Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 01-12-2007, 03:24   #1
Registered User

Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: New Orleans
Boat: Nomoboat -- yay Gustav ;)
Posts: 248
Send a message via AIM to drew.ward
Shore Water vs Watermakers

I have a question for you guys...

A lot of places that I plan to live/cruise do not have potable drinking water. My main locale is going to be Mexico and although you can wash dishes and such with the water there, you can't drink it, cook with it, or brush your teeth with it.

I'm planning on a larger boat with lots of water capacity (charter business). If this were the US the logical choice would be to hook up the water hose and fill all the tanks on shore with nice cheap water. But as this will be Mexico (and various other places) that water has limited uses.

So, I'm curious as to whether those of you who do travel outside of EPA land actually use shore water from the marina or rely solely on your water maker.

Once you get up to larger water makers I am assuming the cost gets considerably more. Of course to use shore water for everything I would need to buy some sort of filtration / treatment system to cure it of any problems before use -- also expensive.

So in a situation like this, what would be the best route:

1. A water maker and single storage tank capable of handling all my needs.

2. A filtering system that could accept shore water, treat it inline and store it in a tank which could be augmented by a smaller watermaker.

3. Having two systems, one smaller one with a watermaker and holding tank that is only for drinking / cooking water. And a separate system that uses shore water to handle heads, showers, hand washing, and boat cleaning.

I'm thinking the 3rd choice might be the cheapest and best longterm because I really will only need potable water in the kitchen and this would limit plumbing.

This problem with shore water quality (aside from healthwise) to me is also relative to other places. For instance here in Europe water quality is total crap. It's safe to drink, but has so much calcium and other minerals in it that using it on a boat regularly would mean replacing all your fittings and piping every year or two. That sounds extreme, but if anyone's ever lived here they know a coffee maker or electric kettle has a lifespan of about a year max due to corrosion and buildup.
__________________

__________________
drew.ward is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-12-2007, 04:10   #2
Senior Cruiser
 
Lancerbye's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Ladysmith,BC, Vancouver Island , Canada
Boat: Lancer 44 Motorsailer
Posts: 1,757
Images: 32
I spend my cruising time in the West Coast of Canada. The shore water is normally quite good , however I still prefer the quality of water produced by my water maker. Depending on how it is setup after the initial cost of the watermaker I have not found the maintenance to be very much. Proper planning and installation with quality equipment will save you money on the long run. I can produce 400GPD with an ac system. A couple of hours running time a day replenishes our supply while away from the marina areas. We use a fresh water head, washer dryer unit, and are not frugal with the water.
__________________

__________________
The basis of accomplishment is in never quitting
Mengzi Meng-tse
Lancerbye is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-12-2007, 04:48   #3
CF Adviser
Moderator Emeritus
 
Hud3's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Virginia
Boat: Island Packet 380, now sold
Posts: 8,929
Images: 49
Drew,

My wife and I cruise the eastern Caribbean, but we don't live aboard fulltime. We decided not to install a watermaker, because of the expense, maintenance requirements, and the need to "pickle" it when it wouldn't be in more or less continuous use.

We have only one water tank--170 gallons. We have been able to get water on the various islands with no problems, although we weren't always comfortable with the idea of drinking it. I got tired of buying and lugging one gallon water jugs, so I installed a SeaGull IV filter at the sink in the galley.

The SeaGull uses a multi-stage micro filter that removes bacteria, cysts, organics, etc. It's been tested and certified by the EPA. It has it's own little dedicated faucet. We use it for drinking water, and the water directly out of the tank for everything else. I do filter the water going into the tank, but it's one of the those RV carbon filters that only takes out particulates, chlorine and organics.

The SeaGull isn't cheap--more than $400 for the unit and about $60 for replacement filters--but it is preferable to a water maker, in our situation. The filters last at least a year for our usage pattern.

