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Old 07-06-2021, 07:45 AM   #1
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Ship's Log & Maintenance Log books

I would greatly appreciate hearing what others are using these days for both Ship's Logs and Maintenance Logs. While these are separate items, they are very much interrelated I am certain that someone on the forum has adopted or thought up a medium or system that would suit me as well.

If my boat came with either, I would have just continued tracking both the boat's operation and maintenance in the same fashion but I am pretty much starting from a blank slate aside from a briefcase full of repair bills and receipts and a questionable hour meter.

Maintenance Log thoughts:
I have been operating under the assumption that all items requiring routine maintenance were due for service and I'm working through this backlog as well as using my survey to prioritize projects. So far I have been tracking my maintenance, repairs and upgrades on a hodgepodge of Google Sheets, google calendar, stored my records (insurance, survey) digitally and hard copy on the vessel. I'd like to commit to something a little more streamline and straightforward. I plan to continue performing the majority of repairs and maintenance myself I would like to standardize how I document them.

Ships Log thoughts:
I honestly don't see myself recording every engine and generator start, heading changes, every trip to the pump out, but I would like to track the days I leave the marina, my engine temps (highest daily), my oil pressure (at cruise and hot idle) for future reference. I will probably put fewer than 100 hours on the boat this season but am really just wanting to establish a sustainable practice.
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Old 07-06-2021, 07:57 AM   #2
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What kind of data person are you?

Do you prefer things like spreadsheets, word documents, pen and paper, apps?
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Old 07-06-2021, 08:09 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by toocoys View Post
What kind of data person are you?

Do you prefer things like spreadsheets, word documents, pen and paper, apps?
Both really, paper and pens in the present and spreadsheets and searchable digital documents in the future. Trying to find the right blend. I like being able to access digital data no matter where I am but when I go into a store I like being able to check things off a paper list versus using my phone.
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Old 07-06-2021, 08:10 AM   #4
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Following re/ logs

We will be started from scratch on the ships log with our new to us boat. We have asked on forums before if anyone has logs they made, but were just referred to basic commercially available logbooks . . . . or internet based logs.

We're not interested in keeping our log in the cloud. And most of the logs I've found available for sale aren't what we are after. We've started working on our own version, using Excel as the base, we can print out blanks as needed and keep them in a binder as we use them, or we can input them on a computer, and print them out when complete. That way it would be searchable, as well as paper copy. We have considered a log that has boat log on top, and back of sheet is maintenance log. That way when we open the binder, the boat log is on the right, and on the left is the back page of the last days boat log which has maintenance on it. Fill in the boat log on the right, and maintenance items on the left. Turn page to next days trip. This will result in many "left pages" having little or no entries, but that's okay too.
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Old 07-06-2021, 08:13 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by slowgoesit View Post
We will be started from scratch on the ships log with our new to us boat. We have asked on forums before if anyone has logs they made, but were just referred to basic commercially available logbooks . . . or internet based logs.


Same.


I've tried the apps, I've tried a multi-tab/multi-page excel spreadsheets, and I've tried pen and paper. Nothing has stuck for me.

I don't have much to log in the way of trips away from the dock, but I've got multiple folders filled with receipts and paperwork from previous repairs, parts, and services.
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Old 07-06-2021, 09:35 AM   #6
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If you are interested in tracking you trips / destinations, time on water etc. Check out BlueBoatLog.com
It does some things very well, free, avail as app or accessible via computer.
You would need to add data you want to capture in each days log. You can add notes,it's etc as well.

I used it extensively in 2019 and the resulting trip logs are available on Bacchus website... Cruising notes... 2019 Cruise. I separated outbound from home bound as we backtracked a lot of the way and it got confusing.
The feature I liked and primary reason I chose this free app is the ability to string many days together into a cruise leg and give others (selected) the link to view our progress. The nice part is the link updates daily as you add info w/o need to resend links.
NEBO is another all that many loopers use that has different +/-. Look them ever & experiment to see what suits your fancy.
I use spreadsheets for part info, maint info, etc and a do keep a daily written log for key info I may want for future reference and cruise planning.
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Old 07-06-2021, 09:42 AM   #7
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Thank you Don
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Old 07-06-2021, 09:47 AM   #8
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Being old and ďclassicallyĒ trained as a navigator, I have always kept a paper log aboard - and still do. I have all boat maintenance items in Excel, including engines, electrics, plumbing, tanks, etc - with countdowns for days and/or hours to when the maintenance needed (with thanks to Rgano for the Lehman itemized list). As the time approaches on various items I put them on a magnetized whiteboard that attaches to the fridge.
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Old 07-06-2021, 10:21 AM   #9
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GDavid,
For a maintenance log, I just used a notebook (could be bound or ring binder) and divided it into sections. For example: Engine, Generator, Sanitation, Windlass, Bow Thruster, etc. etc. to suit the equipment you have on board. I made columns on each page for date, engine hours (if appropriate), Work done, performed by (who), and cost.
All maintenance and repair activity was then logged in the appropriate section in chronological order as it was done. Recently I just started using a maintenance tracking spreadsheet from James Hamilton (of MV Dirona) who allows "others" to edit and use his work. https://mvdirona.com/2015/03/maintenance-log/
For a ship's log I created one using Word. I have sections for Ship's specs or details, the daily or trip log pages, fuel log, a section to record "new friends", a section on "Border crossing" including a "Custom's Log", and I included copies of vessel insurance, and any active US Border "Cruising Permit". I used a 3 ring binder and just printed out the pages when needed.

