Maerin makes water!

A frequent topic of discussion since our time in the Bahamas has been the water situation aboard, particularly when at anchor for any extended time. We generally go into a conservation mode, with no on-board laundry, short navy showers, very limited dog washing, and no boat washing. It works, generally allowing us to go about three weeks on the nearly 300 gallons of water we carry on board. Some sailing cruisers would chide us that that’s really not conservation, and some of course have all but told us we’re really not real cruisers either since we can cruise in comfort, and you’re not a real cruiser unless you throw your clothes away when you return from the Bahamas. But that’s another discussion.

The conclusion we drew from our frequent discussions was that the capability to make our own water would be a substantial improvement in our cruising life. It would enable us to wash down the boat after those frequently sloppy passages, rinse the dogs, rinse dive gear, and do laundry on board without being dockside. The ability to simply rinse down the decks with fresh water every couple of days would be a huge improvement, since saltwater rinsing does little to clean, and contributes to the general feeling of living in filth while in water conservation mode.

I had previously looked into watermakers, visiting with different reps during our boat show visits, and perusing the wealth of information available online. A few emails to Village Marine Tec settled the choice of a “No-Frills” model with a capacity of 450 gallons/day. We did the math on our usage, based on our previous years’ cruising, and determined that the 450 would give us the capacity we wanted. The “No-Frills” is modular, allowing installation to be tailored to the room available and is manually controlled, cutting substantial cost.

Installation began with the addition of a new deck wash pump and flush mounted connection in the cockpit. The pump is a duplicate to the seawater washdown pump located in the bow that serves as an anchor washdown, and provides about 5 gal/min at about 60 psi. Great pressure, enough volume. The freshwater pump is located between the freshwater tanks in the lazarette, and draws water from those tanks. A line was extended to the existing freshwater supply to the bow connection, with a valve installed to enable a quick switch to supply house water from the new pump as a backup to the domestic pump. The location of the washdown quick connect port provides a hose connection that’s convenient for washing decks, rinsing the dink, and hosing dogs and dive gear on the swim platform. No more salty dogs in the house!  Deck washdown now becomes a simple matter of  plugging in a hose at the bow or the stern now. Although it’s not directly a part of the watermaker installation, it never made sense to add one before without the ability to replenish the water that we’d use with a freshwater washdown in the cockpit.


Installation of the complete system entailed about 5 days all told. Addition of a new 220V breaker, and the related wiring, a total of about 200 ft. of hose and tubing altogether, and custom fabrication of mounts for filters, valves, and a TDS (total dissolved solids) controller to monitor product output, the only automated part of the install, and not a part of the package from Village Marine Tec.


With a capacity of about 18 gals. per hour, the watermaker will produce enough water during our typical 3 hour generator recharge cycle  to supply us for several days. Water production will not be required during every recharge cycle, but we have the option to tank up if we anticipate increased demand as a result of our planned activity or guests. The thing we’re  most looking forward to is the ability to keep the boat clean, especially a washdown after those sloppy passages where we take a lot of seawater across the bow!

3 Responses to “Maerin makes water!”

  1. Bill and Vivian Wood on 11 Sep 2009 at 2:13 PM #

    Steve and Barb
    Sounds like you’re ready to head around the world! Glad to hear that the boat work goes well. Are you heading south soon? Has the house sold?
    Bill and Vivian

  2. Shawn on 29 Sep 2009 at 12:03 PM #

    Warm water and weather calling your name yet? October is just a few days away!

  3. the eichers on 15 Oct 2009 at 5:52 PM #

    where are you two these days? We should catch up this weekend – are you around?