Most divers who’ve moved to digital logbooks have done so courtesy of software included with dive-computer purchases, the majority of which let you include additional data and customize how you print or export the pages.
The downside: These programs are manufacturer specific. If you switch brands or models — or own two instruments — these may not be the best choice.
Right now, two products dominate the digital dive-log market. Both allow users to upload photos, track equipment service needs, store images of certification cards and record global whereabouts thanks to GPS data. Another key feature is searchability — you can quickly access many details, such as which parking lot best accommodates that little-known shore dive you did last year.
For social media addicts, the choice is easy. Android, iPhone and iPad users can try the Dive Log app ($11.99 US), which instantly shares updates on Facebook and Twitter. It’s a fast, simple way to log personal recollections and allows buddies to e-sign.
You can also rate dives, manage the weight of your gear for travel, and keep track of your interactions with various dive shops.
If you want to merge info from your app with data from your dive computer, you’ll need additional software.
If you have a PC, Diving Log 5.0 ($45.68 US) — described as scuba logbook software — can be customized to suit recreational or technical profiles, and can log repeat information such as dive buddy or location, and sync all data with your smartphone. It’s also easy to analyze dive data, such as pinpointing best and worst air-consumption rates.
Mac users will need a program such as Macdive 2 ($25 US) to capture data from dive computers; otherwise, it must be entered manually.
“If it gets too complicated, most divers won’t log anything,” says Dubai-based instructor Gavin Hibberd-Smith. With Dive Log, he says, “as soon as I switch on my iPad or iPhone, it automatically syncs so I can easily carry a digital version of my dive log everywhere.”