Best Looking MALE Mod
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Washington State
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I would not invest in a watermaker if you are planning on being at a marina most of the time or a crowded anchorage. You should not run it in either. If you are planning on doing some cruising around or the Bahamas or other more remote areas, it makes more sense.
That being said, I will comment on watermakers:
In my opinion (this is my opinion), I would be less worried about sucking up bacteria or viruses than even small amounts of oil/diesel/gas. You can put a UV on the back side for the biological issues (and they make filters to help (HELP BEING THE OPERATIVE WORD) pull contaminiants out of the intake for diesel, etc, but it is the fuel that will take it out.
Watermakers LOVE to be run and HATE to set up. Here is how I would budget my watermaker: Add up you total estimated usage. I will use 20G for an example, because that is our basic usage/day. Plan on running your watermaker everyday (or no less than every other day) for no less than 2-3 hours. Dividing 20G by 3 is a bit over 6gph. Thus look for a watermaker in the 6gph range. Depending on the model you get (Using PUR for an example) I think the 80GPD is more efficient (not less) than the 160 GPD. I cannot recall what Spectra and Village run on efficiency (I think the village 160 is about 13 amps), but a PUR 160GPD is about 18Amps/hour. Plan your electrical budget likewise. You can also consider under-rating your watermaker (using a 4 GPH versus 6). The ratioanle for this is that you will still run it everyday, but slowly go through your fresh water tanks until they are empty. At that time you can go visit you local marina, make a run in the dink with water jugs, or just take a day of running it. The cost b/t a 80 and 160 GPD is not that great... but at least this way you are not letting too much water sit in your tanks unused. I would guess you would have 80-100 gallons on your boat so even under-rating your watermaker you will be able to sit on the hook a long time.
Many people have suggested using a 110 powered watermaker, but I dissagree (though I think they are more efficient) because I budget running it every day and do not want to listen to the clang of my generator.
Without naming the companies, I have heard two very well known boat manufacturers pushing against the PUR because of warranty issues. Spectra and Village got high marks though. Ocean Nav did a nice write up a month or two ago on customer satisfaction with them and also watermakers in general. It would be worth your time to read it. But, that is your call.
The watermaker should be the very LAST piece of equipment you drop on your boat (for reasons mentioned above). Try cruising without it before you make the plunge. You can always invest back into it. Still, I think without exception, every cruiser will tell you it is one of their most valued "comfort toys" on their boat. You can get by without it though. Just buy a bunch of jerry cans!!