Aug 092012

While living without electricity is somewhat optional, depending on your comfort level, living without fresh water is a slightly different matter.  Keeping fresh water on a live aboard vessel is fairly important, especially if you are planning on a long voyage.  Otherwise, by the third day out or so your crew will be getting a tad thirsty and be mutinying and stuff.  So it pays to have some sort of system for keeping fresh water on board.

Most vessels like the Fritter have a simple water storage tank on board.  It most commonly is built in under the v-berth in the bow.  (The bow is the front part of the vessel, the really pointy end).  The tank has a fitting on the deck someplace where you can run a hose into it and fill it.  Down below there are hoses running from the bottom back to whatever sinks, heads, or anything else you might have that requires fresh water.  It’s a pretty simple system.  Most any marina will have fresh water available, at a price, and you can fill up when you pull in.

More advanced and larger vessels, the type that go for long trips out to sea may have a watermaker.  Something like this:

They take seawater and extract the fresh water out of it.  These things are big, expensive, ($11,000 and up), and high maintenance.  Impractical for most live aboards.  So if you are living aboard then you are stuck with getting water transported onto your vessel, by hose, by jug, or by a whole lot of rain.

As for things that use water, other than humans, most vessels will have a sink or two with faucets, a head (toilet), and maybe a shower.  Since water can be a bit of a chore to transport on board, it pays to be somewhat conservative in your usage.

What I have:  The Fritter has a storage tank up there in the pointy end, and a couple of small sinks.  Nothing is hooked up.   I haven’t had a chance to see what I need to get on board water yet but I am assuming that I will need to replace everything.

For starters I have no idea what shape the water tank is in.  Does it leak, is it badly corroded inside, I don’t know.  Easy way is to plug the drain, fill it, and see what happens.  No doubt I have to run some sort of disinfectant through it to clean it out.  As for the sinks, the one in the galley has a nice crack in it that is sealed but probably leaks.  The faucet is no longer useful.  In the head, same situation.  There is no shower or head at the moment.

One thing I could never figure out is why have two sinks.  They are literally within reach of each other.  Makes no sense.

What I want:  Assuming the tank is in good shape I would like to run all new hose to the sink in the galley and one to the head for the future toilet that I want to put in.  I will need a new faucet, some sort of pump, plus hoses and fittings.  You can’t use pvc or hard pipe on a vessel.  There is too much movement and eventually a hard pipe will crack.  So it will all have to be flexible hose.

Reality:  This is not a high priority project at the moment.  As long as I am in the slip I can get water.  There is a spigot at the electric outlet where I can put in a hose and run it to a faucet at the galley.  Not a big deal.  For things like the head, showers, and laundry I use the bathhouse.  As things stand now, I can just tote water on board with a couple of jugs and live with it.  I’m not using that much so less cost per month.  With hoses, faucets, and fittings, this project would run about $500 or so.  Not a huge amount but still, it adds up.

As long as I am not living on the hook or on a mooring ball, unlikely at this point, and as long as I have no plans to sail the seven seas, another unlikely scenario, I am pretty comfortable with the set up I currently have.  Any changes and I will either have to upgrade the system, or get real thirsty.

Capt. Fritter

  One Response to “Living Aboard, Fresh Water…”

  1. still the fritter is a little dream.
    kind of like camping out… or camping on
    the water as it were.
    at least you don’t have to worry about cold weather.
    a small hike to the marina showers is not all that bad.
    it’s still a fascinating way to live i think.