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Old 14-09-2008, 18:54   #1
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Water - justifying a watermaker

We are preparing for cruising within the next 12 months. We plan on spending the first 2 years in the caribbean and if all goes well..... who knows. Here is my question: What is the cost and the quality of water that you can purchase at different islands in the caribbean. Is the water that is available de-salinated? What is the cost?
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Old 14-09-2008, 19:04   #2
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Water in St Martin in April was US$22 er 1,000 litres plus $5 meter reading fee.

But lets put it another way: Buy the watermaker! Buy the watermaker! Buy the watermaker! Buy the watermaker! Buy the watermaker!

We really want one (we can't afford one at the moment!)

With a watermaker a sailing boat is self suficent for months at a time!
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Old 14-09-2008, 19:07   #3
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Quote:
What is the cost and the quality of water that you can purchase at different islands in the caribbean. Is the water that is available de-salinated? What is the cost?
Water suitable to drink must be desalinated or it's not suitable to drink by any one. I think it is fair to say that water you buy is safe. Most islands do desalinate water and it's not free to anyone let alone tourists. The cost of water does vary. If you go just based on cost it is worth buying but if you go based on convienence it may not be. Large scale desalinization facilites can make water cheaper than you can on your boat. Access may be another factor and the ability to store and the rate you consume also matter.
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Old 14-09-2008, 19:53   #4
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I've always had the mind set of having my own water maker when I get my boat. I just love the idea of being as self sufficient as possible. My future sailing intentions are pretty remote so I don't want to have to keep a constant eye on my tanks and keep a map handy of where the nearest refill station is. This goes for everything else as well.

I'm hoping that by the time I'm ready to purchase, the electric engines will be proven enough to have installed so we only need to go back on land for food... if that even...

it may be a romantic vision but I'm sticking to it!!!
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Old 15-09-2008, 04:59   #5
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I'm sure you realize that everything breaks sooner or later and that while you may achieve some freedom from a water "filling-station", you're still going to be tied to a marine parts store. I would suggest you consider a good (and low cost) rain water collection system that will by-pass the need for a complex, energy-hungry system such as a watermaker. Just my own opinion.
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Old 15-09-2008, 05:30   #6
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I agree with Liberty28. I am very aware that everything breaks, especially on a boat with the harsh sea weather, salt, etc.. I believe in redundancy of everything. I hope to have several options for water available, as well as power, etc..
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Old 15-09-2008, 07:08   #7
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Go without one first. If after a year in the Caribbean you feel you want or need one, then get it. They are expensive and need a lot of upkeep. Another consideration is that your power requirements will go up substantially with a watermaker.
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Old 15-09-2008, 07:42   #8
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Here are some random thoughts on watermakers--we have one, but it is a love-hate relationship.

With daily showers and freshwater dishwashing, we plan on 100 gallons of water to last 2 people for 2 weeks as long as we don't waste it. In the Caribbean you can find docks to take on water at least that frequently. Watermaker water is more expensive than purchased water in all but a few ripoff marinas .

Watermakers break down frequently--but they break down more frequently when they aren't used. Once you start using the watermaker, you are wedded to using it at least once every three or four days.

There are places in the world where a watermaker is very handy, as the alternative is saltwater washing and/or jerry jugging questionable quality water. However, many boats have been to these places without a watermaker, and you can go too.

Don't ever count on your watermaker working--always carry enough water to get through without it. I've had them break down a few days into both Indian and Atlantic ocean passages, but had the tanks full enough to carry on with minimal hardships.
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Old 15-09-2008, 08:39   #9
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We cruised a year in Mexico and have friends who are still out there, in the Caribbean, Central America, and the South Pacific. We didn't have a watermaker and it's at the top of my list for our next boat.

We prefer anchoring out so had to run the engine about every 4 days to charge the batteries and we could have been making water at the same time as our friends did. We were very frugal with water, using about 3 gals per day for 2 people. (I'll write a separate post with how we did it if anyone is interested.) That's fine and good but it would have been nice to not have to be SO frugal. It's another comfort issue.

One of our friends have owned a couple different brands and now have one they really love. They say it has been almost trouble free. I'll get the brand name from them and compare notes here on the forum.
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Old 15-09-2008, 10:02   #10
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I'm sure you realize that everything breaks sooner or later and that while you may achieve some freedom from a water "filling-station", you're still going to be tied to a marine parts store. I would suggest you consider a good (and low cost) rain water collection system that will by-pass the need for a complex, energy-hungry system such as a watermaker. Just my own opinion.
A rain water catchment system is a must when cruising but on the other hand our Village Marine Little Wonder watermaker has been aboard for over a decade, after our first cruise to the Bahamas, and with good maintenance we have had zero down time or repairs. Our water usage is about 7 to 10 gallons per day for the 2 of us. We like showers
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Old 15-09-2008, 13:08   #11
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Why is it a one or the other situation? Do both. Get the watermaker but have a rain catchment system available if the water maker fails. Two choices are always better than one.
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Old 15-09-2008, 13:17   #12
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I bought a Pur power survivor 80 10 years ago and all I have ever done is use the biocide when I wasn't using it and a little silicone on the ram.The prefilter I need to change about once a month when in use. I still have it and it still works perfectly. I cannot imagine not having one. The price of water in the Bahamas is crazy. Water and electricity is half of the marina bill. hope this helps.
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Old 15-09-2008, 14:44   #13
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One or two week getaways on your boat is one thing. But if you are going to spend two years cruising I can't see not having a watermaker aboard. Yes they require a bit of maintenace but then so do a lot of things onboard. For something that provides me with all the water I need all the time I don't mind the few minutes they can require to maintain. Automated watermakers can reduce that maintenance drastically. Beats jugging any day. If you try to justify the cost of water you make as opposed to water you buy, heck it's cheaper to fly to the islands, stay at the best hotels and dine out three times a day than to buy a boat, outfit her and sail there.
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Old 15-09-2008, 15:01   #14
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Why is it a one or the other situation? Do both. Get the watermaker but have a rain catchment system available if the water maker fails. Two choices are always better than one.
It's tough to argue with a guy who makes sense!!!
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Old 15-09-2008, 15:03   #15
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There is a watermaker aboard my boat but it was not working when I bought it. Water is very easy to get and cheap here in the Eastern Caribbean. Eventually I would like to get it going again especially when I go north to the Bahamas.
Another consideration is using fresh water with a low power pressure washer ( around 1000 PSI. ) . About 2 to 3 gallons of water rinses off most of the salt from my 38 ft catamaran. I feel that getting rid of the salt and slowing down corrosion will make up for the cost of extra water and may convince me to put the watermaker into service earlier than I originally intended.
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