Why you don’t NEED a Watermaker to live on the hook! | ⛵ Sailing Britaly ⛵

Hi guys, in this sailing tips video we’re
going to talk about how you can live on a small boat without a water maker we
don’t have a water maker on this boat and we only have 120 liters water
storage onboard this is our water maker a 20 liter jerrycan. It’s till got the price
on it it was four euros 40 cents! The reason we’re making this video is
because we read recently about somebody who’s preparing a boat for a long voyage
where they wants to live aboard at anchor for long periods and they were saving up
money to buy a water maker which they were struggling to afford but they
thought that it was necessary to buy one in order to avoid staying in marinas
well that’s just not true there are two different ways of doing it the first way
is what we did when we went on our honeymoon to Corsica we stayed on the
boat for 23 days we were anchored every single night and at the time we weren’t
using this jerrycan method but what we did was we conserved our water so we used
very little water – brushing our teeth with a tiny amount for example – and half
way through the holiday we went into a port we didn’t stay overnight but we
just paid to get the water you can also find free water and lots of petrol
stations so if you go to get fuel for your boat often you can get free water
anyway the second method in our opinion is the best and that is just to take a
jerrycan with you every time you go ashore then you can find a free water
fountain pretty much everywhere you refill your tank and put it in your
tender when you go back to your boat you transfer it to your water tank and doing
this we’ve just spent a couple of weeks at anchor and when we got back the tank
was still full because every couple of days we were filling the tank and put it
into our main water tank so it’s very simple you don’t have the expense or the
maintenance of all the hassle of owning a watermaker so it’s a valid way of
doing it and this could make the difference for someone who’s buying a
boat or preparing themselves to go on a big journey this extra expense could be
the thing that’s stopping them from being able to go and do it so you don’t
need a watermaker necessarily in our opinion on a boat of this size a
water maker isn’t practical because not only do you have to find the space to
fit the watermaker which would take up some room we could find the room for
that on board but the problem is the power requirements for a watermaker are
huge so on top of the water maker you then have to have an external generator
for a very very large amount of extra power generation just to run your water
maker so from that sense in our minds it’s not really practical for a smaller
boat also they’re really expensive not just to buy but also to maintain the
membranes are very expensive and they take a lot of maintenance a lot of the
time you’re going to your boat and you’ll be spending time fixing the water
maker rather than enjoying your boat so they do have advantages I’m not saying
that nobody should have a water maker it depends on your circumstances but what
we’re saying is you don’t need a water maker you can make it work without one if you have a bigger boat then you’ve
got room for the water maker and it’s spares and you’ve also got room for the
extra power generation required to run the wate maker so the calculation may
be different on a larger boat but in our minds on a small boat around this size
30 foot a water makers not really practical and you don’t need one because
this is a water maker do you agree yes or no comment below and let us know what
you think before you leave check out the rest of
our videos we’ve got lots of different kind of videos coming boat recipes boat
maintenance sailing blogs sailing tips all kinds of different stuff if you like
what you see then please subscribe to our channel so you don’t miss our future
videos thanks for watching we’ll see you soon

86 thoughts on “Why you don’t NEED a Watermaker to live on the hook! | ⛵ Sailing Britaly ⛵

  • This video had to be uploaded again after a technical hitch, so if you received two notifications for it we apologise for the inconvenience. We also lost all our comments, which is a shame as we had some great comments from people on the first upload. Fair winds! Chris & Rossella 👍

  • 🍀i would get a k35 recon if i was crossing oceans you can rig the scuppers on some boats to collect rainwater , or the foot of the mainsail to flow into a bucket is cool.force 4 do a survival still🍀

  • Great video.  I would just like to point out that the plastic jerry "can" , if stored on deck, would be subject to UV damage.  Eventually, (in this case, very quickly) the "can" shown would break.

  • Gutted I was looking forward to making my 5 dollar water maker and all along it was just a jerry can to carry water in from the main land. Great idea if your sailing continually off shore, but no good if your sailing the world. Great video's by the way keep up the good work 🙂

  • Seems to me the advantages of a water maker is for small boats with small holding tanks, that are being used for ocean crossings or remote anchorages for extended periods of time. What is a necessity for some is a convenience for others. No wrong answer. Just different strokes.

