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Old 29-08-2007, 14:39   #1
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Water Collection System

I want to add a water collections system on deck and I'm looking for suggestions, reading material, diagrams, etc. I'm just starting to look so, any help will be greatly appreciated.


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Old 29-08-2007, 17:26   #2
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The pardeys have a few interesting ideas in their book ____ . (The blank is because I'm not remembering which one!)

A canvas trough under the boom was one, and a hose from the low spot of the bimini was another.

Heard of folks using deck drains with a Y-valve... but my cockpit scuppers have got pre-historic jungle funk growing inside.

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Old 29-08-2007, 18:27   #3
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Rain water collection isn't a bad idea but don't be fooled into thinking rain water is some perfect solution. You need to treat rain water else suffer the peril. It has the nasty habit of washing out from the air the things we don't like to believe. Air pollution is a global problem. There is no pure air any place on the planet.
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Old 30-08-2007, 04:14   #4
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Paul is correct. We've addressed his problem by running the water catchment hose to jerry jugs rather than the main tank, and then we filter the water before it goes into the tank. I realize that we don't catch as much water this way, but we also have a watermaker. The jug water is more an emergency store.
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Old 30-08-2007, 07:59   #5
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Even thoough we used a WM we did rain catchment. We always caught in seperate holding tanks and pump it through a carbon filter.
Captain Bil formerly of sv Makai -- KI4TMM
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Old 30-08-2007, 08:41   #6
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Our Brewer has two deck drains outboard of the center cockpit. The drains do not go directly overboard, instead they are routed below deck and exit via seacocks below the waterline (a terrible design, but that is a seperate discussion). I am considering installing a Y valve and sediment filter in one of the drain hoses. This would allow us to control the flow into the tanks from below deck.

It is just my wife and I aboard and over the next few years will cruise the Bahamas and then across to Honduras. I want to collect water primarily for showers. We have two - 80 gallon water tanks. For drinking water we carry another 100 gallons of bottled water.

Thanks for the suggestions.

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Old 30-08-2007, 13:17   #7
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consider collecting rain water for washing purposes only
Rain collected in mid ocean left me ill and may have been from air pollution or deck debris
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Old 30-08-2007, 14:04   #8
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After growing up on a farm and drinking rainwater for the better part of 30yrs we never had more then the mesh in the top of the tank for a filter. And never got sick from the water. i doubt the water coming through the air is the problem but more what you use as a catchment system.
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Old 31-08-2007, 05:26   #9
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I mostly agree and do suspect contamination in the collection system. However, even though great strides have been made to reduce air pollution worldwide studies reveal a continued increase in nitrogen oxides and ammonia as well as some far reaching airborne pathogens. I would also offer that rain water may be more pure than water obtain from a municipal source in some areas where we cruise. Regardless, those two days at sea were miserable and potentially dangerous and to make matters worst, I did no need the extra water!
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Old 08-06-2008, 14:10   #10
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I planned on putting a deck fill on each side deck on my boat for collecting water. I installed the first one on the starboard side, and ran the hose to a garden hose type "Y" valve, before going into the tank. I keep it shut for the first 5 minutes or so of heavy rain, then open the side that doesn't go to the tank and taste the water for any signs of salt. if ok, I open the other leg of the y valve and fill the tank.
I never installed the other side fill, as It fills the 45 gallon or so tank, faster than you would believe. I also use the y valve with a hose to fill extra jugs. I think it filled a 5 gal. jug in a few minutes. And thats with using a 3/4" hose.
I pump all my water thru a filter before using.
Oh, and when getting water at a marina or town spiget, don't forget to use a filter. The one I use has a clear housing, so I can see if it is real bad water.
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Old 08-06-2008, 17:32   #11
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When we had our boat built the builder encouraged us to put in rain water collection from day one and we are glad we did. Having the benefit of a builder with much cruising boat sailing and design experience this is what we came up with.

On each side of the outer edge of the deck in the lowest point of the waterways beside the toe rail there is a deck drain that drops down inside the hull and through a seacock to the sea (discharges underwater to avoid staining the topsides if drained above). All water that falls on any part of the boat apart from the cockpit ends up there due to the falls on the deck and along the waterways.

