Hm... Historically, people who lived by the sea did NOT bathe in the sea because the salt
causes itching at the very least, and in come cases can lead to dermatitis, although in days of yore Joe Bloggins had no idea what that ailment is. Joe did, however, know that when you came in from sea in your little fishing
skiff, all covered with fish
slime and brine, you needed to wash the salt
off you skin as soon as you could.
Generally, that was done with water
from the well, and even those fishermen's settlements that were right ON the shore would have wells sufficiently inland that the water
in them was fresh.
It is possible that many of my generation, on these shores, and almost all those who are younger than I, are unfamiliar with the bathing rituals of those of us who were fortunate enuff to grow up in wholesome, pre-conspicuous-consumption societies. So let me let you in on them:
On Saturday (the name for which in my native language has come down to us in the old form meaning, quite literally, "Washday") Mom would, in the morning, fill the big "copper", the huge kettle set in brick work
in the wash house, and fire up under it. The fuel
could be firewood if the household was well to do, but among the poor it was generally turf, i.e. organic matter "cut" in the ancient bogs. When the water reached boiling, around about suppertime, the water was transferred to a galvanized tub big enuff to hold a well-grown man and cooled to sufferable temperature with cold water from the well which had been fetched in anticipation and left in buckets in the wash house.
"Dad" (which might be "old-father", i.e. granddad or even great granddad) went first, followed by any other superannuated males. Then came "Mom" (women being subject to the same ranking), then the oldest boys down to the age of ten or so, then all the other children
, oldest girls first, with kids
under ten being accommodated in any convenient order. Soap was home-made as it had been for hundreds of years from scraps of fat from the kitchen and homemade lye. You will know the expression "soft soap". That is often what it was, and you had to be careful with it because soft soap is still strongly alkaline, the saponification being somewhat incomplete be design. But, Boy! does it ever get rid of the muck!
By the time the littlest kids
had had their bath in THAT water, they needed a bath :-)!
Most sailerfolk will use seawater for all sorts of things, including boiling spuds and doing the dishes, but in the case of showering - for which seawater is fine if you have substantial amounts of ***** to get rid of - we try to have enough freshwater to allow a rinse.
Most of us "small boat" sailors manage to check into a marina on "washday" to take advantage of the showers found there. For MOST small boat
sailors on-board showers are really a luxury it is easy enuff to do without.