The website is Water Purifiers and Micro Water Filters: Seagull IV, Nature Pure, First Need - General Ecology Inc.
__________________
Hud
Hud3 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-12-2007, 05:26   #4
Registered User
 
waterworldly's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: New York City/Bimini
Boat: 52' Irwin Ketch
Posts: 441
Well, geee, Drew,Ward, what do you think those millions of people in Mexico do for water. I have traveled extensively in Mexico, central America and South America drinking lots of water along the way with absolutely no ill effects. Your antiquated view may be valid in small villages inland, but in the heavily used tourist areas where your charter business will be, the water available will be fine, and given our current EPA efficiencies, I would be more careful with the water you drink here in the US, where the bottle water industry is the most profitable in the world.
__________________
waterworldly is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-12-2007, 05:33   #5
Moderator Emeritus
 
Pblais's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Hayes, VA
Boat: Gozzard 36
Posts: 8,700
Images: 15
Send a message via Skype™ to Pblais
Filtration is a good solution for fresh water you can acquire from shore. Adding a set of two stage home filters before you put water in the tank isn't a bad addition. Keeping crap out of the tank helps a lot in addition to filtering at the faucet.

Once you get to a point where you can't go long enough with shore water then you might as well stay with watermakers. For a charter business you'll have to expect your guests will waste a lot of water. I would start out with more capacity to make it and perhaps a little less to store it. With a watermaker you start out with assumption that a bigger tank probably isn't required since you have to make water regularly to keep the membrane happy. If you have to fill a big tank once every 6 days that isn't going to work as well as filling a smaller one very other day. You can then set up an every day or every other day schedule to make water. You need to budget the electricity to run it however.

As far as number of tanks that will depend on the boat deign. Some boats have several tanks while others a larger single tank. They need to be designed so they don't slosh a large volume of water around the boat.

For a charter boat having large tanks may be prudent with a watermaker more like Lancerbye. With seasoned cruisers you could use far less storage like maybe as little as 60 gallons with a smaller watermaker. Being successful in the charter business carries a lot of extra expenses.
__________________
Paul Blais
s/v Bright Eyes Gozzard 36
37 15.7 N 76 28.9 W
Pblais is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-12-2007, 10:45   #6
Senior Cruiser
 
Randyonr3's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Nov 2007
Boat: Beneteau FIRST 42
Posts: 1,836
I'm kinda Biased as I work for Spectra Watermakers but I'll give you my 2 cents worth anyway.
The reasoning behind me adding a watermaker in the first place was that I destroyed both tanks due to water shore water I put into the tanks, (without a filter)
The water had mineral sediment in it and settled in the bottom of the tanks, hoses and the pumps... It was only Iron but after a few months, the sediment turned to slime and the tanlks (POLY) tanks had to be replaced due to the nasty smell coming them. Nothing goes into my tanks now that is NOT filtered..
So Watermakers, I installed a Ventura 150 from spectra as it seemed to fill the needs of the wife and I. We backed it up with an MPC3000 controler(now an MPC 5000). Except for changing out the Pre-filters when they become congested, the mantaince is nothing.
The main grip was that the units had to be Pickled with messy storage chemicals when you left the boat for awhile... The resoning to pickle was to keep the unit from Bio-fouling and scaling, but now with the system has an Auto-Store button on it where every 5 days it gives itself a flush leaving your unit clean and fresh.
The main reason I went to Spectra for the watermaker was the AMP DRAW the unit has. Spectra has created a unit that delivers 1 gallon of water for about 1.5 amps..... They have done this by using a "clark" pump that intensifies the presure of the water on the surface of the Membrane. The 150 delivers 6 gph at a draw of 9 amps...... ans when using solar and wind to keep the batteries topped of, thats free water......
The startup cost is a pretty penny as the Venture 150 is currently priced at around $5000.00.. The next step up is the Catalina 300 for $7000.00..
The start up cost was a lot but if you ask my wife about the clean showers and the clean cooking, and drinking water, She'll tell you, it was worth every penny.
My job is to keep the thing running, and just yesterday, it kicked over its 5 day cycle, so I guess my work is done...I'm going fishing
__________________
Randyonr3 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-12-2007, 11:19   #7
Registered User

Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 497
Images: 1
Better tell the health folks this

