Water-Makers made by ‘HRO’ or Horizon Reverse Osmosis
are from a company that was recently acquired by Danfoss: A growing European company based in Denmark
. The Watermaker
branch of Danfoss is known as ‘Sea Recovery’, and is currently being run by a fellow named Henrik Wendelboe (firstname.lastname@example.org).
machines sold by this company may seem really great: advertising does that. Perhaps many have even had positive experiences with these machines … and with Sea Recovery
. Unfortunately this has not been our experience.
We have been living and cruising aboard our sailboat for the past 22 years. From time to time we stop wherever we happen to be and work for a bit to keep going. Some people on land may invest in real estate or the stock market. We invest and rely on good gear
. We have a lot of experience keeping our equipment
going and dealing with the myriad of marine
suppliers that this occasionally requires.
Our machine from HRO/Sea Recovery was purchased in San Diego
and commissioned in late 2007. Our Sea Recovery
dealer in San Diego
is no longer there unfortunately. Issues with our machine soon followed.
The High Pressure Pumps supplied by Sea Recovery with their Watermakers were not made to last more than 250 hours without degradation of the pump components causing performance drop-offs. 250 hours is just not that much time. When this started happening with our Watermaker’s high-pressure pump we did not at first realize what the trouble was. We had by this time sailed to New Zealand
. We went to the local Sea Recovery agent in New Zealand
and were told that the type of pumps supplied by Sea Recovery with our machine would not in fact hold up over the long term. The local New Zealand agent for Sea Recovery, Mike Harris of ‘Light-House Marine’, confirmed for us that it was a known issue. He promised to contact the head
office for Sea Recovery in California
and get back to us. We never heard from him again. We later contacted Sea Recovery in California directly and spoke to Mary Day: she is/was Sea Recovery’s technical support telephone contact. She too said she would look into this further and get back to us. We never heard from her either.
While we waited 2-3 months for someone from Sea Recovery to get back with us we investigated on our own what could be done about the failing pump supplied with our Sea Recovery Watermaker. We learned that this high pressure pump problem, with our type of machine, was in fact a known issue in the Watermaker industry. We even heard rumours that another Watermaker company supplied two of these inadequate pumps with their new systems because they knew there were issues and the customers would need them both.
Watermakers will not work without a good, durable, high-pressure pump.
After hearing nothing for almost 3 months, we again contacted Sea Recovery directly and worked our way up their ‘chain of command’ to Chris Rollins. At Sea Recovery, we were told, he is the brother of the guy that started the company and a person of some authority with the company. From Chris all we received were denials that anything at all was their responsibility. He wrote to us that his company was in business to make money
and while the pumps supplied were indeed not going to last very long, we could now purchase
a better pump: a very expensive pump. After another 18 months of diminishing performance from our $11,000 Watermaker investment, we were forced to purchase
this expensive ($2150.USD) pump from Sea Recovery. What else could we do? Hire a lawyer? Turn the machine into an anchor
The new pump arrived in New Zealand (where we are now for the winter) damaged because the Sea Recovery people shipped it full of hydraulic oil
that completely leaked out while in transit. The oil
leakage caused the disintegration of the packing material around the 23kg pump and it pounded itself against anything and everything it came in contact with all the way here. There were no handling labels on the package exterior at all.
We sent photos of the damaged parcel and its contents to Mary Day at Sea Recovery. She claimed the damaged pump looked just fine from the photos and denied any responsibility. She told us we would have to take it up with FedEx. FedEx claims that without warning labels or adequate packaging it was not their responsibility either.
We were unwilling to accept the damaged pump. For the past 3 months we have been battling to get the pump exchanged. Sea Recovery’s Chris Rollins threatened us in writing that we must accept the damaged pump or be cut from future support through his company. Extortion. He went on to explain what a “privilege” it was for us to be able to deal with him directly; that we should be careful not to ‘rock the boat’. “Privilege” was the exact word he wrote!
Fortunately for us, we purchased the new pump through our Credit Card Company. With them we were able to force Sea Recovery to reverse the $2150.00 charge. As a consequence, Sea Recovery will now no longer deal with us. We have a huge investment in our Watermaker, no working pump to run it and no reliable access to support or parts
The local Sea Recovery dealer here in New Zealand is not available: although Sea Recovery does have an extensive dealer network that they claim provides international support, in reality it does not always work. The people here did not make the sale
. While they are friendly and nice, in our experience they seem to give a higher priority to customers who have purchased systems from them directly.
Our recommendation to anyone who is considering the purchase of $10,000.00 or more worth of Watermaker from Sea Recovery is to be very careful…… Somewhere more ‘customer friendly’ would be better. Once the sale
is made, the matter of support will be questionable if something goes wrong, especially when cruising overseas or away from the agent that sells the machine. The Sea Recovery people we have had the misfortune to deal with have been openly dishonest with us (in written correspondence) and have not supported the equipment
Warranty or not, the Sea Recovery viewpoint is: “…if you don’t like it go somewhere else…..”. This is the wording they actually used in our correspondence with them.
In our 22 years of cruising and living aboard
we have not experienced this level of deception or dishonesty from any other marine
vendor that we can remember. Especially involving such an important and expensive piece of equipment.
This above assessment may sound to some like a ‘rant’. If we did not just go through all of this, I would not have believed it myself.
Hope this helps others prevent the mistake we have made.