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Old 21-10-2021, 15:49   #1
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Coastal Cruising SE USA - Live without watermaker?

We're into our 1st season of sailing, but have spent most of that time in marinas with only a few nights at anchor here and there due to doing work on the boat, work schedules, and having to split time between boat and land.

Before the end of Nov we're pushing off from Hilton Head to meander down to the Keys (hopefully) and winter in warmer climes.

I have 65 gallons of water onboard. So far, with restricting showers and limiting head flushing (fw electric head) we still can only stretch that a few days.

Given that I'm hoping to spend much more time on the hook/mooring balls over the next 6 months, what are the techniques, tips, tricks to deal with water requirements, or should I bite the bullet and figure out how to install a watermaker?
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Old 21-10-2021, 16:49   #2
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Re: Coastal Cruising SE USA - Live without watermaker?

I bet that we have a lower water consumption than you, but in the US we can almost always get drinking water for free at each fuel fill which meets our needs. We also carry 5 folding 5 gal jugs that allow us to bring water back to the boat with 25 gal of water per dinghy trip. Those jugs along with a water bandit (google it), a faucet key, 100 total ft of water hose on the boat, and the ability to fill our tanks from rainwater collected on our decks or on our sun awnings... and a Visa card all mean that we have never run out of water in the SE USA or the Bahamas where we have cruised 5 or 6 months per year average since 2004. We have left the initial and running cost of a watermaker invested with the interest and dividends paying for the beer; an all round better situation, I think.
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Old 21-10-2021, 17:24   #3
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Re: Coastal Cruising SE USA - Live without watermaker?

When I used to use a lot of water with the ex, I used to always being a water jug or 2 when going ashore. Staying ahead of it is the best way, combine with the previous post’s advice.
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Old 21-10-2021, 17:26   #4
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Re: Coastal Cruising SE USA - Live without watermaker?

Quote:
Originally Posted by flightlead404 View Post
. I have 65 gallons of water onboard. So far, with restricting showers and limiting head flushing (fw electric head) we still can only stretch that a few days.
We carry 63 gallons and can make that last for close to a month without feeling deprived.

You have a 38' boat so you probably won't want to do some of the things that we do, but three easy tips are to install foot pumps instead of using pressure water; use an Aquabot to rinse your dishes; and pasta can be cooked in 1/2 of the water that the recipe calls for (boil it for three minutes, turn off the heat and leave it covered for ten minutes).

As for additional tips, we shower every few days with a pump up weed sprayer (two people = two gallons), and we have a composting head (no flushing needed at all).

We did buy a water maker after cruising for two years but sold it after a year. For us, it was just another system to deal with and it wasn't worth the hassle. Many, many people wouldn't say the same thing, but I also suspect there are more than a few out there who swear by their water maker to justify the money they spent on it. That being said, if we were cruising somewhere besides the Bahamas and the U.S. East Coast, we would buy one again to have a trusted source of water. It really all depends on your situation.
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Old 21-10-2021, 17:56   #5
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Re: Coastal Cruising SE USA - Live without watermaker?

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use an Aquabot to rinse your dishes

How do you rinse dishes with a swimming pool vacuum cleaner? Could you describe the device you're calling an Aquabot?
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Old 21-10-2021, 18:34   #6
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Re: Coastal Cruising SE USA - Live without watermaker?

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We carry 63 gallons and can make that last for close to a month without feeling deprived.
What do you do when guests come aboard? lol

Kidding (a little). I can go 3 days without a shower. Then I'm pretty ripe! I don't mind taking a swim, soaping up, and having a quick fw rinse on the transom. (AFAIAC if you've never seen a grown man naked you could do with broadening your horizons anyway lol......now about those Gladiator movies and Turkish prisons..)

My SO on the other hand has to have a shower every day and despite loving being naked as a jaybird on deck, needs a proper shower (although she does try and conserve).

There's NO WAY we could stretch 65 gal to a month. I just don't see how. That's 2 gal/person/day. In the heat I probably drink 1 gallon, then there's coffee, cooking, dishes, teeth cleaning....I don't see it.

I'll stay upwind of you
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Old 21-10-2021, 18:40   #7
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Re: Coastal Cruising SE USA - Live without watermaker?

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How do you rinse dishes with a swimming pool vacuum cleaner? Could you describe the device you're calling an Aquabot?
We use the vacuum cleaner after itís finished cleaning the pool, of course.

The Aquabot is sold by Lunatec - www.lunatecgear.com. We have the 650 ml size. Itís worked out quite well and saves a ton of water.
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Old 21-10-2021, 18:53   #8
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Re: Coastal Cruising SE USA - Live without watermaker?

If you install a seawater faucet in the valley for dish washing, that will help dramatically. You should be able to fill with water every few days from a fuel dock or marina.
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Old 21-10-2021, 18:56   #9
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Re: Coastal Cruising SE USA - Live without watermaker?

