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Old 02-08-2019, 12:59   #1
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Water System Trick Question

Good evening,

I'm happy to say I finally have started the live aboard life. I've been aboard a month now and settled in just fine. I'm working on various projects, one of which is the water system. I'm trying to come up with a cheap and dirty way to provide the boat with limitless water without completely changing the water system. My idea was to tie into an old outdoor shower line, and providing water from the slip tap directly into the system. A gather that as long as I don't overdo the PSI, it should be able to feed the taps without having to run the pump and drain the tanks.

I have a small crappy diagram to explain further. Let me know if you have any experience in this and/or if I'm not accounting for something. The only concern I have is the water pressure going back through the pump, filling up and the tanks and overflowing them.

https://imgur.com/nVy4e29.png
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Old 02-08-2019, 13:11   #2
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Re: Water System Trick Question

They make water inlet connectors that also have built in pressure limiters which are very important.


Most water pumps have check valves ibn them to avoid backflow concerns into the tanks. If not, just add one.


Good luck.


You will receive many expressions of concern about making sure whenever you leave the boat to turn off the water at the dock tap, and they are well founded.
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Old 02-08-2019, 13:21   #3
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Re: Water System Trick Question

Concern, yes exactly. Just fill the tank. Fresh water from shore sinks boats.
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Old 02-08-2019, 13:25   #4
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Re: Water System Trick Question

This looks good on paper. To clarify Jedi's statement-- But what happens if there is a leak in your system? My fast-n-dirty estimate is that the water will enter the boat faster than the bilge pump can drain it.

What you are suggesting could result in sinking your new home.
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Old 02-08-2019, 13:50   #5
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Re: Water System Trick Question

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What you are suggesting could result in sinking your new home.
Yet boats come with the external fitting already installed . Mine has one and the thought scares me enough that I have never used it (even though I've never had a fresh water line in the boat break/leak).

I just haven't found it too much trouble to just refill the tanks every couple of weeks and just use the boat's potable water pump.
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Old 02-08-2019, 13:55   #6
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Re: Water System Trick Question

I'll have to look into that then. I figured boats have systems set in place for this. I guess I'll have to consider it more with those words of warning considered. I tend to go through water quickly, but only because I am washing dishes. I guess the better option would be to use the hose when I want to do dishes. I could also do dishes outside, but darn it I'm lazy! haha. I've always looked into wireless tab toggles to turn the water on and off from inside the boat. I don't tend to leave the marina tap on in case the hose bursts.
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Old 02-08-2019, 14:06   #7
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Re: Water System Trick Question

maybe just learn to turn the water off while washing the dishes and then back on (slowly) to rinse back off

2 of us on the boat full time washing ourselves and the dishes uses 50 gal every 5-7 days when innion save water mode
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Old 02-08-2019, 14:17   #8
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Re: Water System Trick Question

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maybe just learn to turn the water off while washing the dishes and then back on (slowly) to rinse back off

2 of us on the boat full time washing ourselves and the dishes uses 50 gal every 5-7 days when innion save water mode
That's how I normally do it. I don't even shower on the boat and I turn the water pump off when not using the sink. Even with a 30 gallon bow tank and 17 gallon starboard side tank, I seem to go through a lot of a single person. I guess I'll just have to watch my use.
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Old 02-08-2019, 14:23   #9
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Re: Water System Trick Question

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>>>>>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
I guess I'll just have to watch my use.

There are water saver gizmos you can insert into the end of the faucet to easily shut off water. Look in the big box stores or your local hardware store plumbing section. We have one with a small button that is great.
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Old 02-08-2019, 19:32   #10
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Re: Water System Trick Question

How accessible are the hoses? Could you install two ball valves (better than check valves), one after the pressure pump so that it can't back-fill the tanks if the check valves in the pump fail, and another in a convenient part of the dock hose so that you don't have to get off the boat to turn off the water for safety?
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Old 02-08-2019, 20:42   #11
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Re: Water System Trick Question

How many times have you had to fill your water tanks in the month ?There's no shoreside showers with unlimited hot water at your marina ?
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Old 03-08-2019, 08:50   #12
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Re: Water System Trick Question

As stated, the risks are entirely obvious.

You might like to get a rider on your hull insurance policy (in the section called "Specified Perils") covering this particular risk. If you do NOT have such a rider, I doubt that the underwriters' would pay out if your boat sinks as a consequence of being left unattended with shore-side water under pressure "permanently" connected to it.

I doubt that any sensible underwriter would give you such a rider without a "clear survey" from an accredited surveyor, and I doubt that an accredited surveyor would give you a clear survey if your boat were fitted to accommodate this.

Better safe than sorry!

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Old 03-08-2019, 09:02   #13
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Re: Water System Trick Question

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How accessible are the hoses? Could you install two ball valves (better than check valves), one after the pressure pump so that it can't back-fill the tanks if the check valves in the pump fail, and another in a convenient part of the dock hose so that you don't have to get off the boat to turn off the water for safety?

While quite true, I have check valves on my 32 year old boat that are still OEM and still working just fine. With ball valves it becomes an operational issue.
I think we all can (and do ) agree that check valves don't belong on bilge pump hoses, but otherwise they are just fine in clean water.
They are employed on almost every single pump in service on boats and in industry. In clean water.
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Old 03-08-2019, 09:24   #14
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Re: Water System Trick Question

I knew a guy who did that. His boat sunk and I mean sunk.
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Old 03-08-2019, 10:06   #15
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Re: Water System Trick Question

Just to emphasize again: careful hooking up to municipal supplies...your boat is now connected to an effectively unlimited water supply...a leak can sink your boat.

I know first hand of several that went to the bottom that way...including a nearby liveaboard neighbor years ago. This neighbor used to shut off the muni water when he left the boat...one day he forgot...oops.

For this reason, when we lived aboard we always just filled the tanks as needed and kept a hose connected to muni water on the stern rail.
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