Quote:
Originally Posted by waterworldly View Post
Your antiquated view may be valid in small villages inland, but in the heavily used tourist areas where your charter business will be, the water available will be fine, and given our current EPA efficiencies, I would be more careful with the water you drink here in the US, where the bottle water industry is the most profitable in the world.
You should spread this word around to the Health units and travel agencies of North America, apparently they all share this "antiquated view" because they tell us not to drink the water anywhere in Mexico and the Caribbean, bottled only. I think maybe I'll stick to taking their advice on this one. The locals drink the water because they're accustomed to it, we unfortunately have no such resistance to whatever little buggars are hiding in there waiting to give us the revenge.
__________________
jdoe71 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-12-2007, 11:57   #8
Senior Cruiser
 
senormechanico's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Aug 2003
Boat: Dragonfly 1000 trimaran
Posts: 5,825
Quote:
Originally Posted by waterworldly View Post
Well, geee, Drew,Ward, what do you think those millions of people in Mexico do for water. I have traveled extensively in Mexico, central America and South America drinking lots of water along the way with absolutely no ill effects. Your antiquated view may be valid in small villages inland, but in the heavily used tourist areas where your charter business will be, the water available will be fine, and given our current EPA efficiencies, I would be more careful with the water you drink here in the US, where the bottle water industry is the most profitable in the world.
My experiences from the mid '90's were the same. To make things easier we had a watermaker, but occasionally we'd fill up in a marina.

While we were there, the vast majority of water sources were ok. The only stuff we got from the water was a little bit of sand/mud. To stop it, we used a ceramic filter on the fill hose. They're easily available in Mexico.

Steve B.
__________________
senormechanico is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-12-2007, 13:45   #9
Registered User

Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: New Orleans
Boat: Nomoboat -- yay Gustav ;)
Posts: 248
Send a message via AIM to drew.ward
Quote:
Originally Posted by waterworldly View Post
Well, geee, Drew,Ward, what do you think those millions of people in Mexico do for water. I have traveled extensively in Mexico, central America and South America drinking lots of water along the way with absolutely no ill effects. Your antiquated view may be valid in small villages inland, but in the heavily used tourist areas where your charter business will be, the water available will be fine.
Trust me, before living in Mexico I also dismissed the "don't drink the water" warnings. I even drank and made coffee with it for a couple of months with no major problems. Then one day I got a gum infection from brushing my teeth with water from the tap. It ended up being a major ear and sinus infection by the time it was through.

I actually lived in a modern city, in a nice neighborhood, with good infrastructure. So I too thought the water was fine. To my surprise the doc that treated me (a Mexican) scolded the crap out of me for using tap water. As he pointed out, "why do you think all the mexicans buy bottled water?"

Being politically correct is one thing...being healthy is sometimes an entirely different thing
__________________
drew.ward is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-12-2007, 14:53   #10
Moderator Emeritus
 
David M's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: San Francisco Bay
Boat: research vessel
Posts: 10,150
Because it is such a pain in the arse to haul water around is a good enough reason to get a watermaker. Besides, don't virtually unlimited showers on a daily basis sound nice? I think the expense and the minor hassles still makes it worth it. It also makes you more independent.
__________________
David

Life begins where land ends.
David M is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-12-2007, 18:25   #11
Registered User

Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: - San Diego and Fort Collins, CO
Boat: 38' Homebuilt Cutter - "Atticus"
Posts: 136
Quote:
Originally Posted by Randyonr3 View Post
I'm kinda Biased as I work for Spectra Watermakers but I'll give you my 2 cents worth anyway.
The reasoning behind me adding a watermaker in the first place was that I destroyed both tanks due to water shore water I put into the tanks, (without a filter)
The water had mineral sediment in it and settled in the bottom of the tanks, hoses and the pumps... It was only Iron but after a few months, the sediment turned to slime and the tanlks (POLY) tanks had to be replaced due to the nasty smell coming them. Nothing goes into my tanks now that is NOT filtered..
So Watermakers, I installed a Ventura 150 from spectra as it seemed to fill the needs of the wife and I. We backed it up with an MPC3000 controler(now an MPC 5000). Except for changing out the Pre-filters when they become congested, the mantaince is nothing.
The main grip was that the units had to be Pickled with messy storage chemicals when you left the boat for awhile... The resoning to pickle was to keep the unit from Bio-fouling and scaling, but now with the system has an Auto-Store button on it where every 5 days it gives itself a flush leaving your unit clean and fresh.
The main reason I went to Spectra for the watermaker was the AMP DRAW the unit has. Spectra has created a unit that delivers 1 gallon of water for about 1.5 amps..... They have done this by using a "clark" pump that intensifies the presure of the water on the surface of the Membrane. The 150 delivers 6 gph at a draw of 9 amps...... ans when using solar and wind to keep the batteries topped of, thats free water......
The startup cost is a pretty penny as the Venture 150 is currently priced at around $5000.00.. The next step up is the Catalina 300 for $7000.00..
The start up cost was a lot but if you ask my wife about the clean showers and the clean cooking, and drinking water, She'll tell you, it was worth every penny.
My job is to keep the thing running, and just yesterday, it kicked over its 5 day cycle, so I guess my work is done...I'm going fishing
I had thought about staying away from a watermaker because of the need to pickle as well...we paln to use our boat 3 weeks on, 3 weeks off, etc. It sounds like the auto-store button would be an excellent feature. I will have to look into them. Thanks for the info.
__________________
Colorado Dreamer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-12-2007, 19:07   #12
Registered User

Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 217
[quote=Randyonr3;115092]I'm kinda Biased as I work for Spectra Watermakers but I'll give you my 2 cents worth anyway.

Randy,
I've been told that the expensive pickling solution sold by the watermaker manufacturers is in fact the same stuff you can buy cheaply for cleaning the equipment used in making your own beer at the places that handle such things. Don't want to get you fired, but could you comment?

seer
__________________
Seeratlas is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-12-2007, 19:36   #13
Moderator Emeritus
 
Ex-Calif's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: May 2007
Location: Singapore
Boat: Maxi 77 - Relax Lah!
Posts: 11,514
Images: 4
Being informed is the key and having a plan is better than not. I have made it a habit to get used to the water wherever I live. In almost all cases a good filtration system is all you need. However, look around when you go ashore. If the local store has cases of bottled water stacked up to the ceiling the locals are probably drinking bottled. If there are water delivery trucks driving around they are probably drinking bottled.

The water in the Philippines (manila area) is generally safe but everyone I know uses delivered water.

However in many countries local bottled water is simply filtered and maybe treated tap water. However it would be safe to drink.

My personal view is that "designer water" is a total rip off. Bottle and transport it to you and charge more than diesel or gasoline. Of course we always have a case on board - LOL
__________________
Relax Lah! is For Sale <--- Click
Click--> Custom CF Google Search or CF Rules
You're gonna need a bigger boat... - Martin Brody
Ex-Calif is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-12-2007, 19:45   #14
Senior Cruiser
 
Therapy's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: W Florida
Boat: The Jon boat still, plus a 2007 SeaCat.
Posts: 6,894
Images: 4
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ex-Calif View Post

However in many countries local bottled water is simply filtered and maybe treated tap water. However it would be safe to drink.
Almost all bottled water is hype.
A lot of it really is tap water.
And in the US it has to meet standards, which means it has to have X amout of chlorine etc etc in it.
But it is certainly safe.
__________________
Therapy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-12-2007, 20:03   #15
Registered User

Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Vancouver, Can.
Boat: Woods 40' catamaran
Posts: 277
We cruised in Mexico for 1.5 years in 95/6. Never had a watermaker. We just asked ashore "is the water potable" before filling up. Mexicans are quick to tell you when it isn't. We didn't fill up there. We had a ceramic filter for cloudy water but only used it once. On a small boat with 55 gallons of water we had to fill up quite frequently. If you're really nervous about potable water, you'll freak out that we always ate street tacos :0 Only got 1 bug each in that time in Mexico.


Spectra uses a different chemical for pickling due to the plastic Clark pump - but you can get it directly from King Lee technologies for about 1/2 the price that Spectra charges. But they only sell big lots like 10 lbs so get together with a friend. I got King Lee's name from Spectra's MSDS sheets.
__________________

__________________
Evan is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Feedback on Watermakers claire Plumbing Systems and Fixtures 54 23-07-2010 20:18
Watermakers Talbot Plumbing Systems and Fixtures 32 26-02-2008 06:26
watermakers quartersplash Plumbing Systems and Fixtures 8 28-11-2007 23:47
WATERMAKERS SURVEY Keegan Plumbing Systems and Fixtures 30 17-08-2007 15:25
watermakers and generators JOSELU Plumbing Systems and Fixtures 0 15-03-2004 04:06



Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 05:15.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.