PAM SAYS: Filtering the Tank Water In Your Boat


You know it is so wonderful that I learn something new all the time, and that I can perhaps help others to know about interesting equipment they can have on their boats.  Almost everything on our boat, as we were building it, came from other peoples’ great ideas.  So I thank them all for helping us to have a better boat, a better cruising time, and giving me the opportunity to share their information.

Today, once again I must thank the “Women Who Sail” Facebook page for giving me the idea for this new Pam Says.  Every time I hear of, or think of, something that may improve your life aboard your boat is an inspiration to share it more with others.  Thank you!

With that said, let’s talk about really good drinking and cooking water that you store aboard your boat in your tanks.  This makes a huge difference not only to taste and enjoyment of drinking fresh clean water, but it is a health issue as well. And also it is an issue about maintenance of your water tanks big time!  If you keep those tanks clean and fresh, all the time, you should have no maintenance to speak of keeping those tanks contaminant free for your clean drinking water.

inlineFilterHere are some Pam Says Tips for keeping your tanks clean, fresh water, and no maintenance for those tanks!

First, no matter where you are you should always put water from the dock, from jerry cans, from catchments through a filter of some sort.  This is especially important where fresh water is suspect like the Bahamas, Indonesia, Africa, the islands in the Pacific, and yes, even in Europe or anywhere like in Florida where water storage tanks at marinas are sometimes, and more often all the time, stored under the salt water level. We will talk about fuel as well in another blog! Watch for it!

Here are some ideas that have worked really well on KANDARIK.  Get an in line filter that has water hose fittings and when filling up from a dock with a hose, always attach the docks hose end to the filter and pre-filter the water from the marina before it goes into the tank.  I have a photo here of a filter we use that we purchased from West Marine.  As you can see it has the barbs for common 1/2 inch hose line for most hoses that go from tanks to spigots.   But this same filter was purchased with common water hose fittings on it instead of the hose barbs. All you have to do is attach the hose to the filter, hang the hose with the filter over your lifelines, and poise the filter over you deck fill.  And Voila, the water is filtered before it even goes into your tanks!

Then, it gives you twice the filtering if you install the same kind of filter, in line using the 1/2 inch barbs model, from your tank to a dedicated spigot in your sink.  See my attached photo of all my spigots!!!

Because we use so much less than what the filter can filter, we change these filters if used full time only one every couple of years.  They are inexpensive, they work, and our drinking water is always delicious and clean.  And a bonus is that our tanks stay sweet and fresh at all times. I do put one capful of bleach in each 35 gallon tank whenever I fill them up.  That is all I do for maintenance.  That is all that is ever used and it works perfectly.

SPIGOTSWhen looking at my galley sink, note it is always nice to have a salt water tap as well for cleaning dishes, pots and pans, fresh caught fish, etc. without using any of your precious fresh water.  Instead of putting in another through hull fitting for the salt water tap, we just Tee’d off the salt water intake for our engine cooling system.  And, besides the hand pump for the filtered water coming from the tank to the sink hand pump, the two other spigots you see in the photo are used for unfiltered water from our tank and salt water from out engine intake, both used for no hands pumping with two foot pumps!! I hope this helps you as it worked so well for us.

Do we have a water maker?  You bet we do! See my blog post about my maintenance free, no charge, water maker on my deck.  We lived for six and half years sailing around the world with our two small children, and never needed a water maker!  Honestly we didn’t.  And we did not want the extra high maintenance of a water maker. We let Mother Nature do all the work for us!