If interested in receiving my "templates" for your use (and editing), send me a PM with your email address.
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Old 07-06-2021, 10:27 AM   #10
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We have used a program called Yacht Manager which we have found useful. It is a PC database program I keep on my laptop. We back up the data both to another local drive, as well as my Google drive. It provides ships, maintenance and other logs. It covers all our needs comprehensively. I prefer the old-fashioned form style on a computer to the phone apps, which I find lack detail.

http://www.mvosonegro.com/Software.html

When on a longer passage we use a paper log for ease of recording at sea, and transcribe it to the PC program post passage.
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Old 07-06-2021, 11:10 AM   #11
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There are countless ways to do this, but hearing how others do it can give you ideas and more quickly get you to something that works for you.

My log is two part.

Part one is a traditional paper log book bought in a store. But I only log the basics. Departure time, destination, arrival time, and customs in/out reference numbers. Itís really just to show where the boat and been, and when. Greater detail is in our recorded tracks on Coastal Explorer.

Part two is a word document in bullet list form, and is a chronological log of everything Iíve done to the boat. Itís not a travel log, but a maintenance and repair log. Very detailed. The last one was over 100 pages for a 4 year old boat. I donít attempt to organize it other than by date. The search function is your friend for finding things otherwise. One thing I do separately is keep a table summarizing periodic maintenance. That way I can see at a glance whatís been done and whatís coming due

I also ran a Maretron data logger, and from time to time that was useful for investigating issues. But itís a nightmare of a product to use, so I only ever looked at the data when there was a specific problem.

Itís not a log, but I also keep a spread sheet of maintenance and spare parts, quantity on board, and where itís stored.

So itís all a bit of a hodgepodge, but thatís whatís evolved over the years, and works well enough that I have no motivation to do more.
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Old 07-06-2021, 11:28 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twistedtree View Post
hearing how others do it can give you ideas and more quickly get you to something that works for you.
That is exactly my thought, no need to reinvent the wheel, and I'm not above poaching someone else's good ideas. Thank you for chiming in.
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Old 07-06-2021, 11:40 AM   #13
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I have been using the ShipShape app. Easy to use and breaks everything in to categories to track expenses, fuel consumption etc. I like it because I can also upload pictures so have copies of receipts which I figure a future owner may benefit from. I use it exclusively for maintenance and also to keep an ongoing check list of items I want to address along some big some small.

I am sure there are a million similar programs.
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Old 07-06-2021, 11:49 AM   #14
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I'm an old school pencil & paper boat owner. I have 2 identical ,bound notebooks. 1 is the ships log with a daily record of our travels, sea conditions ,weather conditions & highlights of the trip (if we felt a particular anchorage or marina was good or bad, if grocery or hardware stores were close by, etc. Locations passed underway are recorded at different intervals depending on the length of the trip for the particular day. Fuel taken on is also recorded in this log.
The other maintenance log has all of the basic boat & engine maintenance like oil & filter changes, bottom paint, zinc replacements , plus any additional work, upgrades, replacements, etc that have been done (shaft packing, new equipment added, water pump replacement etc etc.).
It's just your basic reference that suits us fine for how we boat
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Old 07-06-2021, 11:56 AM   #15
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I use a paper log book made from an Excel speadsheet. The log pages are printed out on paper that is more like card stock and can put up with a year or more of abuse in a 3-ring binder. Daily log, maintenance, expenses and a couple of other sections (which are also color coded because my package of cardstock had various colors). Radio license, insurance documents, CG documentation and stuff are also copied onto cardstock, but originals are kept elsewhere.

I also used the Dirona maintenance log as a template, but changed quite a few things. Having used commercially available and made my own, I can tell you that you will never produce the perfect log book. One of the problems with a Dirona-style log is that the maintenace periods vary so much between items. Might be better to make a page for each item with its specific time period. Anal computer nerds could probably create a time table that rings your smart phone, waking you in the middle of the night to tell you to adjust the valves on the port engine. Whatever, as soon as you print it out there will be something missing, something you don't like, etc. Just leave plenty of comment space for that.

