Group: Forum Members
Log Books: s/v Alchemy Nov. 2021
On another Forum content stream, I mentioned, among other responses, writing up an interaction/incident in the Ship’s Log (SL). I am pretty disciplined in this regard, writing every day Alchemy is commissioned (by that I mean pretty much every day she is in the water and ready to go). I have a vague sense that this is required, and a stronger sense that it is required when in international travel. I also have sense that it is a legal document.
Casual observation indicates that many cruisers do not keep a daily log.
All that said, I do not have a clue as to the reality of any of the above, especially as it pertains to pleasure/recreational boaters. For recreational skippers: is there any legal obligation to keep a log? In home waters? In international waters? Is there any required content? If so, what? And how many of us keep a log and what is the content?
For my part, my head-set towards my SL is that it is a legal document: one I might turn to it for validation if the need arises.* The content is part passage notes: departure and arrival places, times etc., nm traveled by: sail, motor, combination; weather, etc. safety tests **and part journal: wildlife observations, scenery comments, etc. And I tend to write up anything unusual in detail.
My best, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy
*For example, I returned to Alchemy to find damage to the bow. It was reported to me the name of the boat that hit her and that the skipper and boat had left the harbour after the incident with a scrape on her side. I documented the damage and the names of those observing the accident, their boat names and the names of the other vessels in the mooring field near at hand and the mooring the offending vessel had vacated and weather conditions. The damage to Alchemy was not worth the hassle of pursuing in the foreign country where I was a guest and did not speak the language. (I also did not wish to deal with a skipper who would walk away from clear damage he had caused.) One interest in writing up and documenting in my SL was to protect me in the future if the other boat decided that they would contend that I was the cause of their scrape. (As an unsettling and unfortunate note: in the close to 70 countries visited, it is my observation that if something is stolen or damaged, etc., look first to one’s fellow cruisers as responsible and not to locals.)
** Every season I find another boat to test range of VHF and AIS transmissions to ensure proper functioning of equipment and I log these efforts with details. We also log drills such as MOB and flooding and fire drills.