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Old 25-02-2014, 06:42   #31
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Re: Drink from tanks on BVI charter boat??

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Originally Posted by KNoel View Post
Nobody that I know drinks water from a charter boat's tanks. We don't even drink the water from our OWN boat's tanks; we bring a couple of gallons in reused milk containers. On charter, pick up the gallon size water jugs, allowing 1/2 gallon of water per day per person. We then just use the cups on the boat and water bottles when we're away from the boat.
Have been drinking the water from our boat tanks for thirty years. So far so good. There is no room aboard to store bottled water. We have to store beer and rum. And as if we don't make enough trash aboard the boat that we need a few hundred little water bottles. Of course we started cruising before everybody had to carry a little bottle of water with them everywhere. And if you do have to carry that little bottle of water everywhere make sure it's not from Walmart or Sams Club. Only Zephrhills or Ozarka or some other brand name for filtered city water.
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Old 25-02-2014, 06:50   #32
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Drink from tanks on BVI charter boat??

I recently chartered with moorings out of Tortola. We drank from the tanks with no ill effects. I will say it was definitely not very tasty.
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Old 25-02-2014, 07:56   #33
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pirate Re: Drink from tanks on BVI charter boat??

I use this gizmo on my boat for drinking water. Think I got two for 15 USD somewhere. I fill them from my 37 yr old tanks, which have been chlorinated, but what the heck? One more safety factor, and removes the chlorine taste. Travels well, convenient, and adds far less to the landfill in the end. This bottled water craze is ... ah ... crazy.

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Old 25-02-2014, 08:31   #34
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Re: Drink from tanks on BVI charter boat??

I also recommend a filter attached to the tap, we've used the Brita but I'm sure they're all about the same. If you want water in plastic bring some empty 5 gal Coleman jugs you can find in the camping section fill them before you leave the dock the water in the BVI and the islands is fine for drinking.

Drink plenty of Rum and enjoy.
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Old 25-02-2014, 11:56   #35
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Re: Drink from tanks on BVI charter boat??

Our 27 year old boat water tanks sparkle. Its the hoses that have crud in them still... we drink it.
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Old 25-02-2014, 12:18   #36
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Re: Drink from tanks on BVI charter boat??

I just took the tanks out of our Valiant. Outside the tanks- bright and shiny. Inside- two inches of sludge. Can't believe I was drinking that even though it had filters in line. Will replace with HDPE tanks and a filter between the inlet and the tank.
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Old 25-02-2014, 15:39   #37
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Re: Drink from tanks on BVI charter boat??

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Originally Posted by SV THIRD DAY View Post
So I gotta pay $6-$8K a week and be worried about the water I'm drinking...and people PAY for this...
No, you don't have to worry. Just don't drink the boat water, pick up some gallon jugs. Pretty common.

If it was a crewed boat, you'd know more about the condition of the tanks and water, but these are charter boats, where the last person who used it may have filled it. Perhaps they didn't empty a tank all the way or us it at all.

For a week long trip, better safe then sorry and the cost of bottled water is a non-issue for that amount of time.
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Old 25-02-2014, 16:09   #38
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Re: Drink from tanks on BVI charter boat??

Thanks, everyone. Input much appreciated.
Food for thought, so to speak.
And of course I should not be surprised that there is such a wide range of perspectives!
I will consult with my fellow crew-members and go from there...
Cheers, Suz
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Old 25-02-2014, 16:32   #39
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Re: Drink from tanks on BVI charter boat??

If you do decide to go bottled water, stick to gallon jugs and just have everyone bring their own re-usable bottle. Much less waste this way.
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Old 25-02-2014, 17:55   #40
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Re: Drink from tanks on BVI charter boat??

For what it's worth, I found it to be a pretty easy project to install some inspection ports in my thirty year old tanks. It was great to be able to get in there and scrub the whole surface. As expected I found a nice layer of slime and also a fair amount of gritty debris. Cheap project well worth the effort, I would put them in new tanks too, just to have them.
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Old 06-04-2014, 12:53   #41
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Re: Drink from tanks on BVI charter boat?? AND bikes!

Follow-up for anyone who later checks out this thread:

We ended up buying a couple of the blue five gallon jugs commonly used in office water coolers. We filled them with the hose at the dock at Nanny Cay Marina where we stayed and stored them securely below deck. It worked great.

At $15 each these bottles are not cheap, but after the cruise they can be given to anyone who (trusts your integrity and) has an account with one of those bottled water companies so the plastic goes back into the system of re-use. Nanny Cay Hotel had such an account but would not take our bottles, presumably for lack of willingness to take the risk that the bottles had only been used for potable water.

Yes, a pricey alternative to gallon jugs, but not a lot of money relative to the cost of chartering a boat. This is especially poignant in a country that lacks any recycling facilities and has tons of trash from the tourism industry to deal with. The trash produced on Tortola either ends up in the streets and then the ocean or gets collected and burned in an incinerator on the west end of the island.

It seems that the main issue for water quality on a charter boat is whether a previous charterer accidentally put diesel into the water tank; I heard of boats where the tank water tasted of diesel despite lacking a surface sheen.

Beyond that is the question of biological contamination esp in a warm climate. In the future if the water doesn't smell/taste of fuel, I'll put a wee bit of bleach into the tanks knowing that the chlorine will off-gas and not be perceptible in a glass of water.

Another random BVI logistics note: we rented bikes from Last Stop Sports in Road Town on Tortola for errands in/out of Road Town from Nanny Cay Hotel. The bikes were of good quality and nice condition, and the company delivered them to the hotel which was super helpful.

Having bikes turned out to be great in terms of getting some exercise and having more fun getting around. Using bikes to haul groceries does require fairly large back-packs. For the most part drivers were respectful and the traffic not excessive. The roads (and sidewalks for that matter), predictably, aren't in the best of shape so it was good to have mountain bikes and not road bikes. Be aware that on some parts of the island, there are some STEEP hills; this coming from a technical/altitude mountaineering guide.

We were surprised there weren't more sailors using bikes for errands and recommend it to anyone interested.
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Old 11-11-2014, 04:40   #42
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Re: Drink from tanks on BVI charter boat??

Play it safe and don't drink it from the tank. Why risk ruining your holiday when it's easy enough to buy a few bottles and stow them away.
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Old 16-11-2014, 13:00   #43
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Re: Drink from tanks on BVI charter boat??

I know this thread is older, but here is what we did:

We used a Katadyn Combi Filter. This one is a ceramic filter of 0.2 micron which removes all protozoa and bacteria and lasts for 50.000 liters. It's not like most Brita filters, that will let all the nasty stuff pass.

If you need to get rid of bad taste, that filter includes a refillable, activated carbon cartridge that can be used optionally.

Using the faucet mount adapter (optional extra!) you can just mount it to the faucet and have drinking water everywhere you go without manually pumping. Pressure of a boat's water system is a bit low, so the output is low and filtering water on every use becomes annoying. We just do a few bottles of water every morning while preparin the breakfast so we have enough.
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