Deck Log Books. Do you know what’s required?

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When we’re doing either onboard training or vessel safety audits and look at the vessels deck log the information recorded….

often it does not meet the requirements of Marine Order 504 (MO504).

 

There are specific requirements relating to the information that must be recorded in your log book. In the event of an incident, failure to fill in your log book has the potential to cause serious issues for you or your crew!

In addition to the requirements of MO 504 there’s other information that we highly recommend you record.

Looking at deck or vessel log books for commercial fishing vessels, it’s common to see the start/finish times or position of shots and little more.

In charter vessels we regularly see start and finish times and in some cases refuelling again with little more.

It’s critical for your protection to ensure you or your Master keeps the log up to date at all times. A failure to do so leaves you exposed in the event of an incident or legal claim by a crew member or passenger!

MO504 specifies that the following details MUST be recorded in your log book:

  1. Any illness or injury of persons onboard. This means crew members, passengers or any other person onboard. Injury means injuries that are serious enough to need more than just a band aid. Any injury that requires first aid or has the potential to cause infection or may need further medical attention in the future must be recorded.
  2. Any marine incident, other incident or accident involving the vessel or its equipment.
  3. Any assistance rendered to another vessel.
  4. Any unusual occurrence or incident. This means anything that has the potential to impact on the safety of a person or persons onboard or the safe operation of the vessel.
  5. All communications and/or messages sent or received for an emergency. This is critical in the event of an investigation.
  6. All passenger counts conducted for the vessel. This only applies to vessels carrying passengers
  7. Any operation of the vessel for recreational purposes

Quite often Masters tell me that ”I’m busy running the vessel and don’t have time to record all of this.”

My answer is always “do you have weeks or months available to defend yourself in court if the vessel, crew member or a passenger is involved in an incident?”

When an incident or accident occurs AMSA will undertake an investigation and apart from the incident report they will look at your SMS and log book.

So, the two questions asked are:

  1. Does your SMS comply with MO504 and is the relevant procedure or procedures appropriate?; and
  2. Is the incident detailed in the vessels log book?

If your SMS does not meet the requirements then you may have a serious problem and a failure to record the incident or accident exposes you even further.

No matter what type of vessel you operate, I hope you can now see the value in keeping your vessels log book up to date with all the relevant information.

As a commercial mariner, I know it can sometimes be difficult to keep your log book up to date, but you should always ensure you enter the relevant details as soon as reasonably practicable after the event. This way the event is clear in your mind, and you don’t have to think back to what actually happened.

A key point many Masters forget and I’ve been guilty of it myself, is to ensure you sign the log book page at the end of every day. Doesn’t sound like much but it can potentially leave you exposed yet again so make sure you sign every day’s log page.


Shorlink’s Recommendation

We strongly recommend recording the following information:

  • Date and time of departure and arrival
  • Navigational track and/or position at relevant times
  • Summary of weather conditions, especially any sudden changes in weather
  • All inductions and training.

By including this information, you are so much better protected in the event of an incident or accident.


Tip

Our best tip to ensure you meet AMSA’s requirements and give yourself the best protection possible is to check the previous days log book entries to ensure all requirements are recorded appropriately and that you have signed the page.

Ensure to check out the Deck Log Book that we here, at Shorlink, produce to ensure you are meeting your requirements.  Our Log Books are available online with free postage. Click Here!