anything serious on a tiny smartphone or tablet keyboard.

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Old 09-19-2016, 04:28 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Captain Larry View Post
Greetings. Just curious as to how many of you are using electronic logbooks, and if so, which ones? And of course, how well do you like them? I recently purchased Boating Suite, which I purchased without really reading the specs on the app. It is multi-faceted and offers a trip log, fuel log, expense log, maintenance log, vessel log, shopping list, a "to do" list, as well as several types of reports for these things. It is easy to use and for only five bucks, a steal, especially when compared to the effort of building my own on Access or Excel.

The downside is that it is strictly a mobile app and can't be used on a PC or Mac. That's the part I didn't read well enough. I'm so used to being able to store stuff on the "cloud," or at least backing up from one device to another, that I never gave it a second thought.

It loaded on my iPhone 6 easily and is a delight, except for the aforementioned perceived shortcoming. I probably should add that I've lost one phone overboard, and went swimming with another (quite unintentionally while boarding the dinghy with a case of beer!) The thought of losing all my logs in such a clumsy manner is not pleasant.

Any success stories out there with electronic logs?
Boating Suite here as well.
On the main menu, go to Reports / Log Book Report / then email to yourself the Log Report in CSV file, which is easy to import in Excel or any software CSV compatible.
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Old 09-19-2016, 04:34 PM   #4
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I like cross platform solutions such as Dropbox, Evernote, etc... I would not be happy with only being able to input information on my phone.

For logs, I still like old school pen and paper. The only disadvantage is that since I leave the logs on the boat, I don't have access to the information when I am not there. I keep a file for specifications, replacement parts, and to-do list in Evernote so I can view and modify it wherever I am.
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Old 09-19-2016, 05:01 PM   #5
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To do lists and acquisition lists are on 5 x 8" pads. Log books, maintenance records, and systems information are done on Word docs written to thumb drives. Lots of system information benefits from pictures. Having a Word doc with accompanying pictures to remind me how I wired or plumbed something, will be invaluable 10 years down the road.

I think when I sell the boat, I'll offer the buyer the option to purchase the companion thumb drive......after the sale.

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Old 09-19-2016, 06:05 PM   #6
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Excel for me. Actually, I use it to create ruled pages for manually entering data while cruising, etc. Places, hours run, fuel bought and costs, repairs and maintenance.


I do copy the fuel log to an active spreadsheet that totals up hours fuel, costs, etc. Not in real time, but after the fact.
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Old 09-19-2016, 06:28 PM   #7
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Excel for me also. I like it because I can have an almost unlimited number of pages in the book. One thing I'd like to be able to do in it is to set up some sort of a reminder that will open and send me a reminder note when a date for a task comes due.


I'd bet there's a way to do that but I don't know how.
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Old 09-19-2016, 09:36 PM   #8
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Excel for me also. I like it because I can have an almost unlimited number of pages in the book. One thing I'd like to be able to do in it is to set up some sort of a reminder that will open and send me a reminder note when a date for a task comes due.


I'd bet there's a way to do that but I don't know how.
I've never done it but Excel can be programmed and there are date functions. I doubt you could program Excel to open itself on a certain date though. It would have to be running to use the date function.
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Old 09-20-2016, 11:29 AM   #9
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I have always used a paper log but wanted to switch to electronic.
Never really found anything I was happy with.
Our log is more of a daily diary to record events people we meet and things we see. I wanted the ability to add pictures, text and search by key words ( dates, places, people etc.)
Ended up making a template in "keynote" for my iPad and will give it a test run this year.
Also keep a fuel log and "to do list" in excel
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Old 09-20-2016, 11:42 AM   #10
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I have always used a paper log but wanted to switch to electronic.
Never really found anything I was happy with.
Our log is more of a daily diary to record events people we meet and things we see. I wanted the ability to add pictures, text and search by key words ( dates, places, people etc.)
Ended up making a template in "keynote" for my iPad and will give it a test run this year.
Also keep a fuel log and "to do list" in excel
I can also enter text info by voice on my iPhone or iPod and it automatically transfers to my log (with Internet connection)
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Old 09-20-2016, 01:04 PM   #11
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Thanks for the replies. Sounds like most of us are on the same page, with the same concerns and needs. OMC gave me a valuable tip by letting me know that I can email the log data in a CSV format to myself, to be imported into Excel. Many thanks for that! I've spent some more time looking at BoatingSuite and am going to give it a try, while at the same time continuing to keep my paper logs until I've tested the "system." It has some niceties, such as automatically entering lat/lon at the start/end of the day or trip, directly from the device's internal GPS. I'll see how it goes and will report back with my results. In the meantime, if someone discovers a better electronic package I'd be grateful to learn about it.
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Old 09-20-2016, 01:29 PM   #12
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Wheelhouse technology for me. Can upload invoices etc as well for good record keeping without the shoe box under the bed.
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Old 09-20-2016, 02:33 PM   #13
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Thanks for the replies. Sounds like most of us are on the same page, with the same concerns and needs. OMC gave me a valuable tip by letting me know that I can email the log data in a CSV format to myself, to be imported into Excel.
Can you send the data back the other way? ie if you enter data in Excel can you export it in CSV and then import it into the application?
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Old 09-20-2016, 02:49 PM   #14
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Excellent question. Hoping OMC sees this since he's far more familiar with Boating Suite than I am.
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Old 09-20-2016, 04:37 PM   #15
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Excellent question. Hoping OMC sees this since he's far more familiar with Boating Suite than I am.
Thanks Captain Larry. This is in response to the question:

"Boating Suite allows you to export your data either as comma separated value files (.csv), or as individual entries so you that you can view or print the data on a computer.

Exporting to a .csv file will allow you to open your data in a program such Excel. This will allow you to view, sort and print the data in ways that are not provided in our app.

Exporting an individual entry will populate the body of the email in a format that is similar to the view in Boating Suite. Exporting an individual entry allows you to share information with friends and family about a specific trip or you can print the entry to store a hard copy in a paper log book.

Please note that exported data cannot be re-imported into the app. We provide exporting as a way to view and manipulate readable versions of your data. Although you can’t re-import the exported data into the app, we do encourage you to export your data on a regular basis and retain a recent copy as a failsafe in case something catastrophic were to happen. In this case you would still have your data in a readable format."
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Old 09-20-2016, 04:53 PM   #16
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Boating Suite is very easy , very fast and convenient in data entry and consultation process with iPhone / iPad (2 iPads aboard in my case).
IMO and using I see no point in to entry datas on Excel then to transferring them into Boating Suite.
This is my way aboard, I understand every one of us has his own way in writing logbook.
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Old 09-20-2016, 05:50 PM   #17
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Using an iPad may make sense as it is easier to type into than a smart phone and I have found that I almost always have my iPad on board and just added a GPS puck.
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Old 09-20-2016, 06:11 PM   #18
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added a GPS puck.
Do you mean a GPS dongle ? Or chart app ?
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Old 09-20-2016, 06:24 PM   #19
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Do you mean a GPS dongle ? Or chart app ?
Dongle.
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Old 09-20-2016, 06:25 PM   #20
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Bad Elf GPS with SIRF III + chipset ?
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