  • I have a 30 foot Grampian with about 30 gal. of water and have never always had enough water. I carry an extra 10 gal of water on deck but have rarely needed to use it.

  • Hey guys, love your video. Chris you can were stripy shirts, you'll get to much aliasing on the video best to chose solid colours, but not blue or green unless you want someone to do funny things to it like make you disappear.

  • Great video. There are portable RO water makers that require little storage space and user either solar power or a small portable generator… but are still expensive. I would also look into getting is to get a water purifier kit that fits onto your jerry can. These are popular with back packers and long distance overlanders. Great option when the fresh water source is suspect. p.s. Based on another post, there are NATO rated jerry cans that are highly resistant to salt and UV damage. They cost more than 5.00 USD though.

  • Totally agree with you guys! We've spent 6 months at anchor without a watermaker so far and don't feel the need for it. We have less capacity in our tank than you guys (50L), so we have 4x25L jerry cans on deck. If we are in anchorages with clear water and can use the salt water intake for washing up etc, then we can go without a water refill for over a month. 👍🏻

  • I'm in the Med and I'm keen for a watermaker, saving my pennies. The benefits are as massive as the price (£5,000).

    Filling up with water in the med is not as simple as just going to the fuel dock. In many places the fuel dock has no water, you then have to move somewhere else. The record for me was being moved three times between marina and port authority while trying to get water.

    When you can get water at a fuel dock it is often very cheap or even free, but some places charge per 30 mins (often as much as €15) and purposely turn down the pressure. When you can get water it is often brackish, not a huge issue but there nether the less.

    20l bidon, or jerry cans are great. I use two, but filling them up and carrying them to a town potable water fountain (if the town has one) gets old fast. I did this perhaps 5 times in Siracusa.

    But the biggest benefit as far as I'm concerned is weight. This summer I always filled my 300l tank(s) so I wouldn't have to go looking for water. That's 300kg of weight to lug around from anchorage to anchorage, island to island, or country to country. On a smaller catamaran like mine, that could be the difference in 0.5-1knt in speed, which makes a huge difference over say 300 miles (Sicily to Greece). If I had a watermaker I would only maybe carry 50-100l instead. But I'm with you. Go now, worry about a watermaker later.

  • A water maker is a wonderful piece of equipment when cruising on a small boat with a 35l water tank in the dry season when it does not rain for 6 months. You may be able to do without but your video makes no sense for some of us who venture away from marinas and other places where potable water is available. Perhaps you could rename your video “Why I don’t need a water maker”.

  • Instead of a water maker, we set up a rain catchment system. If we don't have enough rain to fill the tanks, then we go the jerry can route you mentioned.

  • Sailing offshore for extended periods (crossing the Pacific, for example), I would get a water maker.  Every other scenario, no….

  • Still if you can afford a water maker and you want one, buy one. The "emerald steel" YouTube channel has a good episode on the water maker they build themselves.

  • Have you always had a source of clean water? That’s one thing I’ve been thinking if going on remote locations…

  • You could spend a little money , and build a solar water still. make a square float with a metal pan inside painted black, 4 triangleular glass pieces form a pyramid sun heats the water fresh water condenseness on the glass, drains into jug, which then pumps it into storace tank. use solar panels to run 2 small 12 volt pumps.

  • Nice job on this video. Your suggestions are great. By the way, rationing water on long voyages is one reason I have a pet camel on board.

  • I really like this video. We are planning to do the jerry can method in the Caribbean since we are in a small boat on a budget. I like the idea of bringing a jerry can to shore every time to make it a habit of refilling.

  • Our boat is a bit larger but we still don’t have a watermaker although we have researched it thoroughly. We are lucky in that our boat carries 1000 liters of water but unfortunate in that it is in two built in aluminum tanks. We are a bit worried about it for drinking water so when not offshore we drink ro (reverse osmosis) water from grocery stores. We also put our our water through 3 filters going into the tanks and two coming out so we do our best to minimize aluminum intake even though it the most common metal in the air we breath.

