BG Verkehr / Dienststelle Schiffssicherheit
Brandstwiete 1
20457 Hamburg

Oya Sönmez
Phone: +49 40 361 37-239
Fax: +49 40 361 37-204
Mobile: +49 171 88 53 239

Bundesamt für Seeschifffahrt und Hydrographie
Sachgebiet S 33
Bernhard-Nocht-Straße 78
20359 Hamburg

Jochen Ritterbusch
Phone: +49 40 3190 - 7330

Record books

Record books

Every sea-going ship has to carry a record book to enter the most important daily events and processes chronologically. The range of entries is large and spans from navigation and ship safety to marine environment or seafarers' complaints. For the German Flag, the BG Verkehr publishes a list of matters that have to be entered into the record book of a sea-going ship.

Types of record books

According to German law, there are different types of record books on sea-going ships:

  • Ship's logbooks (with bridge maintenance logbook as ancillary book)
  • Engine logbooks (with sounding book and bell book as ancillary books)
  • MARPOL record books regarding environmental protection (with oil, cargo and garbage record book)
  • Medical record books (e.g. patients' register)

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electronic record books

Entries into the record books

Entries into the record books – aka logbooks – are evidence that play a significant role in case of an accident or infringements against provisions regarding marine environment protection. That is why, it is not permitted to either make former entries in the record book unrecognizable or take out pages.

The master of a sea-going vessel is responsible for the entries into the record books. He can delegate maintaining the record book to ship's officers or other members of crew.

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Electronic record books

For the German Flag, the BG Verkehr (Ship Safety Division) approves record books as hardcopy and as electronic version. The Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency (BSH) or a recognized organization (RO) undertakes the technical assessment of the electronic record books.

The technical provisions for electronic record books are:

Details regarding requirements and approval of electronic record books for sea-going ships flying the German Flag are available in an information by the BG Verkehr.

Manufacturers can apply for the approval of electronic record books for the German Flag at and shipping companies can apply for the ship-specific approval of MARPOL record books acc. to MEPC.312(74) at

Elektronisches Tagebuch © MARSIG

List of electronic record books approved for the German Flag

The following electronic record books have been approved by BG Verkehr/Ship Safety Division for sea-going ships flying the German Flag:

Manufacturer's name Product name Scope of approval Approval date
Anschütz GmbH, Kiel Anschütz eLog
  • Ship's logbook
  • Engine logbook
  • MARPOL record book (MARPOL Annexes I, II, V, VI)
MARSIG, Rostock Searecs
  • Ship's logbook
  • Engine logbook
  • MARPOL record book (MARPOL-Annexes I, II, V, VI, NOX Technical Code)
  • Ballast water record book
MariApps Marine Solutions Pte Ltd Singapore PAL eRBooks
  • MARPOL record book (MARPOL Annexes I, II, V, VI)
  • Ballast water record book
NAPA Ltd. NAPA Logbook
  • MARPOL record book (MARPOL-Annexes I, II, V, VI, NOX Technical Code)

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Retention periods

How long a record book has to be stored and data saved depends on the type of record book and the entries:

  • Record books: three years, except in case of entries regarding maritime labour law five years
  • MARPOL record books: three years
  • Garbage and ballast water record books: two years

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Record books in recreational shipping

Skippers in recreational shipping should also keep record books. According to SOLAS Chapter V Regulation 28 ships in foreign trades – and this includes recreational craft – carry records about safe ship operations on board. German law stipulates record book keeping requirements, which also apply to recreational craft, in several instruments among others these are:

Section B of Annex 1 of the German Ship Safety Ordinance ("Schiffssicherheitsverordnung") gives details regarding format of the books, types of entries as well as retention times. For recreational craft with less than 15 m in length, facilitations have been made, for example that preprint record books are not mandatory. The "Merblatt über die Verpflichtungen der Sportschifffahrt im Hinblick auf Seetagebücher" (information on the obligations of recreational shipping regarding record books) contains further information about record books for recreational craft.

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