Thoughts on Watermakers ?

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Wbr2974
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Thoughts on Watermakers ?

Postby Wbr2974 » Wed Aug 08, 2018 9:10 am

I know many PDQ owners spend time each year in the Bahamas and I was wondering people's thoughts on
having a watermaker aboard? Im aware of all the maintenance issues with them but many people I've talked to say they
wouldn't go cruising again without one.. if anyone has one they particularly like or dislike I would love to hear about it.
Where would it be installed? Thru hull location etc. Seems like a big diy project but doable I think....

Bill,

Chateaux
MV 34 075
Key Largo

duetto
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Re: Thoughts on Watermakers ?

Postby duetto » Wed Aug 08, 2018 10:16 am

hi,

before we went to the bahamas we went thru the same thoughts. we've been to abacos, eleuthera and exumas to staniel cay.

couple of questions: 1) do you anchor out a lot 2) where will you be spending most of your time 3) how much water do you use a day 4) fresh water toilet.

if you are staying in abacos and to a great extent eleuthera i would say don't bother. you can get water though it's mainly r/o and on the pricey side. we use about 10-12 gal/day which includes cooking, washing, water based drinks, 2 showers but we have a salt water toilet. this allows us to go 5 days before refilling. if we were anchoring out in the exumas all season i'd probably get one. we only go to exumas for a month. also i'm not sure my wife would give up the space.
john & diane cummings
duetto mv34 #23

Wbr2974
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Re: Thoughts on Watermakers ?

Postby Wbr2974 » Wed Aug 08, 2018 2:34 pm

John,

I was actually hoping you would reply as I've seen you spent a lot of time over there.
I have an 05 with a fresh water head so I'm sure that will require more frequent trips to marinas than for you..
As far as anchoring I do plan on being at anchor or a mooring more than at a dock. My traveling companion
Is coming from New Zealand and only has a three month visa so I'm thinking the Abacos is probably our best bet.
Leave from Stuart to west end then island hoping, or leave key Largo to Bimini and up.
Do you find the water you buy over there ok for drinking or just cooking and showering?
I've been over there a few times but never on my own boat and this is still a new boat to me.
I recently saw the Rainman portable watermaker which runs off its own Honda generator.. expensive though.
Was really hoping to be able to spend a week without having to get water but that doesn't seem possible unless of course I stop showering which I don't think she would appreciate.

Bill

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Re: Thoughts on Watermakers ?

Postby Expatriate » Wed Aug 08, 2018 7:44 pm

Bill,

We have an '05 that came with a water maker installed by one of the previous owners. It was installed and never used for two years. They say that leaving a water maker unused for so long will ruin the membrane, but it worked perfectly. It makes 20 gallons per hour so we run it once a week for 2-3 hours. We use about 7 gallons per day, but we would use a good bit more if I had not converted the head to salt water. This unit is 120 V AC so we have to run the generator. The high pressure pump and the 40 inch membrane are mounted under the main seating area forward of the dining table. The lift pump is mounted under the floor just aft of the door to the head. The sea water intake is Teed off of the through hull for the sea water wash down pump just under the floor in the head. The control panel is mounted in one of the lockers just aft and inboard of the head door. The unit was made by Quality Water Works, but they are no longer in business. It looks much like a Cruise RO unit.

We anchor out exclusively and many places we go simply do not have marinas. Honestly, in the Bahamas, I would run the water maker in the marina as I have done before. RO water is nice. Our Parts Per Million of total dissolved solids is under 200. The water is very clean. We would never go back. We no longer hang out in the Abacos or the Exumas as both areas are too populated for our tastes. In Eleuthera, we like Governor's Harbor and Rock Sound. As far as we know we cannot get water either place, and fuel has to be jugged. We also like Cat Island, Conception, and the Raggeds. We spend most of our time in Long Island. We can get dockside water there, but it is not so great. There is a marina at Stella Maris, but we hear it's a bit of a dump.

Tim
M/V 068

duetto
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Re: Thoughts on Watermakers ?