    Life is full of compromise but minimizing risk is hopefully a worthwhile endeavor.

    Enjoy and keep up the good fun.

  • No thanks, I'll take the watermaker. For 2500 usd you can build one that will put a lot of water into your tank. If you can't afford that then I agree you don't need one, but in my opinion, I wouldn't cruise on a boat that small anyway. But to each his/her own.

  • And I thought our 400 litres was a bit sparse. However after parking next to a large Bennie which not only had a water maker, a washing machine and a dishwasher, I’m thinking who had the most fun here. Probably they did!

  • You are absolutely correct. Water maker is a recent addition to cruising boats. We have a 40ft cat and collect our water from the rain off the cockpit roof. We top up when refueling and never had to resort to Jerry cans!

  • Allora ha ragione il comandante Manenti quando dice che gli inglesi si bevono l'acqua dei serbatoi!!! Che tirchi questi inglesi poi se la prendono con gli scozzesi.

  • Cloth raincatcher with a hose to fill your jerrycans, which can be poured through a filter into your tanks is the most effective. If in doubt, Eric Hiscock usually has the answer buried in his books somewhere.

  • Ok help me out here, I don't know enough about the subject. How often do you guys shower when you're anchored and only have enough water for cooking, brushing teeth, drinking water?

  • Heck, I bought a watermaker for my kayak. Some of the trips I take are more than seven days between fresh water sources, and space is limited. I pack a maintenance kit as well. Even with that, I still make sure I have around 12 L in case I do encounter issues with the pump. However, I agree. If you're docked up next to a water source, use that first.

  • Well, not quite agree. We reduced the size of our watertank from 90 to 40 gallons and there is your room for the watermaker. Our watermaker is the most valuable accessory on board. Instead of consuming 3 gallons a day during our Atlantic crossings we use 15 gallons, we can rinse the dishes, we cook with fresh water and the food is not salty anymore, we take showers and we flush the head also with fresh water eliminating odors. I made the watermaker out of salvaged parts and for sure there is no yearly maintenance cost. We disinfect the membranes using potassium metabisulfite available for almost nothing in any agricultural/wine makers shop. The membranes last for over 8 years now and they have more than 1000 hours behind them, still producing drinking water.
    I enjoy your channel even if we don’t always agree.

  • Hi guy ..do not leave the jerry can full of water in the sun, is not only a problem of UV degrade jerry cans …the plastic PP-PE-PET or other releases toxic substances.
    The release is proportional to time and temperature.
    Fair wind.

  • Correct, you do not 'need' a water maker. Plus I completely agree that one does not make as much sense on smaller boat like yours. Do not agree so much about your assessment of hassles of maintenance though. It is more replacing hassles of manually lugging water onboard (such as your humongous jerry can) with hassles of maintaining water maker system. Something that is less strenous work involved. Price ofc is always a consideration, but if someone is really wanting to spend for water maker, more than likely they have already deemed the high cost worthy of spending.

  • I thought this was going to be a useful vid..instead we get "just look around ashore..there's bound to be some water that's stuff is EVERYwhere"…..

  • Your jerry can option is only valid when you stay within proximity of shore based water sources. On a longer crossing your jerry can is just deck decoration. Like many other boat options, what you "need" is primarily based on where you sail, how far off shore and how long your crossings will be.

  • Like your video and for your situation your solution for water isn't a bad idea especially since you are predominantly in the Med. However, building your own water maker similar to the one on Emerald Steel, can be very effective and efficient. They have had no problems and it is very cost effective. Check out the video, it's a good alternative. Especially if you are going to cross oceans or sail the South Pacific region.

  • Sailing for me was about independence and self sufficiency. The necessity to go ashore, find a supply and get enough water back to the boat for simple necessities like drinking and washing convinced me to get a water maker. I bought a small one, not 50 litres an hour, 5 litres an hour which easily ran off the solar. Worked fine, never any problems. Always careful not to run it in harbour or marina. When I did sell it I got the price I paid for it. I used jerry cans for years on my 27ft'er.

