Cruisers Forum

Join CruisersForum Today

  This discussion is proudly sponsored by:
Please support our sponsors and let them know you heard about their products on Cruisers Forums. Advertise Here
Thread Tools Search this Thread Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 22-02-2010, 07:52   #1
Registered User

Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 17
Watermakers - Safe To Drink?

Good morning all,
We have been considering installing a watermaker on our boat as we plan to cruise the Caribbean next winter. I have been told that watermakers are "useless" in Florida and the Caribbean because of the high amount of bacteria in the water. Watermakers remove salt but not the bacteria? I would appreciate feedback on this issue. On the surface, it seems that either this is not true or, if it is, cruisers must use additional methods to make the water potable. Appreciate your feedback on this issue.

thomaswaier is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22-02-2010, 07:55   #2
Registered User
doug86's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Between Block Island and Bahamas
Boat: Marine Trader 40' Sedan Trawler, 1978. WATER TORTURE
Posts: 715
... making popcorn and waiting for the replies...

"When one is willing to go without, then one is free to go." - doug86
doug86 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22-02-2010, 08:00   #3
Marine Service Provider
edsailing's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Devon, UK
Boat: Sailing vessels up to 200 tons
Posts: 360
Images: 1
Yes, the water is potable. Filters will remove everything larger than a water molecule - bacteria won't get through
Regards, Ed

Delivering boats for a living - no more!
edsailing is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22-02-2010, 08:08   #4
Registered User
anjou's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Malvernshire, on the sunny side of the hill.
Boat: 50' steel canal and river cruiser
Posts: 1,905
Salt is smaller than bacteria so nothing gets through, besides, if your still worried, pass it through a UV filter.
anjou is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22-02-2010, 08:09   #5
Registered User
Sailmonkey's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Houston
Boat: '76 Allied Seawind II, 32'
Posts: 7,496
You just have to be careful using them in a bacteria or virus infected area. The membranes will breed life like nothing else. I also have a recolection of viruses being able to, in some circumstances, make it through the membrane, but I have no idea where I got this from or if it even applies to RO, I may be thinking of flash evaps.
Sailmonkey is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22-02-2010, 08:16   #6
Sponsoring Vendor
Tellie's Avatar

Community Sponsor

Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Hollywood, Fl.
Boat: FP Athena 38' Poerava
Posts: 3,385
There are thousands of watermakers all over Florida and the Carribean both marine and land based. Spend any time in either place and there's a better than good chance that you've been drinking plenty of RO water. I'm not aware of any epidemic of people falling ill from drinking RO water. What I have seen is people getting ill from drinking water from the storage tanks that RO water is placed in. Even in the best of maintained tanks a good filtering system after your ships tanks is always good idea.
Tellie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22-02-2010, 08:30   #7
Registered User

Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 2,959
Images: 4
I'll second Tellie's remarks above. I recall that RO water no matter how filthy the input will be pure in theory. But in practice it is difficult to keep all the components sterile. And there might be a tiny leak in some seal, a tank vent, or whatever. In a polluted environment it may be prudent to do some treatment.
daddle is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22-02-2010, 08:33   #8
Registered User
Kefaa's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Eastern PA
Boat: Island Packet 31 (35'), Black Squirrel
Posts: 239
While they are leaning in a specific direction, this addresses your specific question.
Reverse Osmosis Water Filters and Water Purification
Compare water filters, purifiers, and purification technologies incl. reverse osmosis

In almost all cases, RO will purify the water to a level consistent with the best drinking water. However, certain virus and bacteria can make the transition under specific circumstances.

Anjou makes and excellent point in that if you feel you are entering a highly contaminated area (lots of human or animal waste, bogs or swamps), get one with a UV option. Keeping in mind that every option has a price and its more than $$$. If you get UV ensure the unit will operate even if the UV is off (like blown).

As for SailMonkey's point - follow the maintenance specs. Think food processing equipment, not fan motor. These need to be cleaned and cared for correctly and I can easily see poor care as responsible for more issues.

Kefaa is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22-02-2010, 09:30   #9
Registered User
lorenzo b's Avatar

Join Date: May 2009
Location: Panama
Boat: Steel trawler 63' Eileen Farrell
Posts: 961
I drink rainwater collected off my deck that's stored in large tanks. Use just a touch of bleach if your worried, the slight odor dissipates in a day or so. Water borne diseases are rare in totally isolated systems.
lorenzo b is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22-02-2010, 14:16   #10
Registered User

Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: between the devil and the deep blue sea
Boat: a sailing boat
Posts: 18,290
Watermakers are not meant to be use in port nor inshore. Offshore, they will provide high quality drinking water.

Make sure all elements, esp. filters and membranes are top quality and up to specs - I have witnessed a situation where a land based desalination plant (in Canary Islands, Spain) was providing local community with non-drinkable water because someone used non-spec membranes of a type that permitted some of the bad stuff thru ...

barnakiel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22-02-2010, 18:24   #11
NoTies's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Vanuatu
Boat: Whiting 29' extended "Nightcap"
Posts: 1,569
Images: 2
Sea water membranes generally reject 99.5% of the salt whereas theoretically they should reject 100%. The reason for this is nobody has been able to manufacture the perfect membrane yet. Minute flaws are what allows the 0.5% through. A perfect membrane will not allow bacteria or viruses through but there is a VERY small likelihood that manufacturing flaws could allow passage. Typical bacterial analysis of seawater intake in coastal communities where I service desalination plants is <100 ppm. According to my calculations this, combined with the 99.5% rejection rate means a 0.0005% chance on one bacteria getting through to drinking supply. Well inside WHO standards.
NoTies is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 29-03-2010, 18:16   #12
Registered User

Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Isle of man
Boat: bavaria 32
Posts: 7
Send a message via AIM to frank higgins
exactly the point

Originally Posted by anjou View Post
Salt is smaller than bacteria so nothing gets through, besides, if your still worried, pass it through a UV filter.
use the still evaporation works fine.

frank higgins is offline   Reply With Quote

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
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
Can I Really Drink This? futureoptions Plumbing Systems and Fixtures 4 21-12-2009 13:25
Watermakers Talbot Plumbing Systems and Fixtures 32 26-02-2008 06:26
Watermakers capt smudge Plumbing Systems and Fixtures 0 21-02-2008 12:01
watermakers quartersplash Plumbing Systems and Fixtures 8 28-11-2007 23:47
Drink Sonosailor Provisioning: Food & Drink 4 23-06-2004 04:53

Advertise Here

Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 10:30.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.