The electronic logbook enters the stage

- Worry-free books with high data quality and improved handling -

While other industrial sectors convert their data gathering from paper to digital solutions, 90% of all seagoing ships still use paper logbooks for navigation and maneuver operations. This is why a team of engineers entered the Shark Tank–style stage at RAN-Dock to pitch their idea of the “electronic logbook” for ships.

RAN-Dock is a local hub for maritime innovations, founded by Raytheon Anschütz, a business of Raytheon Technologies. In annual innovation circles, employees in the audience can vote for their favorite ideas. The best ideas receive funding from the R&D budget and enter the development process.

The first-ever RAN-Dock champion, the electronic logbook is now close to market launch. The innovation features automatic data entries from the navigation systems, supported data inputs via laptops or mobile devices and a data interface to a cloud, making the electronic logbook a significant step toward paperless shipping and offering significantly improved efficiency of onboard processes.

“The electronic logbook helps customers overcome the typical issues of paper logbooks, such as improperly filled or incomplete logbooks or the difficulties of reusing data for other applications or transferring data ashore,” Jesper Renz, product manager at Raytheon Anschütz, said. “We are now launching our innovation under the name ‘eLog,’ leveraging new benefits for our customers.”

The main advantage is that the eLog makes logbook data available on land via the cloud — automatically and in real time with an internet connection. The eLog also eliminates the cost and effort of paper logbook logistics while guaranteeing high data quality and transparency. This becomes possible through the automatic input of navigational sensor data (such as data from the automatic identification system, or AIS) and is implemented using automatic plausibility checks of logbook data and secure, tamperproof digital archiving of data.

“Customers aboard any ship can easily take advantage of the eLog,” Renz said. “We’ve put a focus on low initial cost for setup and installation. It just needs a small computer gateway connected to any maker’s AIS, voltage and the network. This can even be done by the crew onboard.”

The eLog software is a web browser application, allowing data access from anywhere in the world through a generic, modern web interface. Other features of the eLog include:

  • Linked records to visualize dependent logbook entries (e.g., pilots, tugs)
  • Comprehensive, intuitive search and filter functions
  • Exporting and printing of logbook data
  • Creation of noon reports and customized reports

The eLog has completed type approval under the ISO standard 21745:2019 “electronic record books for.” It now enters five months of onboard testing with several pioneer customers.

In the beginning, the eLog supports the electronic deck logbook, the electronic bell book and the noon report, with future extensions of the scope already in planning. The market launch is expected for summer 2021.