With all due respect, watermakers are generally not hard to install, not particularly difficult to maintain, and, in many places you might cruise
, are cheaper to operate than to buy water
.....and let's forget about the delights of hauling jerry jugs, and cleaning
. A couple of decades ago, I used to give occasional lectures to cruisers about watermakers, and I would draw a parallel between their maintenance
and the maintenance
a friend of mine gave her car....believe it or not, after driving it about 50,000 miles, and being down three quarts of oil
(I checked), she professed ignorance of the fact that a car even had oil
, much less needed it to be changed! She did know that you had to put in gas.....!
My point is that watermakers really DO need routine maintenance, but it's not that hard, if you read the manual. So does your car, or everything else on a boat. Occasionally, a watermaker
will leak internally, but there are usually symptoms and it's not that frequent for it to matter. "Microbes" (if that means viruses and bacteria) are too large to pass through the membrane, so are not a problem. Yes, our legal
system causes many companies to refuse to certify various technologies to do what they are designed to do - read the disclaimer that your GPS
is not to be used for navigation
- but product water from a watermaker
is some of the purest, best tasting water you will ever drink, which is why the best bottled water uses the exact same process. Put your product water back through the watermaker, and it's good enough to put in batteries. The biggest reason your water might not be pure or taste good, is, as previously noted, your tanks
, which must be kept clean, not hard to do.
With regard to size, either too big or too small is a hassle. Buy small enough to give it a workout - the membrane would actually last longest if in continuous use - but big enough to fill your tanks in the time between dirty marinas
. If you run your watermaker in dirty harbors, the main consequence is much more frequent changing of pre-filters, which is a hassle, and in very rare cases, you can damage a membrane.
I have had a Power Survivor 35 and 40, and Spectra 300 and 400 gpd units, on various boats. I currently have a Spectra 400 gpd unit in my 45 foot catamaran
, which I run in the crewed charter trade
in the BVI and it saves me time, money
, and hassle. Almost all of us here have them, and it's not because we want to make our lives more difficult or expensive! Although I understand the arguments in favor of a 110 (or 220) volt system, I prefer to have many ways to generate the power. In my case, the DC current
originates from the alternators on either engine
, from the generator
, or from solar panels
, so I am not out of action when the generator
has a blip, which would make life really difficult. My tanks carry 265 gallons - remember that it's a charter
boat for six liveaboard
guests, so we use lots of water - but I generally sail with them about 100 gallons down, for better sailing performance. I actually trim the boat with my water tanks. However, before going into a harbor, I run the watermaker sufficiently to fill the unused storage
. You could always do the same with jerry jugs.
I think you will really be happy you got a watermaker, should you do so. If you have the types of problems described, look in the mirror. And I would be surprised if the watermaker was the only thing malfunctioning on your boat!
For full transparency, I have had watermakers on boats for 24 years, and also operated a land based system that made 40,000 - 50,000 gpd and provided all the water for the marina I ran...we weren't even connected to the city water system. On that scale, and with fuel
prices ten to fifteen years ago, we made money
at 2 cents a gallon...probably not possible these days! Anyway, my comments apply to that unit, too. And no, I don't work for a watermaker company, never have, and don't sell them. Just a very convinced user who has spent quite a bit of time around them. Best of luck.