Newsletter #270

Newsletter #270 - June 10, 2015

Keeping Track of Everything - 4

>>> Keeping Track of Everything - 4 >>>

This is the final part of the Keeping Track of Everything series. The other 3 sections can be found at:

We've also provided blank template database downloads for the 6 main databases written about in the series - see the end of the segment for download/installation instructions.

The last 3 databases we use for our own boat are:

Maintenance - reminders of all items that need to be done based on elapsed time (like every year) or based on engine hours.

Parts - a list of every part and product we use.

Spares - a list of spare items, where they're stored, and how many are left.

The Maintenance database is something that gets examined at the first of every month. It's just a procedure that we follow. We look ahead at all the different maintenance items that need to be completed in that next month and plan to complete them. Once a maintenance item is done, the time or engine hours is updated and an entry is put into the Captain's Log database to document what was done for historical reasons. The Maintenance and Captain's Log database work together in that way. Integrated yacht management systems would typically do this logging automatically. We've found it perfectly acceptable to edit 2 log entries in this manual way.

Our maintenance database has these fields:

Item - the name of the maintenance task. This would be something like, "Engine oil change," or "Grease windlass."

Next Date - the next due date for the task when the task is dependent on an elapsed time.

Date Inc - the increment of time once the task is completed. So if the windlass gets greased every 6 months, this field would be 6 months for that task.

Next Hours - the next engine hours setting for the task when the task depends on engine or generator hours.

Hours Inc - the increment of hours once the task is completed. So if the generator oil gets changed every 100 hours, this field would be 100 hours.

Notes - any notes, instructions, or special things to remember when performing the task.

The Parts database is where all model numbers, serial numbers, dealers, manufacturers, phone numbers, and special instructions are kept. So when we forget how to pair the remote for our autopilot, we know the 3 steps are listed under the autopilot part.

The parts database has these fields:

Part - the part name like, "Hot water heater," or "Autopilot."

Type - a popup list that categorizes the part. Our list is Dinghy, Electrical, Electronics, Engines & Accy, Mechanical, Plumbing/Heating/ Air, and Other.

Location - where the part is located.

S/N - the serial number for the part that is installed.

Notes - any notes, instructions, or special things to remember about this particular part. It's a good place to put phone numbers of suppliers or the names of people who can help with the part.

And finally, the spares database. This is where we store records for filters, oil, impellers, along with other items that get consumed and the location of hard-to-find items. The fields are:

Item - the spare item like, "Racor engine filter," or "Antifreeze gallons."

Count - the number of spare items remaining.

Notes - any notes, instructions, or special things to remember about this particular spare. This often lists the location of the spare items to make finding them easier.

The only other database that we mentioned before was the Engine Room Log. We use to record temperature and gauge readings on every engine room check. After 7 years of doing that, we stopped recording the values because we knew what each value should be. We probably could have stopped after 2 years. It's probably a good idea to keep a recorded engine room log until you are very familiar with all the running operations of your engine room.

These databases are what we use. As time has gone on, they've gotten simpler and simpler. We use to have more fields but the fewer the number of fields, the easier it is to use. The advantage of using a general database is that you can change the tables as you need.

We've packaged up the templates for every one of the databases we wrote about and provided them to HanDBase. They were very interested in making them available to everyone for free. If you would like the templates, here are the download instructions for iOS and Android.

1. Open HanDBase to the database selection screen.
2. Tap the + button.
3. Choose the Download Template option.
4. When the screen refreshes, enter "ActiveCaptain" in the search bar.
5. After a moment, select the first database from the list, opening it in HanDBase.
6. Repeat for the other five databases in the archive.

1. Download:
This will load HanDBase's online gallery and initiate the download of a zip archive of the files.
2. Save the zip archive to the Android device.
3. Open the zip archive using a file manager.
4. Copy the six files from the archive to the HanDBase folder at the root level of the Android's internal storage.