My expense log was interesting for awhile but then, as you would imagine, it can get hard to look at all the $$$$$. It is most useful from a maintenance perspective or a record of where to get the gadget again and spend more $$$$$.

My wife has gladly accepted the position of logbook scribe. I call out the details and she writes the numbers or checks the boxes. That helps as a preflight checklist. Then she fills in the daily details at the end of the day, which is interesting because it is her take on where we went and what we did that day. I sometimes write an addendum (usually mistakes I've made, moments of terror of which she was unaware, stuff that broke).

One of the best things for us about a daily log is we often take an old logbook on a road trip. Fun to have it read outloud when driving through the high desert. Also kind of fun to see that we spent 64 cents a gallon for diesel and that 75 gallons lasted a year.
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Old 07-06-2021, 12:42 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Lollygag1 View Post
I have been using the ShipShape app..
Is this the one you are referring to?
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Old 07-06-2021, 02:35 PM   #17
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Our trip log book is a commercial offering.

Then we keep maintenance, spares, the expenses we bother to track, more detailed trip logs sometimes, etc. in an Excel file with as many individual worksheets as necessary.

The "as many as necessary" has taken an interesting turn on our new-to-us fixxer-upper: one sheet is tracking light bulb replacements. So far, we've found 31 fixtures with burned-out incandescent bulbs, including 4 out of 5 "nav"/anchor lights, and we've replaced those with LEDs. And then we've also replaced a few of the still-working lights with LEDs too. So I've got a worksheet for all that.

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Old 07-06-2021, 04:23 PM   #18
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When I sold my GB, I turned over a 29-year old database in Excel for all maintenance and parts information including a Summary page where items due for completion were automatically highlighted whether they were calendar related or hour meter related.

I copied the format and heavily edited it to accommodated this single engine boat.

A lot of research of your own boat gear manuals is necessary to get it just right for you and your boat.

I no longer bother with a deck log on this boat, but when I did, I made a very simple page format for my handwritten log on the trawler. I still have these logs since they were handwritten and never set to electronic format. I had a column for date, time, port and stbd engine hours, and big blank section where I wrote whatever I felt like. On a voyage, one the first line of the day, I would note departure from where we were and intended destination. If weather was a significant issue, I would note it one another date/time line. Same for significant points passed or significant radio conversations. Around home, I simply noted every underway date/time. engine hours and what was happening like "maintenance run", and I noted date/time/hours on another line for return to slip.
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Old 07-06-2021, 08:41 PM   #19
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I do an Excel file for all the expenses, and then a relatively simple narrative list in Word for all the tasks and notes and reminders and maintenance items, each one numbered and dated, under two headings -- pending and done. When a task is done I simply move it from pending to done. 122 "done" items at the moment, 38 pending items. I could get more sophisticated for sure but when it starts to take me longer to maintain the logs than the tasks themselves, I figure my time balance is out of whack.

Some of them are recurring, like the zincs periodically, so it's handy to scan the done section, confirm the sizes and types, and check the date of the last replacement and add a new pending item.

Yeah, the Excel file is really shocking so I've deleted the annual and grand totals. Self-delusion I know, I can easily put them back, but choose not to.
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Old 07-06-2021, 09:16 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gdavid View Post
I would greatly appreciate hearing what others are using these days for both Ship's Logs and Maintenance Logs. While these are separate items, they are very much interrelated I am certain that someone on the forum has adopted or thought up a medium or system that would suit me as well.

If my boat came with either, I would have just continued tracking both the boat's operation and maintenance in the same fashion but I am pretty much starting from a blank slate aside from a briefcase full of repair bills and receipts and a questionable hour meter.

Maintenance Log thoughts:
I have been operating under the assumption that all items requiring routine maintenance were due for service and I'm working through this backlog as well as using my survey to prioritize projects. So far I have been tracking my maintenance, repairs and upgrades on a hodgepodge of Google Sheets, google calendar, stored my records (insurance, survey) digitally and hard copy on the vessel. I'd like to commit to something a little more streamline and straightforward. I plan to continue performing the majority of repairs and maintenance myself I would like to standardize how I document them.

Ships Log thoughts:
I honestly don't see myself recording every engine and generator start, heading changes, every trip to the pump out, but I would like to track the days I leave the marina, my engine temps (highest daily), my oil pressure (at cruise and hot idle) for future reference. I will probably put fewer than 100 hours on the boat this season but am really just wanting to establish a sustainable practice.
I keep a paper navigation log, tracking voyages, eng hours, RPM & speed, Temps and issues that occur during voyages.

I keep an electronic maintenance log, using a spreadsheet designed by the Capt of MV Dirona and available from their website for free. It tracks all scheduled maintenance items and provides reminders based on hours of operation or calendar days. It is XL based. Simple and effective. I recommend it: https://mvdirona.com/2018/11/updatin...intenance-log/
~Alan
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