Most of us are so used to turning on a tap and there being clean fresh water. Living on a boat water is a big consideration all of the time.
We currently buy in bottle water to drink because we don’t know how clean our tanks really are. During the water we will have the chance to test the water. We have fitted a filter on the kitchen tap and we are happy to boil water for cooking and use it straight out of the tap for washing up and clothes washing.
We can only carry enough water in the tanks for 7 days when there are two of us. So when we have visitors we need to top up the tanks twice a week. Topping up means going into a town quay or harbour where they have water. There are many places that don’t have water, or rather water that is easily accessible for a boat. To give you some idea we have found in the Ionian that we can get water in about one in eight town quays, but you do have to bear in mind that we avoid the more expensive harbours because of their tendency to charge time and a half for a catamaran to stay. We are much happy staying on anchor for free and just coming alongside for water when we need to.
Being water conscious means watching what you use. If you haven’t ever had a ship shower before, just imagine trying only to use 2 buckets of water for your entire shower. That includes the cold water before you get to the hot. So, for those not yet initiated, this is how you have a ship shower:
Our shower head is also the tap for the basin. So you stand in the shower whilst at the basin.
- Plug in basin. I put my hand towels, or shorts or something small in the sink to wash with the collected water.
- Wet hair in the first water that comes through the tap . Tap off!
- Shampoo hair …. Brush through (I find that after a few days of sea salt I cant get a brush through my thick mop so this is the opportunity to brush at every stage).
- Rinse hair and condition. Brush again.
- Swill clothes around in sink (add washing powder if needed).
- Wet body with now warm water
- Tap off while you soap up!
- Rinse body
- Rinse out conditioner.
- Rinse out clothes!
- Thats it you’re done …. And you got your clothes washed at the same time.
- Check the shower pump has pumped the water out.
The water from the shower goes down into the bilges and is pumped up and out of the boat. So you can see it is really important to make sure the pumps are working fine otherwise you will sink the boat!
A Sea Bath Because we like to swim several times a day and we cannot shower everyday, we have also find a good spa shower gel that works great in the sea. So at least once a day after a swim we soap up outside and jump back in the sea to have a salty bath. We now really enjoy this and have gotten used to that salty freshness. It is great that the sea is so beautifully clear, it obviously wouldn’t be so appealing in murky, muddy waters.
Washing Clothes This takes up a lot of water however I do it. So now I have learnt to only have a wash day the day before we fill up with water … this way we won’t be caught short. I can wash small things in the basin when I wash my hair, sheets and towels, and clothes that require a lot of scrubbing just have to wait until we are need a water supply in case I use too much.
Washing up Always a dilemma, you need the right amount of pots to use the sink of water efficiently. We soon discovered that it was much better for us to wash up the pots in the small sink and drain them in the big sink. We are not great at drying up and often want to move the boat with pots still draining. This way we can. Everything is safe, nothing will fall over. We use very little washing up water. Everyone’s a winner!
Hot water The water is heated by the starboard engine if that is running or by the generator. We have got two 15 litre containers that we fill as spares and if we leave these out in the sun for an hour the water will be plenty hot enough for washing. The water heater (calorifier) heats enough water for a couple of days with one shower. If we run out of washing up hot water we can of course boil the kettle.
During the summer, now we have good batteries we don’t often need to run the generator. As the days draw in, we probably will begin to need to in order to have enough power to use lights in the evening. When we have the generator on we have an electric kettle which means we can fill a large flask with boiling water to last the day.
During the winter we will be plugged into the mains. This is from November to March. We are hoping that water will also be available for us to top up as we need to.
Top Cat did have a water maker but unfortunately it is too old and hasn’t had enough love and attention for us to use it. We would love to replace it because if we can produce fresh clean water as we need it from the solar power we will have the dream ticket and will not have to be thinking about where our next water is coming from.
Water from the town quay We always use our own hose pipes which are always emptied completely when we roll them up. We always use the first few gallons to wash the front of the boat before putting the water into our tanks. We do want to purchase a filter that will filter the water before it goes into the tanks but at the moments we don’t have this. We have a carbon filter on our kitchen tap which we have fitted this summer.
Drinking Water Buying drinking water is a chore which we won’t have to do once we invest in a new water maker. But for now we generally buy 24 bottles at a time and Paul gets to use his super trolley. It is always a laugh packing the dinghy full of food and water and us balancing on the top. We usually manage to time it so that the waves are against us and we get soaked bringing it all back. Such are the joys of living on a boat.
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