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Originally Posted by flightlead404 View Post
What do you do when guests come aboard? lol

Kidding (a little). I can go 3 days without a shower. Then I'm pretty ripe! I don't mind taking a swim, soaping up, and having a quick fw rinse on the transom. (AFAIAC if you've never seen a grown man naked you could do with broadening your horizons anyway lol......now about those Gladiator movies and Turkish prisons..)

My SO on the other hand has to have a shower every day and despite loving being naked as a jaybird on deck, needs a proper shower (although she does try and conserve).

There's NO WAY we could stretch 65 gal to a month. I just don't see how. That's 2 gal/person/day. In the heat I probably drink 1 gallon, then there's coffee, cooking, dishes, teeth cleaning....I don't see it.

I'll stay upwind of you
We shower every few days and use wipes on the other days, so no need to stay upwind. Even if we showered every day, at 1 gallon per person per shower we could still stretch the 63 gallons out for a few weeks. Itís the pressure water thatís draining your tank so quickly.

If your SO insists on a ďproperĒ shower every day (which I assume means water running vs turning it off while she soaps up), then youíre probably going to need to bite the bullet and get a watermaker.

Using a foot pump for dishes would help quite a bit. Pressure water uses a TON, most of it just going down the drain. Or just get an Aquabot for doing dishes.

Good luck and have fun this winter!
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Old 21-10-2021, 19:07   #10
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Re: Coastal Cruising SE USA - Live without watermaker?

Flight, we also average 2 gallons/person/day when off the dock. I know this is true because we use a flow meter so know with great accuracy how much we use. We carry nearly 200 gallons of water, so can be off the dock for three months.

In addition to Cthroops excellent advice we use salt water to wash dishes and even do laundry. We wash with salt, then rinse or spritz with fresh. Other than that, manual pumps help a lot (although we actually have both). Just being aware of your usage is really all it takes.

We also have composting head, so no water needed in the toilet. And we use a sprayer for our cockpit shower. Takes very little water to take a warm, comfortable shower. And we usually use rain water for this use, although we don't shy away from using tank water when needed.

We shower less than you, but we take sponge washes daily. I know you say your SO must have a shower daily. Just know, daily showering is a very recent phenomena. It's not much of a burden to move to a lower rate.

None of this is hard, and it does not mean you need to feel like you're rationing water. But it does require one to be conscious of water use, and it also requires you to think outside your normal landlubber box.
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Old 21-10-2021, 19:15   #11
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Re: Coastal Cruising SE USA - Live without watermaker?

Quote:
Originally Posted by wsmurdoch View Post
I bet that we have a lower water consumption than you, but in the US we can almost always get drinking water for free at each fuel fill which meets our needs. We also carry 5 folding 5 gal jugs that allow us to bring water back to the boat with 25 gal of water per dinghy trip. Those jugs along with a water bandit (google it), a faucet key, 100 total ft of water hose on the boat, and the ability to fill our tanks from rainwater collected on our decks or on our sun awnings... and a Visa card all mean that we have never run out of water in the SE USA or the Bahamas where we have cruised 5 or 6 months per year average since 2004. We have left the initial and running cost of a watermaker invested with the interest and dividends paying for the beer; an all round better situation, I think.
This is the best laid out answer I have seen yet! So good I made a few notes.
+1 and a gold star

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Old 21-10-2021, 20:29   #12
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Re: Coastal Cruising SE USA - Live without watermaker?

If you have electric pump water, get faucet pushbuttons. Saves a lot of water.
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Old 21-10-2021, 21:16   #13
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Re: Coastal Cruising SE USA - Live without watermaker?

Plenty of good suggestions upthread, but I'm surprised that no one has pointed out that fresh water flushing for toilets is wasting a significant amount for you, and of course is not required.

But basically, it is a question of changing your wasteful water usage practices or else installing a watermaker.

Do recall that watermakers are a fairly recent addition to the cruiser's kit, and folks have been cruising for a long time. If giving up land based habits is too hard for you, I'd say that serious cruising isn't a good fit for you. Harbour hopping can be rewarding too, and your water worries would vanish.

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Old 22-10-2021, 05:37   #14
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Re: Coastal Cruising SE USA - Live without watermaker?

I have 75 gallons of fresh water. We shower every night before bed. We use "boat showers". Wet ourselves, water off. Lather, rinse, water off. Also, my on board toilet is a jabsco hand pump sea water type. Also use sea water to wash dishes. Helps tremendously.

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Old 22-10-2021, 08:15   #15
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Re: Coastal Cruising SE USA - Live without watermaker?

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If your SO insists on a ďproperĒ shower every day (which I assume means water running vs turning it off while she soaps up), then youíre probably going to need to bite the bullet and get a watermaker.

...

Good luck and have fun this winter!
No she wets down, turns off, soaps up, turns on and rinses. I did teach her that much.

tbh I think the biggest culprit is the head. I'm going to keep a gallon bucket or something in there for flushing with sw.
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