In addition, another developer was inspired by this series to create a database app from FileMaker called eNavGo Logbook. You can find out more information and make contact with him here:

Keeping track of everything onboard is all about safety. We hope this series will help you to find the tracking methods that work best for you and your boat. With so many systems, parts, and maintenance items onboard, we can all use a little extra organization.

>>> Defender 1st >>>

Watch this spot every week in the emailed newsletter for the Defender 1st special promotion. To sign up for the newsletter, create a new ActiveCaptain account at:

...or log into the ActiveCaptain website and select My Account at the top right of the page and make sure the Newsletter checkbox is checked.

Remember - Defender 1st: one product, one week, one incredible price.

When you're thinking about purchasing boating supplies, think of Defender first.

It has been a week of changes for Dylan and Dee Dee. They are back in their home state, land of their birth, Maine, where they will be spending some time as landlubbers. Dylan celebrated his 8th birthday and they both enjoyed an overnight stay in another La Quinta, home of the Bright Side waffles. But the biggest change has been cool temps and rain. We're all holding out for a dinghy ride to the islands for a swim. You can always say hello to the crew on their blog:

Karen and Jeffrey Siegel
Castine, Maine
sharing the experience
Social Navigation for Active Captains

Newsletter Archive
We are currently merging the different ActiveCaptain websites into a single website.

Because of this, all later newsletters are being only put onto the ActiveCaptain Help Center found here:
ActiveCaptain Help Center : Newsletters

Older newsletters will be duplicated here until these pages are removed.

2016-03-02 #308 - Unexpected Benefits
2016-02-24 #307 - UK's MCA
2016-02-17 #306 - Chartplotter Support Questions
2016-02-10 #305 - One Giant Leap
2016-02-03 #304 - Bahamas Internet
2016-01-27 #303 - Community Anchoring
2016-01-20 #302 - Sharing Your Identity
2016-01-13 #301 - ActiveCaptain is...
2016-01-06 #300 - MMXVI
2015-12-30 #299 - The Power of Sharing
2015-12-23 #298 - Joyful times
2015-12-16 #297 - Thoughts of Cuba
2015-12-09 #296 - The Power of Love
2015-12-02 #295 - Windyty
2015-11-25 #294 - Mary Had a Little Lamb
2015-11-18 #293 - DeLorme inReach
2015-11-11 #292 - Celebrating Furuno
2015-11-04 #291 - Your ActiveCaptain Identity
2015-10-28 #290 - iPad/Android Tablet Owners
2015-10-21 #289 - The Top 5 Things...
2015-10-14 #288 - Skype
2015-10-07 #287 - Locations 1.2
2015-09-30 #286 - Cell Phone Frequency Issues
2015-09-23 #285 - Cell Phone Unlocking
2015-09-16 #284 - Mr SIM Card
2015-09-09 #283 - Route Storage & Sharing Continued
2015-09-02 #282 - Route Storage & Sharing
2015-08-26 #281 - Here's What You Told Us
2015-08-19 #280 - Bahamas 2016
2015-08-12 #279 - What is Services Missing?
2015-08-05 #278 - Aqua Map for Android
2015-07-29 #277 - Obtaining Critical Mass
2015-07-22 #276 - Our Backup Anchor
2015-07-15 #275 - Which Anchor is Best
2015-07-08 #274 - Pocket Mariner's SeaNav
2015-07-01 #273 - Services Galore
2015-06-24 #272 - Canvas and Upholstery Services
2015-06-17 #271 - Locations, Locations, Locations
2015-06-10 #270 - Keeping Track of Everything - 4

Archive Complete list of all newsletters
ActiveCaptain articles Read the award winning nineteen part series on mobile phones on boats.

Learn how to train your canine crew to use the "poop deck" and a unique way to get them into the dinghy.

Find out what's in our ditch bag and see what unusual products we have found invaluable on our cruises.