taking notes

I’d like to have a way to make notations while in the cockpit, for navigation, etc. I’ve seen some boats with a white film “tablet” of sorts applied to the deck just forward of the cockpit coaming, but I’ve never seen those for sale anywhere. What do you use to write on them so it’s waterproof, but can be cleaned off at the end of the day? Grease pen?

Another thought I had was to add a patch of yellow gelcoat (the color of my trim) to my green deck, and use that as a tablet. In that case, what would I write with?

Any ideas are appreciated. Thanks, Nate

Two suggestions for you
Either buy a diver’s white board and write on it with an ordinary pencil or just get a sheet of white polyethylene plastic and write on it with a pencil.

In either case an ordinary eraser will remove the writing.

Another idea
I use these for making on-the-water notes:


I keep it and a golf pencil tethered to my on-deck map case. They’re available in different sizes, too.



grease pen and map case
I too was pondering where to get those white deck white boards, but then I decided that I could just put notes on the plastic map case I would also be using. A grease pencil (china marker) should do the trick and can be cleaned off later.

I use this

But if I capsize, I lose all my data.

Rite in the Rain
Yeah, I’ve got one of those notebook, and they’re incredible, how a pencil writes on them even under flowing water.

Ideally I’d rather not have something else on my deck though. I’ve lately cut down to nothing more than a spare paddle and chart.

The chartcase isn’t a bad idea, except that I don’t use one. I just keep my waterproof chart directly on deck.

What sort of White Polyethylene are you suggesting? And how do you stick it down?

West marine has.

– Last Updated: Apr-08-09 7:33 AM EST –

everything you need.
I also am quite sure that I have seen the water proof tablets and pencils in the Campmor catalog, and I have seen them in a lot of the paddling outfitters stores.

It is in the West marine catalog on page 102.
it's made by Ritchie, (the compass people) and it is called "Wet Notes"


Check your phone book
Anyplace that sells land surveying supplies will have the wright in the rain, or duskback, or another brand of waterproof paper. I have used this stuff literally underwater, with rain sheeting down the hood of a car. And as far as olding it in place, no problem there, get it wet and it will stick to any flat surface. All you need then is a pencil and you’re all set.

waterproof paper
I already have the waterproof paper, and I’d rather have something that’s attached to my deck, so I don’t have to worry about losing it. I do a fair bit of paddling in tidal races, so water rushing over the deck (or the deck facing the wrong direction occasionally) is not unusual. While I’m impressed with the waterproof paper, I don’t think it’s the solution I’m looking for here.

Two ideas
1) Get a chart case that is a bit bigger than you need for the chart (or fold the chart down smaller), which gives you an easily obtained surface that’ll also secure to you deck via 4 clips to stay on OK for the races. Then use a grease pencil (that you can keep in a PFD pocket) to write on it. Taping something to you deck may work if you use something like Tenacious tape, but it seems that you’d have the devil of a time getting it cleaned off if you wanted.

I know this adds stuff to the front deck, but whatever you use to write on is going to steal space by or under the ends of your spares anyway. So something that you can unclip and walk away with at the end of the paddle may be easiest.

2) Other Idea I can think of is to get a small diver’s tablet, with an attached pen, that can fit into you PFD pocket. Scuba shops will have them. Thing is, the smallest one I’ve seen is still going to take up a good bit of real estate inside a PFD pocket.

How’re things running at Sullivan Falls?

Thanks celia
Sullivan falls is running pretty hot. I’ve found myself driving over that way now and then to trudge through snow drifts just to check it out wistfully. Rains have pretty much gotten rid of the deep snow at put-ins, but with water temps still in the high 30s, we’re picking our paddle spots a little more conservatively. Tomorrow is a big spring tide, and I’m trying to get away for the morning to paddle one of the other races. Probably Bagaduce Falls or Blue Hill Falls, since my paddling partners live west of me, and Sullivan is a long drive for them. Last weekend we played a bit at Goose Falls east of Holbrook Island, which has a few fun waves right now with all the spring rain and thaw.


For the notes, I’d really like something that’s in front of me, rather than in my pocket, so I can refer to it without taking hands off the paddle. I think I remember whose boat had that white stick-on tablet (one of the SeaMonkeys paddlers who was in my Sullivan Falls course last fall during the symposium). I’ll see if I can track him down and find out where he got that.

Grease pencil
The simplest thing around. And, it can be had in white, that probably will show up on the green deck.

Removal is not horribly complicated - sunblock works in a pinch.

why didn’t i think of that?
You’re a #@%&ing genius! :slight_smile: A white grease pencil! An inspired thought!

It’s a good thing slow-learners like me have access to the internet. Otherwise I’d be forever lost.

By the way, other than sunblock, what do you use to clean grease-pencil off the boat at the end of the day? Alcohol? And will grease pencil write on a wet deck?

wet surfaces
Writes just fine on wet surfaces. Grease pencils are wax based, wipe off easily with, say, dry paper, cloth.

A few strips of duct tape
layered side by side make a notebook size “page” you can write on with a sharpie. Peel it off when you’re done. One more use for the miracle substance, duct tape.


– Last Updated: Apr-08-09 5:26 PM EST –

The deck tablet that you saw one of my fellow Sea Monkeys use came from Knoydart in the UK.


While the deck slate, as it's called, has been available online, when I checked today they were still out of stock.

thanks dcm
The name Galen popped into my head this afternoon. :slight_smile:

Does galen use a grease pencil on that deck slate, or something else?

I’ve Used a Grease Pencil on the Deck
I think I used WD 40 to clean up.

Grease pencil on deck
I’ve got diver’s slate, water proof paper, etc… Simply writing on the deck with a grease pencil works best for me.

I usually still have the remnants of the last jottings when I am preparing a boat for its next outing. When coastal paddling I often jot down the tides before launching and sometimes the bearings so I can retrace. I also find it useful for quickly jotting down something interesting such as unusual tidal current at a location at a certain part of the ebb or flood. I’ve also use a grease pencil to mark on a chart case.

My piece of ignorance was looking for grease pencils (which we always called them when building etc…) only to find they are more commonly called ‘china markers’

Deck Slates
They’re called Deck Slates and are available in England. I have a friend whose brought back a couple for me. You use a grease pen to write on them. Here’s the link: http://www.knoydart.co.uk/display_access.php?category=8&access=5&id=245