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Old 01-01-2006, 15:13   #1
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Showering/bathing Onboard

After a long sail on a hot day, a nice shower is a joy. Smaller vessels especially have to be creative if we want to shower onboard. It's also nice to be able to bathe in the privacy of one's own boat and not wait to get into marina facilities, etc.
So how do you, fellow cruisers, shower onboard?
My boat, a Bayfield29, didn't come with an indoor shower. I used a solar bag for a while and bathed in the cockpit, but that was a drag!! It was always an unplanned peep show at the anchorage. I tried making use of shoreside showers, but I too often cruise in remote areas. Am looking for ideas for something nicer. Right now, I'm installing a simple solar heated, gravity fed indoor shower. It's the only solution I can come up with for a smaller boat like mine. The grey water gets drained down the sink until I can install a sump (grey water in the bilge is yukky). I even put up a shower curtain! Yeah, yeah-I know, I'm picky. But an important fact for the fellows out there, most of us boating ladies like to be able to get clean. I feel sexy when everything's fresh. Some newer cruising couples I'd met had broken up later on, the ladies leaving because of a boat's lack of shower facilities.
I'd love to hear your ideas or what you do. If my simple (sort of simple- it involves buiding a fiberglass box) installation works like I hope, I'll share more details on it. I used to be an engineer during my on-land phase, so this might not be too Rube Goldburg-ish.
Rebecca
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Old 01-01-2006, 16:38   #2
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Showers

This is one of my biggest complaints (the lack of shower space) with the designers of sailboats. There is the issue of water capacity but in certain areas one could plump in seawater to start and a fresh water to finish. I know in the colder climates this wouldn't work, but the option would be nice. Storing rainwater would be nice also. Most of the modern equipment is plastic, so corrosion is not a problem these days.

We have an old racer that didn't come with a shower, or even a finished forward area, just the head. So I have the option of building the way we want.

At the hardware stores they sell sectional kits for homes that have a cast fiberglass lower section with panels. I plan to use this to build a nice size shower with the seawater option. (We'll be heading for the tropics someday)

My wife is from the South Pacific Is's. so she manages pretty well without a shower. Growing up, she didn't have one. They used a bucket and a ladle. So she functions fairly well on the boat for now. Just have to get her to conserve fresh water a little better.

Some areas now require gray water retention so that's becoming an issue. But if youíre out and about no big thing

The other issue is hot/cold water. Again in the colder climates it'll require more plumbing and how to heat the fresh water. People lived without hot water showers for thousands of years so it basically comes down to individual choice. And the men out there will have to be more aware of their choice of boats if they want their woman to feel sexy. Maybe the boating industry will wake up..................._/)
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Old 01-01-2006, 17:42   #3
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Shower

The bottom of my shower is a heavy piece of tarp type material. It froms the floor and sides. The corners have a simple fold with no seems. Just forward of the mast is a natural area for this as the boat shape makes a natural back drop for the material. The sides come up about 10 inches. A curtain track is fastened higher up again taking advatage of the boat shape. Water can come from a solar shower, or heated water poured in to a weed spray bottle. The bottle has a pump and is about one gallon capacity.
Pump up the pressure and open the valve. One keetle full of hot water is enough when added to a bit of cold to suit your preference. The spray is very fine and not much water is used.
The skirt type floor can be picked up and the water draine overboard, or I can drop in a bilg pump and pump it dry.
The shower floor can do double duty as a sea anchor or an external hull patch. I have sewn in a 3/16 line around the top with loops at the corners. The loops hold it in place when attached to the small hooks on the boat.
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Old 01-01-2006, 18:15   #4
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Creative showering.

We have standard marine showers aboard in both heads, but to minimize water use, we have become creative bathing with as little water use as possible.

Instead of using the shower head, we do this:

#1 Fill sink with warm water
#2 Wet self with washcloth or whatever loofa or whatever you use
#3 Add soap to same water in sink
#4 Dip washcloth into soapy sink to lather up

#5 Drain sink, fill with rinse water, and use washcloth to absorb water, then wring out over head and generally splash a lot of water on yourself

OR

#6 Use the shower head momentarily to get a good rinse.

I started doing these showers while living in a Road Trek RV commuting to a distant job. The RV carried far less water than most boats do. These showers get you just as clean as streams of water do, and use on the order of a gallon or so of water.

Also, if you have no shower at all and no means of running hot water, this type of shower works well in the galley by the stove. Heat your water in a pot and you are in business!

If you are very careful during the rinse cycle, you can do it in such a way that you only leave enough water on the floor that a towel will wipe it up.
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Old 01-01-2006, 23:45   #5
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Great idea with the weed spray bottle Mike. A bit of "Kiwi ingenuity"
We were wondering what we were going to do as we also have no shower but a fairly deep cockpit with lee cloths and bimini so privacy should be OK. I might try painting the bottle black and hanging it from the backstay. The tarp idea will be good for Fiordland winter.
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Old 02-01-2006, 07:08   #6
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Hot Tap

My 26 footer doesn't have a built in shower, or hot water heater. I use the boat for some fairly extensive trips. I tried the solar water bags for showering.They worked o.k., but I continued to look for a better alternative. About three years ago, I found one.

The device is called a "Hot Tap." It's a portable hot water heater that is fueled with the small propane cylinders like you would use with a Coleman camp stove.The unit comes with a plastic carrying case that can also be used as a water hold resevoir. Basically, the way the device works is very straightforward. There is a 12 volt pump with an inlet supply hose attached to it. I think "Hot Tap" also offers a battery powered pump.The small pump supplies water to the Hot Tap from what ever water source you use.On my boat, I tapped into my boats' pressurized water system and ran a supply line up to my cockpit locker.I then installed a regular outdoor house faucet in the locker that the supply line is attached to. I connect the Hot Tap to the cockpit supply faucet using a regular garden hose connector that I installed on the inlet hose of the Hot Tap.By using my boats' pressurized water,I don't have to use the small water supply pump that comes with the "Hot Tap."

