Wednesday, November 9, 2011

But what about water?

A common question we are asked is how we get water aboard for washing, showering, drinking, etc. Like so many things on a boat, it depends.

We have a spigot at our dock that is connected to the city's water supply. For the most part, all of our water passes through that spigot. As for getting the water from the spigot into our shower, glasses, etc., we have a couple options.

We have a 267-gallon water tank that is built into our boat. Because 267 gallons of water is quite heavy (over 2000 pounds), the tank is located low in the boat for stability. We can fill the tank with fresh water by attaching a hose from the spigot to our water tank, which has an filling point on deck:

Once full, it will last for about about a week before it needs to be refilled. We are able to monitor our water level from inside the boat, which helps prevent us from running out of water at an inopportune time. As you can see from the picture below, we've recently filled up:

There is an electric pump that pressurizes the water in a smaller tank, and the smaller tank supplies pressurized water to all of our faucets and showers throughout the boat (it works pretty much like a Super Soaker). The faucets work exactly like a faucet in a house with one exception: because the pressurized tank is small, the water pressure fluctuates as the pressurized tank loses its pressure and is refilled/repressurized from the big tank.

Our second option is to bypass the water tank entirely and connect our boat directly to the spigot with a hose, via this attachment point in our aft cockpit:

Because city water arrives pressurized, we don't need to use our pump or pressure tank and are treated to an endless supply of water with a steady pressure. There are two downsides to this method, however. First, after sitting in the water hose overnight, the water smells like plastic in the morning when we turn on the shower. The smell goes away quickly, but we don't like the idea of drinking water that is on the verge of smelling like plastic. Second, we have to use our water tank every once in awhile to keep mold from growing in it, and switching back and forth is irritating. So we usually just fill the water tank every week and use the pump, fluctuating pressure and all.

We also have the ability to get fresh water without using the spigot at all. We have a water maker on the boat that turns seawater into fresh water. It produces around 20 gallons an hour, which is plenty. But, with a spigot next to our boat, we haven't had reason to use the water maker yet. That will have to wait for the Bahamas.

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