Simple DIY Boat Logbook Guide


While it is possible to purchase a boat logbook, the majority of sailors prefer to create their own DIY log book. This is because the boat logbooks available in the market generally do not suit the sailors’ needs.

If you are new to sailing, you may not know how to create a simple DIY log book. By showing you the steps you need to follow when creating your own boat logbook, we hope to help you avoid spending money on a logbook that may not solve all your issues.

Why Do I Need a Boat Log Book?

If this is the first time you are wearing a sailing jacket, you may not know why a logbook is necessary. Originally, logbooks were used for navigation. Nowadays, they have a wide range of uses. After wearing their sailing hats, sailors record the following data at regular intervals:

  • Current speed and heading.
  • Ship’s position.
  • Bearing toward the destination.
  • The current weather conditions, including wave heights and barometric pressure.
  • Notes about the sailboat, including the needed maintenance and repairs.
  • Notes about the crew and other human factors.
  • The direction of the wind and the strength.
  • Descriptions of the visited places, people you meet, and even other sailboats you come across while navigating the waters.

Nowadays, with the availability of marine GPS chart plotters and numerous mobile applications, recording the sailboat position for navigation purposes is no longer necessary. What sailor’s record is generally dependent on personal preference?

The logbook information, however, can be useful. For example, when revisiting a harbor you had visited previously, you can check your recorded information to determine the best place to anchor your sailboat. If your GPS fails, which could happen when you least expect it, the logbook can help you with the navigation. On top of helping with boating safety, a DIY logbook can be a fun way to record all the experiences you have once you wear your sailing gloves.

The Steps You Need to Follow When Creating Your DIY Log Book


1. Design Your Pages

As you have probably guessed, the first step will involve designing the pages you will have on your boat logbook. If you are just getting started with sailing, you may not know what to include in the logbook. In such a scenario, studying standard logbooks should give you an idea.

If you plan on embarking on a long journey after rigging your sailboat, you may want to include a space to keep track of the drinking water available in the tanks, engine hours, the state of the marine batteries, fuel, etc.

If you sail trips are generally short, you may only need to include spaces for recording position, estimated speed, course (be sure to include whether it is true or magnetic), weather conditions, time, date, the names of the crew and guests, and barometric reading.

To design your DIY logbook pages, you will not need complicated software. The word processor on your computer should offer you ideal results.

2. Choose Your Paper

You should invest in heavy paper that does not tear easily. Ideally, look for a paper featuring water resistance. If you can get the waterproof paper, this can help you create a great boat logbook.

While you may assume that you will take all the necessary precautions to ensure that the logbook does not come into contact with water, you never know when you will be sailing in a storm. Storms are capable of sending water right into your sailboat.

3. Create Some Test-Prints

When designing your boat logbook, you could end up making mistakes. To avoid messing with your whole logbook, you must test print several papers. Once you are happy with the results you obtain, you can go ahead and print the whole DIY log book.

While it is possible to have your log photocopied on your selected waterproof paper, you will get much better results by printing the log yourself using a laser printer. Again, be sure to test to make sure that the toner will not get smeared on the page when it gets damp (this will happen once you put on your sailing shorts and pants).

4. Create a Binding

When selecting a spiral binding for your boat logbook, you need to remember that it will spend the majority of its life on waters. Therefore, you should select a non-rusting binding material. When compared to metal, plastic works much better.

You can choose approximately 100 pages per logbook. This is approximately half an inch. It is possible to do spiral binding up to 1 inch in the majority of office supply stores. When you head to the stores, you should have the opportunity to select your binding material from the numerous materials available.

When binding the DIY logbook, do not forget to include a title page. The title page should feature your contact data, the time period covered by the log, and basic boat data. Some of the basic boat data you may decide to include on the title page includes the registration numbers and documentation.

Are Electronic Boat Log Books Available?

It is possible to get an electronic boat logbook. These have several benefits over the DIY log book. The benefits include helping you control who sees your information, easy information sharing, automatic data backups, and more accuracy.

This, however, does not mean that you should not have a DIY logbook on your sailboat simply because you have an electronic logbook. Electronics could break or run out of battery. If this happens, you can always turn to the DIY log book.

Globo Surf Overview

Using a boat logbook has a wide range of benefits. For example, on any return trip, your logbook can make things much easier for you.

Purchasing a logbook does not always work for everyone. If you figure out that a purchased logbook may not offer what you are looking for, you can follow the steps outlined above to create your own DIY log book.

More Sail Reviews:


  1. Log Book for Recreational Navigators,
Globo Surf
My name is David Hamburg. I am an avid water sports fan who enjoys paddle boarding, surfing, scuba diving, and kite surfing. Anything with a board or chance I can get in the water I love! I am such a big fan I decided to start this website to review all my favorite products and some others. Hope you enjoy!