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Old 12-10-2014, 18:06   #1
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How Much Water and How to Clean out Water Lines?

I'm on the verge of taking a 6-12 month cruise out of Corpus Christi to the Caribbean via the Keys then the Bahamas and Virgin Islands etc. We're going to try and grab a weather window during the second half of November. I know drinking water will inevitably become a concern at some point, so that introduces questions of water makers and filtration in addition to storage and maintenance. There are just two of us.

So basically I have a few quick questions:

1) Capacity: Our longest passage will be from the Texas coast to Isla Mujeres. We hope to make it in 7 days but will provision for 10. We've got 60gal of onboard storage plus probably 4x 5gal jerry cans on deck. Is that enough?

2) Contamination/Maintenance: One of my friends whose far more experienced that I recommended that I not even use the onboard storage tanks for drinking water, his reasons being the age of the system (built in early 80s) and the possibility of contaminating the tanks whenever I fill up in foreign ports. I dont see us refusing to drink tank water, but we will have a lot of bottled water on board. How can I best clean out my onboard fresh water system for bacteria etc?

3) How can I protect myself from contaminated water in foreign ports like Isla Mujeres? Water filters?

4) Is there any cost effective (sub $1000) way to buy or build a low capacity water maker, manual or automatic? Should I even worry about getting one?

Thanks a lot everyone!

Hank
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Old 12-10-2014, 22:20   #2
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re: How Much Water and How to Clean out Water Lines?

If you do a search of the threads on this forum you'll find many ways to clean your water system with chlorine bleach. Look for Peggie Hall's post. She knows her stuff.

I sell a product that I think does a better job. It's called Puriclean and it's made by Clean Tabs in England. The advantage is that after killing the bacteria it also causes the dead biofilm to release from the sides of the tank and hose so it can be flushed out.

http://www.cleantabs.co.uk/puriclean.htm

They also make tablets to put into drinking water to sterilize it.


http://www.cleantabs.co.uk/aquacleantabs.htm

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Old 13-10-2014, 05:40   #3
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Re: How Much Water and How to Clean out Water Lines?

1/4 cup of bleach for 50gals of water and you are safe from any water issues. Then add in a simple activated carbon filter on the outlet side of your pressurized boat water system and bingo...goodbye chlorine taste and any other nasty tastes from your tank. We have met folks that don't drink their tank water...but that's crazy. Clean the tank to start, add a little bleach and an AC filter and stop with the plastic bottle water waste fiasco.

Now for the water maker.
Forget about it...you won't get one for $1000 or less and we are talking a short term cruise here anyway. So save that money for tacos!
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Old 13-10-2014, 06:49   #4
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Re: How Much Water and How to Clean out Water Lines?

The amount of water that you will need, of course, is extremely variable. People living in a house, with a virtually endless supply of water, get into some bad habits when it comes to the amount of water they use. Things like wearing clothes once and then washing them, taking a shower every day, leaving the water running as they brush their teeth or shave, and so on. If you continue to do these things on the boat then you will need a LOT of water! If you don't, you can get by on very little.

The average for cruisers who've been at it long enough to adopt good habits seems to be somewhere between 1-2 gallons per person per day. Folks who really work at conservation can get down to well under a gallon. So, if there are two of you (you didn't say how many, but you did say "our"), and your tanks hold 60 gallons, and you are reasonably careful about not wasting water, you should be able to go two weeks without too much trouble. That should be more than enough for the journey you are planning.

Good luck.
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Old 13-10-2014, 07:10   #5
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Re: How Much Water and How to Clean out Water Lines?

I looked at this problem for my future trips. I came up with a top grade camping filter system. I think katadyn makes one that can be fed by the boats water pump.

My plan is to fill house tanks and temp tanks with city water, add a little bleach (CL). All water consumed without being boiled would be put through the filter.


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Old 13-10-2014, 07:34   #6
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Re: How Much Water and How to Clean out Water Lines?

Once you clean the tanks, they will be fine. What is the difference in a 5 yr old water tank cleanliness wise and a 30 yr old one? Pipes that carry water to your house may well be older than that.
But carrying water on deck in 5 gl Jerry cans is smart, something could happen to your water tank, like a busted hose and suddenly all your water is gone, so have enough on deck to where if that was all there was, you could make it.
Assuming you shower in salt water and rinse in fresh, 1 gl of water a day for each person is a lot actually, just never, never try to conserve water by not drinking it, real bad plan, dehydration is a real bear.
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Old 13-10-2014, 08:23   #7
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Re: How Much Water and How to Clean out Water Lines?

Tanks can leak. Water makers are expensive. Bottled water of sufficient number for a 7-10 day cruise is a ' no brainier''. If only as a back up.
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Old 13-10-2014, 08:50   #8
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Re: How Much Water and How to Clean out Water Lines?

You generally won't be drinking the tap water in places like Isla Mujeres or other locales that have a hose at the dock. We kept our tanks full with a watermaker, other we have known fill their tanks with a hose and drink from 5 gallon bottles.


