Screen shot of MacDive in action

MacDive – a digital dive logbook for Mac OS X

It was frustrating to discover, when I bought my Suunto D6 in 2011, that a Mac-compatible version of the native Suunto software did not exist. This has changed in the intervening years, but I don’t care – my search for software that I could download my dives into led me to MacDive, and I’ve been using it ever since. Rather than tying me to a single brand of dive computer, MacDive handles almost any dive computer you can think of. The software currently costs $25, which is approximately one million South African Rands at current exchange rates, but it is excellent value and updates frequently as support for new devices is added.

Screen shot of MacDive in action
Screen shot of MacDive in action

Here’s a screen shot of MacDive, with the ten dives we did in Malta in 2011 selected. The dive profile on the screen is from one of the two incredible dives we had on the wreck of the Um El FaroudThe summary information at the bottom of the screen hides a lot more detail that can be stored about each dive, including gear configuration, dive operator, the name of the boat (if used) and Divemaster, and so on.

MacDive also calculates summary statistics for the dive sites that you load, and allows you to interrogate your dives by country, by date, by the computer used, and even by diver. The software would allow you to share the logbook with another user (or users), and if you look carefully you’ll see Tony’s name on the screen. That’s because I downloaded the profile of his dive at Doodles on that fateful day when my Suunto D6 fell through the bottom of the ocean. When I did that, I specified that he was the diver, and not me.

Dive site summaries in MacDive
Dive site summaries in MacDive

MacDive is full-featured software that not only allows you to record a lot of detail about each dive, but to add photos if you wish. The software matches the timestamp on the photo to the dive profile, enabling one to have fairly detailed information about depth and temperature when an image was taken (assuming your dive computer and camera have SYNCHRONISED WATCHES). I have exported the data out as a .csv file, which is excellent if you want to perform some analysis of trends in your air consumption, for example, or draw pretty graphs.

MacDive is compatible with a wide range of dive computers – I’ve used it with a Suunto D6, a Suunto ZOOP, and two different Mares Nemo Wide computers – which makes it ideal for a multi-computer family where the backup dive computer may be of a different make to the primary one. A full list of the supported devices can be found here and if your device is not supported, the developers of the software are open to adding it if you submit a request. In most cases the installation of a USB driver is required to make the dive computer talk to the software, but this is a once-off requirement and hardly onerous.

The forums and FAQ have been very helpful when I have had difficulty setting up different makes of dive computer, and the entire user manual is online in wiki format. With reference to the manual I have renumbered my dives to maintain the correct sequence, and merged multiple dives that were interrupted by an interval in water shallower than 1.2 metres that was long enough that my computer decided the dive was over. The database format is very flexible and allows one to keep the sequence of dives looking as neat as they would in a paper logbook.

I have been using MacDive for four and a half years, and have been very happy with it, particularly the fact that it isn’t tied to any single type of dive computer. If you’re looking for an electronic logbook and running the Apple OS, check it out.

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Lapsed mathematician, creator of order, formulator of hypotheses. Lover of the ocean, being outdoors, the bush, reading, photography, travelling (especially in Africa) and road trips.

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