  • What if you go into tropical areas that you can’t drink the local water and if for some reason you get into trouble blown off coarse yeah sure you can do without one but you haven’t got that security and safety of always having water available it could be a life or death decision sailing a broad

  • Not only do you not need a water maker, but you can tow floating water distillers (solar/condensation), and semi-flexible solar panels floated with pool noodles off your stern. This way, you can put these things into the water for more fresh water or electricity as needed, and not be taking up space or blocking out sunshine with excessive rack mounts cluttering onboard, and just pull these out of the water to stack and store very much more easily. these tactics make for great comfort and less cost as well as being able to live larger on a much smaller or faster boat.

  • That depends on how many days you will be away from a fresh water source.
    On average a human will need 2 liters (half gallon) a day , to maintain a healthy water content… 30 days out and you'll need to have brought 60 liters (16 gallons) do you have enough room on a 30 footer to store all those jerry cans (Water Jugs)… just an observation

  • Isn't funny how we have all of this water below us and we cant drink it ?

    I mean the sea water you cant drink it because you Will get a big problems

  • I wonder how much fuel it takes to make water. Because essentially, you are carrying fuel instead of water, so you still have to carry something. That is unless you have enough solar to make water.

  • You can also creatively use a pressure cooker to distill water , a pipe hooked up to the pressure release gives steam that can be cooled in a sink full of cool salt water…. The pressure cooker should be made of stainless steel, otherwise the salt water will corrode it horribly. Pressure cookers are a lot cheaper than RO machines

  • Having plenty of water is a nice luxury to have. I live on a power boat and have room, but my homemade 40 gph watermaker is components and is fitted in spare space. I make all my water, average run is about 1 hour every 2 days unless a lot of people are on board. Membranes will last 10 years if cared for and I flush with fresh water after running the watermaker. I f you don't use it for awhile, you pickle it. My maintenance probably doesn't average 10 minutes a week. Mine is made from items mostly on ebay and cost under $3000 US. I could make a smaller 12v one for less than $1000.

  • Wouldn't it depend on distance your sailing. If off shore or coastal and crew numbers?
    Watermakers are a requirment for a boat sailing off shore crossing oceans with 4 or more crew. If you are coastal sail nope don't need can dock fill up leave. If your crossing an ocean with 4 or more people with today's weather on a small boat 4tft or lower you can't carry enough water for your daily requirments. And with the weather being so iffy now may not get any rain. Are they a requirment, entirely depends on the sailing you are doing and how confident you are that you can carry enough water to survive the entier trip.
    Remmember you have to carry enough for the trip before you leave port if not coastal sailing and that's not an easy feat on a small tomor range boat. Unless ofcourse it is just 1 or 2 of you.

  • Most of our water use on board is for washing and we've been using our freshwater supply for it. We are concidering getting a foot pump for at least washing dishes and a rinse with fresh water

  • Agreed, you can also divert water from your bimini top during rain, a simple rope running from the bimini top into the tank filler cap will cause water to run down the rope into the tank. Just 1 method I've seen, I've seen people filling their dinghy, buckets on deck, the bigger issue is passage making without a water maker, eg a Pacific crossing is about 24 to 30 days. If you are a crew of 3 which is not many, although most boats are double handed, you need to be at about 10L a day, that's 300 litres, double your capacity, so if it doesn't rain you need to reduce that to 4 or 5 litres daily, not a lot, so expect to wash dishes and yourself in salt water with a fresh water rinse,

  • I can live without appliances but someone very close to me cannot! They are rendered useless without a watermaker. That's a life style issue rather than a necessity though. Long passages as mentioned below require them. A small 30L unit is compact and does not consume a lot of power… additional batteries and/or uprated charging can be run from the existing engine without the need for a separate generator. Showers, heads and wash down units all benefit from not using raw sea water. They are a bit like Radar and AIS – you can do without them, but….