The outer edge of the deck drain hole is in from the toerail an inch or so with a little fall from that to the inner edge of the toe rail - this serves to catch silt. The drain hole is also flush with the deck, so no lip around it. We have a punched toerail - the punched holes in it are just high enough so that the deck drain floods rather than the caught water going through the holes in the toerail.

A little under the deck inside the boat is a Tee fitted so the straight through has a ball valve immediately below it then hose to the seacock and the horizontal run has a ball valve on it and then goes to a water tank. These are also our tank fills - to fill a tank, either from a hose or when catching rain off the deck, one closes the valve under the Tee and opens the one off the horizontal run of the Tee to the tank (so there is no filler cap on deck - to fill the tanks from a hose one just pokes the hose into the deck drain). We have two fresh water tanks - the port drain goes to one tank and the starboard one to the other.

So under normal circumstances anything that goes down the deck drain goes to the sea, that including any malicious attempt by a weirdo to contaminate our water tanks as the tank fills are isolated by valves inside the boat (that is if they ever get to realise that the open deck drains serve as the tank fills). Having the run to the tanks horizontal off the Tee minimises the chance of collecting debris on the potable side of the Tee (whereas a Y would collect debris).

We carry 500 litres of water and in a down pour a tank will fill in tens of minutes (we are 40 foot) rather than in hours. Even in light rain it is surprising how much gets collected. We just give a few minutes first for the deck to wash clean of salt, etc.

We have never had a problem with contamination but obviously one doesn't do it if sea spray is also hitting the deck. We do not do any treating or filtering of the water and very couple of years I open the tanks up for inspection but I have never found any silt or other material in them.

As some others have said there is nothing wrong with rainwater - many of us were bought up on it or still rely on it. Any important contamination will be from what one collects it on or allows to fall into it after collection. Think I would trust it more than bottled water myself.
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Old 08-06-2008, 17:51   #12
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What a great system!
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Old 09-06-2008, 13:15   #13
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Our whole deck area is a rain catchment. After about 15 to 20 minutes of a good downpour, we use wet towels to dam the area around our water intakes and catch the water running up or down the deck (depending on if we are a little stern down or bow down).

We use pool shock sparingly to purify the water but heck, God gave us these immune systems for a reason didn't he?

Actually we don't drink our tank water. We drink and cook with the clean, great tasting water from our small water maker.

She took my address and my name
Put my credit to shame
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Old 09-06-2008, 13:46   #14
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Just a note of encouragement to raincatchers.

We collect rainwater from our roof here on Nevis. It goes into a 15,000 gallon cistern. We used the water for everything, including drinking, with no ill effects, for the first six months we lived here. Then I installed a Seagull IV filter, just for drinking water. It was mostly for our guests from the States, who wondered how safe "roof water" would be. We have many friends here who've been drinking roof-collected rainwater for decades with no problems.

I've also collected rainwater from the deck on our Island Packet, while cruising. I'd let the rain wash off the salt and whatever for a while, and then create a dam behind the deck-fill opening with a small towel to force the flow into the tank.

My personal best is 50 gallons during an overnight downpour in Coral Bay, St. John, USVI.
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Old 05-12-2012, 16:43   #15
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Re: Water Collection System

I am really amazed at the amount of posts here against drinking rainwater - how do you think a large percentage of developing (and many developed) countries survive? We're talking about nature, people! I'm guessing you also think chicken grows in nature wrapped in styrofoam and injected with antibiotics?!

But thank you to those who commented on their experience collecting and drinking rainwater... I got to this thread because I'm looking to build a makeshift system on our boat, since we can't seem to find a product that fits what we're looking for.

Does anyone here have experience building a system with removable tarps on a sailboat that can filter into a container or tank? If there are pictures or instructions out there that could help, I would love that. So far we've only come across large-scale collection systems online that are designed for collecting rainwater from houses, for example.

Thanks so much!

turf to surf | one couple, two cats and a monohull on the move

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