Once you have a water source supply to the "Hot Tap," you light the Hot Tap device with its' pizeo igniter. It's similar to the ignitors you find on fire logs, etc. Next, you simply turn the unit on for hot water. There's an outlet hose on the "Hot Tap" with a hand held shower spray nozzle. The propane heated water from the "Hot Tap"supplies hot water for all the showering you want, or for at least for all the water and propane that you have. I'm talking HOT water, not the warm, solar bag heated water. After you're finished showering, the "Hot Tap" is stored away in it's plastic hardcase, which is about the size of a small toolbox. The device works great. I'm very pleased with mine.

If you're interested in the "Hot Tap," search the web for their site. It's listed under the name, "Hot Tap."
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Old 02-01-2006, 07:13   #7
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Lots of good ideas above. I donít think anyone mentioned the Sunshower. A great way to get warm water. If you are in private anchorage then showering on deck works well. We have an overhead hatch in the head and can suspend the Sunshower over the hatch to bathe in privacy.

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Old 02-01-2006, 07:57   #8
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I fitted a shower to my 29 ft boat c couple of years ago. It was relatively straightfoward, probably cause a 29ft cat has a reasonable size heads compartment!

The floor of the compartment was a grp mould with a wooden access hatch to the heads stopcocks, so I obviously needed to get below the grp floor even when I had converted the floor to a waterproof system.

I took the wooden access hatch and installed a large size dinghy access hatch, and also a standard D-I-Y house shower drain.

Under the floor I installed a Johnson pumps shower sump and connected that to the shower drain (through a proper shower trap) and the outlet to a Y split on the hand basin drain line (which drains above water level). I then sealed the wooden access hatch back into the hole (having sealed the wood with epoxy , then white paint to match the rest of the GRP). I sealed all the other holes through the grp floor to ensure that the only access for water from the shower was through the shower drain.

I installed a normal house shower circular shower rail and curtain, so that the splash from the shower did not soak the loo paper etc.

I connected an additional hot water supply directly from the Rinnai gas water heater, and use the water heat controls on the rinnai to create the correct heat for the shower. I then installed a standard MIRA shower on a rail to allow vertical height adjustment (me 6'2" , wife 5'4").

To finish the floor I installed a plastic grating designed for commercial swim pool applications (available in interlocking squares) and on top of that I have a standard caravan shower mat which is slightly cushioned . This allows the water to pass throuh the shower mat, and then through the grating, finally exiting through the shower drain to the pump in the shower sump.

It is a good idea after a shower to put a couple of pints of clean water down through the drain, as it gets rid of the scummy water which can quickly become smelly. There is no reason why thiswater should not be salt water.

The pump in the shower sump is identical to another two bilge pumps that I have, and the working parts are very easily transferable.

This provides a nice hot shower without the hassle of doing a cockpit dance in cold weather or having to use a shore shower block with its questionably clean condition.
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Old 02-01-2006, 08:31   #9
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hot tap

www.zodi.com
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Old 02-01-2006, 09:12   #10
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Not sure I would want to use the Zodi portable shower unit onboard. You would have to use it in the cockpit or accept the carbon monoxide inside the boat - I much prefer my fumes to be allowed to escape into the atmosphere.

If you have to use it in the cockpit, it has little real advantage oveer a lot of other systems.


Cheapest shower system to nstall and use is a standard kettle used to heat water on the galley range, and then decanted into a d-i-y garden pressure sprayer. A few quick pumps, and the switch on for a good and frugal shower switch off while soaping up and should still be hot for the rinse off.
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Old 04-01-2006, 20:03   #11
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I read about a couple on a Watkins 27 who purchased a bug spray system (the type you wear on your back). This worked for them for years, until they bought a yacht with showers. Here's how it works. You buy a 4-5 gal system from home depot. You heat up 2-3 galons of water on the cooker. Pour 3 galons of cold water in the system, and then fill it up with the boiling water, using care... You now have a pressure hot water shower. Pump the system for pressure, set it on your head, and use it wisely.

Or you can pretend you're French, and just not shower. I know that was mean, but my sister is French, so I can vouch for it...
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Old 04-01-2006, 22:18   #12
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Bug spray and solar

Nice of the more recent posts to suggest the solar shower and the bug spray.
Thank you for agreeing with my previous post on the subject where I mentioned both.
Michael
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Old 04-01-2006, 23:16   #13
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Rest of the world is always taking credit for Kiwi achievements. Look at Russell Crowe, the only time any foreign media mentions he's a Kiwi is when he has knocked the crap out of some poor individual.
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Old 05-01-2006, 12:20   #14
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NO, not really trying to misplace any credit. Give NZ what it is due, I say, as long as we all agree Al Gore invented the Internet, while George Bush invented the "Internets".
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Old 25-09-2007, 11:33   #15
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One shower idea for small cruisers:

Hey sailors, one shower idea is coming out in Good Old Boat magazine, November issue 2007 I believe. It's a step by step how to on building a simple yet effective indoor private hot shower for the boat. It requires no electrical power to heat, solar, and no need to pump anything to pour out the nozzle water. Instead of like the camp-style shower bag, this rigid unit is fixed, out of the way and there's no hassle to pour water into it. Build cost is low. A non-carpenter-amatuer (me) built it, so anyone can make one. Once it's installed on the boat, it's heavenly. If interested, keep a look out for the next issue of Good Old Boat or so (I know, I know- I'm adverstising) but had to share, there's no reason to give up creature comforts to go cruising. This idea may help others.
r
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