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Old 13-10-2014, 11:23   #9
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Re: How Much Water and How to Clean out Water Lines?

To clarify terms. A marine water maker desalinates water. These are great ,but pricey and need to be used or pickled. A camping filter such as the one I plan on using makes suspect freshwater potable. Add a dash of CL and you should be able to cleanup island water.
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Old 13-10-2014, 11:29   #10
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Re: How Much Water and How to Clean out Water Lines?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Snore View Post
To clarify terms. A marine water maker desalinates water. These are great ,but pricey and need to be used or pickled. A camping filter such as the one I plan on using makes suspect freshwater potable. Add a dash of CL and you should be able to cleanup island water.

To specifically address a place like Isla Mujeres, MX. The water from the tap is still too brackish for a camp purifier to clean up for drinking.


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Old 13-10-2014, 11:48   #11
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Re: How Much Water and How to Clean out Water Lines?

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Originally Posted by SV THIRD DAY View Post
1/4 cup of bleach for 50gals of water and you are safe from any water issues. Then add in a simple activated carbon filter on the outlet side of your pressurized boat water system and bingo...goodbye chlorine taste and any other nasty tastes from your tank. We have met folks that don't drink their tank water...but that's crazy. Clean the tank to start, add a little bleach and an AC filter and stop with the plastic bottle water waste fiasco.

Now for the water maker.
Forget about it...you won't get one for $1000 or less and we are talking a short term cruise here anyway. So save that money for tacos!
Yep bleach is fine.
OP:Use your tank!
We used to get by on 40 gal a week on our 30 footer in mexico.
Have a way to catch rainwater if possible. Even just a blue tarp that fits over the boom.
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Old 13-10-2014, 11:57   #12
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Re: How Much Water and How to Clean out Water Lines?

H-
There are plenty of old threads about this. I'd suggest that with either chemicals or a UV-C light you can keep the tanked water sterile without any great fuss. But if you keep a separate potable water supply (tank or bottles, whatever) it may be less work or less expense to just sterilize that water, and leave the rest as you get it.
Considering you want sterile potable water for the dishes, for brushing your teeth, etc. it is probably not worth the effort to split off a supply for that. Plumbing your system so that one leaking valve/hose/tank cannot be a catastrophic loss, might be a higher priority. There's nothing quite like finding fifty gallons of water have disappeared, except perhaps, finding they are now in the bilge.
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Old 13-10-2014, 13:19   #13
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Re: How Much Water and How to Clean out Water Lines?

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Originally Posted by Sailmonkey View Post
To specifically address a place like Isla Mujeres, MX. The water from the tap is still too brackish for a camp purifier to clean up for drinking.


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Huh.... Learned something new!!

Thought crypto and coloforms (sp?) would be the issues with water.

May need to rethink the plan.

Thank you for taking the time to clarify this.


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Old 13-10-2014, 14:22   #14
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Re: How Much Water and How to Clean out Water Lines?

A recently cleaned water tank is a good idea.

I was once on an older boat where after a few weeks at sea we hit the bottom of the water tank and it was foul with slime and sludge and floating gunk. It was truly disgusting and no one wanted to drink any of it. Resembled "green slime" and pond water. This was on a boat without a water maker. Evidently the boat owner had not cleaned his tanks and probably drank more beer than water from his boat.

Luckily we had a few 5 gallon jerry jugs with water for emergency use. Even so, we rationed water as we still had a long way to go to land and very little wind and no engine. I relished drinking fluids from canned peaches and cans of fruit cocktail. But the experience taught me that not having enough potable water on a long voyage (far from land) is something I do not want to repeat as an experience.

For my boat, I would have redundant water vessels/tanks, periodic cleaning of the tanks, rigorous protocols for use of chlorine bleach (very effective) with foreign water or water from questionable sources, at least 10 gallons of purified water in sealed jerry jugs separate from the main tanks, and a Baja Filter too (for pre filtering the water you might add to your tanks in foreign ports). This is even if I did have a water maker (as they fail too).

I would also take a small, portable, battery operated UV sterilizer to sterilize the water in my water bottle during day trips on land, assuming I would be drinking some local water while on land. The Steripen is an example that is highly recommended. Amazon.com : SteriPEN Ultra Handheld Water Purifier, Blue : Camping Water Purifiers : Sports & Outdoors
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Old 13-10-2014, 14:29   #15
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Re: How Much Water and How to Clean out Water Lines?

Brackish=salty, and that's got nothing to do with purifying water. Only a desalinator will take out salt, but that's not so much health concern as a matter of taste.

The Steripens are good, but the ones that take AA cells are real finicky about the kind of power they take. NiCad/NiMh can't always give them the voltage they need, and IIRC only Li penlights are recommended for them. Which leaves the CR123 models (I've always thought that was an oddball and expensive battery) or the ones with their own rechargeables sold as a set. Kinda defies logic, but they're apparently very sensitive to battery issues that verge on magic.
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