Maintaining a proper ship’s log can be challenging. It seems like something you remember to do well after you’ve left the dock and are heading home after a day of boating. However, the need to accurately record fuel consumption and purchasing, maintenance and other important events in a timely manner necessitates some sort of documentation model.
For two years now I’ve been using a combination of a traditional notebook ship’s log and some iPhone apps, such as The Boating Suite. Both have had their advantages, and both have presented challenges.
I’ve decided for our third boating season to begin using Evernote. The app’s simplistic model accents its elegance and utility. With Evernote I can create written and captured (photographic, audio, video) notes and assign them to a specific notebook. I can also tag each post with keywords that can later be used to rapidly locate specific entries.
So far I’ve been adding entries by snapping pictures from my iPhone of my Vessel View display (see below) and fuel receipts so I can record fuel consumption and costs. I’ve also been adding text notes documenting our guests and weather conditions. If there comes a time when I need to share maintenance records with a future buyer or service shop it will be easy to reveal them using Evernote’s search features.
Evernote is free, widely available for desktop and mobile platforms and is fun to use. They’ve also teamed up with physical notebook vendor Moleskine to create smart notebooks which facilitate scanning hand-written notes that can be automatically captured, stored and searched within Evernote.
Also, the best thing about storing all your boat’s vital information in Evernote is that it’s with you all the time – and saved in the “cloud.” That could one day be important in the event of an accident or significant loss of equipment.