  • I think it is a good idea to have a watermaker on a blue water boat. Not just to ensure you have water on a long passage, but also because you can convert one of your water tanks to a fuel tank to give extra range when an emergency situation calls for it.

  • So simple…that’s how we do it too…who needs a $5000 watermaker..There are MANY MANY sources of free water…and you will never be waiting in port to receive an expensive part to repair it!!! We have had one for 12 years and used it once…just once. It’s not just expensive to buy one, and run one, but parts too! GOOD VIDEO! awe hope to meet you someday!

  • I go in every 3or4 days,,5 gallon diesel jug and a gallon Arizona jug,,these seem to be the best for ruggedness and uv tolerance,,,also when the Arizona jug is finished for carrying water,,cut out the bottom,,it makes a great bailer for your dinghy,,with all that said,,,a water maker would be nice,,imagine,,fresh water showers instead of swimming each morning or washing your deck down with fresh water ,,,,,,,,,,,,,sorry,,,,what was I thinking? Well,,anyhow,,,that’s what I here,,,

  • In ur cases it is suitable if you go marinas over marinas, I’m planning a trip from Tanzania to mauritius, this is out sea trip- the watermaker is a must.

  • you can get what's called "whole house ro filter sys" and a booster pump for under $250.
    iv'e made tons of water for reef aquariums with one.
    beats the hell out of $5k.

  • Rain catchment is a thing… But for transoceanic voyages? I'd be nervous with only 30 gallons onboard.

  • I can live in luxury for 10 days on 2x 20L jerry cans. At the end of that 10 days I NEED a Laundromat (to wash me knickers) and a tap to refill the jerry cans.

  • You're on the money so far as a small boat goes, you have got the room for the resources, even if you have the money. But! Make sure that you have more than ample water for whatever your destination is. Being frugal with water on a boat is pretty much expected. If you have a larger boat with a lot of money, yee-ha.

  • Completly agree with you too. We crossed the Atlantic last year during 19 days. We were four people and used less than150 liters. Usually we pay only 2 euros/USD for 100 liters in Cabo verde or caribbean islands.

  • It’s a good idea, thank you. You could even improve it, I think, by collecting raindrops in your dinghy everytime it rains and pour it in the water tank.

  • Ive gone through all the trouble of finding water, filling cans , and then transporting heavy containers to the boat. It is hugely time consuming, and on top of everything you still have to be so frugal with your water. Its a pain in the arse. I now have a water maker , and believe me, its worth every cent.

  • Britaly Crew, I agree with your overall sentiment- it is entirely more than feasible to cruise without a water maker. Likewise, you don't need an inverter, a hot water heater, or plumbed and pressurized showers either. However, all mentioned make life a little more comfortable (when they are working) while cruising. Since I want my wife to be able to join me while cruising; and since she has a different level of required comforts than do I, then I will be installing a water maker, and invererter, and ensuring the water heater and plumbing are working correctly. Fair winds to you. Great videos, by the way. I hope to see you out there.

  • I love this video. We looked at a catamaran sailboat without a water maker, but it had 160 gallons of freshwater holding. So, it is probably easier and more economical to bring the boat to a dock and fill up. Great video.😀

  • Ohh we went into a large vessel, with2 water makers instead of 1 The 3 months we spend on sea, were half the time seeing whats going wrong with one of them

    So ee had to restrict the showers, and etc Eas a headache

    (The water maker has their membrane placed upsidedown, the service tokd us)

  • We circumnavigated in a 36’ Van de Stadt….. (ok so a much bigger boat than yours, but….) we took 3 years…..had no no water maker. Never felt the need of it. Won’t get one when we go again. We Had a coupla Jerry cans; stowed quite a few 1 or 2 litre (plastic😒) bottles in the bilges( less risk of contamination, if one or two got punctured no problem); sewed a canvas funnel into the centre of our Bimini and tied a hose attachment into it, to collect rain; we washed in salt water then rinsed in fresh (had a little copper jug, small amount of fresh water in it, leave in the sun for a while- got boiling hot very quickly!). Longest we were at sea was 38 days from St Helena to Grenada.

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