Postby duetto » Wed Aug 08, 2018 8:27 pm

hi bill,

another thing is do you plan to do this on a regular basis. if the answer is no or not sure and you see yourself hanging around abacos i would not make the investment for your first trip. first, the cays, afaik, only have ro water which is as good as it gets. we have gotten water at grand cay, green turtle, guana and elbow. big abaco is well/city water and you have to be careful about quality. we operate off our tank for all water. we added a seagull filter which we've used for drinking and cooking for 14 seasons. if we're going anchoring for a longer period we'll fill 4-5 gal jugs so we have about 90-100 gallons.

with all this said, if you venture south for extended periods i would probably follow tim's advice.
john & diane cummings

duetto mv34 #23

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Re: Thoughts on Watermakers ?

Postby Expatriate » Fri Aug 10, 2018 2:43 pm

Bill,

I essentially agree with John. If you start out in the Abacos, you can do without a water maker. It is fairly civilized with half a dozen marinas and even a nice grocery store in Marsh Harbor. It is also a good place for friends to fly into.

Tim

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Re: Thoughts on Watermakers ?

Postby JSLExplores » Sat Aug 11, 2018 1:25 pm

I have a Watermakers.com 20 gallon/hr ac modular system. I often think it's producing closer to 25-30 gph as the tanks fill up quite nicely for us when we run it. It was installed by Watermakers in Stuart, FL but it's a little cheaper to do it Fort Lauderdale as that's where they're located. Very professional job and because the same company owns, or is part of watermakers air and staniel cay marina in the Exumas, getting service is a breeze if you need it. I haven't needed any other service but I did get some oil for the watermaker at Staniel Cay for an oil change. The odd time I've had a question they answer the phone right away.
It doesn't take any maintenance other than oil changes and the odd filter. Because I only use it in clear water my filters seem to last forever. I'm on my second prefilter after 12 months. I fresh water flush every week if I'm not using it and I fresh water flush for a few minutes after using in salt water. I don't pickle mine and that works for me because we live aboard.
We spend a lot of time in George Town and island hopping. We just love the convenience of not worrying about where we're going to get water.
In our last boat we had a 6 gph water maker and we made that work too. We're doing the Great Loop this year and I've even used it to purify the fresh water in the lakes at times. I just keep the pressure lower and keep to the 20 gph rate so I don't force too much water through the system.
When in the Bahamas, we run the watermaker for around 2 hours every second day. At the same time we're charging up the battery bank and we'll even do some baking so we really take advantage of the generator time.
Cheers

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Re: Thoughts on Watermakers ?

Postby duetto » Sun Aug 12, 2018 10:31 am

hi,

can you give us an idea of what it cost and where it is located?

thanks,
john & diane cummings

duetto mv34 #23

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Re: Thoughts on Watermakers ?

Postby JSLExplores » Tue Aug 14, 2018 9:31 am

duetto wrote:hi,

can you give us an idea of what it cost and where it is located?

thanks,


Most of the components are in the Starboard forward hatch. The biggest component is the high pressure pump and it sits on the shelf. I still have lots of space for storage in the bottom.
I don't remember the exact cost. I'm pretty sure It was somewhere around $5,000 plus installation. I wouldn't get the autoflush again so you might consider saving some money there. I'd also look at the DC unit. I've installed 2 350w solar panels and they might be able to run the system.
John
PDQ 34
Float Her

Wbr2974
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Re: Thoughts on Watermakers ?

Postby Wbr2974 » Sat Aug 18, 2018 8:58 am

I recently contacted Water Makers about the ISL 400 which is there best selling RO system.
It seems like a really good water maker and if not for other boat issues I would probably go with.
They are running a special this month. Basically the price comes to $6k with tax but not installed.
They said most people install it themselves and it is not that difficult.
The Rainman portable water maker seems like a good alternative at eithe 4K or 5k depending on which unit you choose.
I do like the ability to take it off the boat when You don't need it or if you buy a new boat you can take it with you...
Thanks for all the insight it helpful to hear from both camps..

Bill
MV34 075


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