SailNet Community banner

1 - 16 of 16 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
58 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all.

While putting an inspection hatch into my water tank, I got to inspect it and found it was severely pitted/corroded and close to breaking though. These are the original steel tanks and so I guess 34 years was about the limit.

I now have a choice of materials for new water tanks as these need to be custom fabricated. I see mostly choices of steel or aluminum. What are the upsides and downsides for each material. I searched on Google and didn't find a thread on this.

Thanks.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,264 Posts
Plastic is great except for one major problem. To the best of my knowledge you can't put an inspection port into them, so if you ever get major contamination there is no good way to access the inside.

Which leaves me with aluminium.

I don't trust tanks I can't see.
 

·
navigator
Joined
·
37 Posts
My boat has both a plastic 40 gallon water tank up forward, and a stainless tank of 40 gallons amid-ship. Both have inspection ports, and the water taste of both is undetectable. I filter all water going into the tanks from the dock supply.

Caveat...I only drink the stuff when the bottled water runs out, or I'm out of Te-kill-ya.
 

·
Sailor
Joined
·
931 Posts
I would give plastic the edge here as it is unaffected by bleach that one adds to keep the water fresh. Use too much bleach in aluminum tanks and it causes pitting. Stainless would be good but I imagine very expensive.

Tod
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
6,803 Posts
Plastic is great except for one major problem. To the best of my knowledge you can't put an inspection port into them, so if you ever get major contamination there is no good way to access the inside.

Which leaves me with aluminium.

I don't trust tanks I can't see.
Greg,

There are tons of plastic tanks with inspection ports out there. You could not pay me to have an aluminum water tank or holding tank on a boat. Fuel yes, water or holding no... Occasionally tanks need to be "shocked" and aluminum and chlorine really don't like each other very much. We shock our system every spring and we drink out of our tanks so it is important for us to be able to treat the water with chlorine and shock it as well.

BTW this was a three year old aluminum holding tank on a "premium" priced "blue water" cruiser. Uric acid and aluminum.... D'oh.........
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,861 Posts
Stainless would be good but I imagine very expensive.
Tod
Pre-made plastic will be the least expensive. Ronco tanks are one choice.

The cost to fabricate a custom stainless tank will not be any different than the same in aluminum. The only difference is the price of the material and that would not be very different.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,707 Posts
Had aluminium for years. Altho told it was a special alloy for tanks, pitting was a problem and may be a connection with Alzheimer's although I forget where I heard that . Couldn't re /re tanks as I'd closed the boat in around them. Finally cut big access panels in the top of all four tanks (1500 litres total) and epoxy/glassed everything including the baffles (then two coats of potable type resin) Truly a ***** of a job but apart from the crick in my neck and getting the cat out of a tank, it was worth it.If I were building today,SS would be my only choice.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
58 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks everyone. It sounds as if the consensus is against aluminum due to the pitting issues that can come from bleach sanitizing. Maybe I'll get pricing on steel vs plastic at this point. Sounds as if plastic may be more susceptible to mold growth, but then again you can bleach the heck out of it.

We use this water in general for non-potable use unless I'm boiling water for cooking pasta, etc. Does that change anything? I don't see how, but I could be missing something.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
23,869 Posts
I had a custom poly tank made with a 10" inspection port. If it were any bigger, I would be able to climb in.
 

·
Sailing Junkie
Joined
·
300 Posts
My 36 year old boat has 2 plastic water tanks with two inspection ports each, one forward, one aft. These tanks have never given me an issue nor have they ever leaked. I do shock them with a bleach concentrate in the spring, flush a few times and then add a touch of bleach with each tank fill. I do drink from the tanks but I also have it run through a charcoal filter under the galley sink.
Hope this helps.
Tom

Edit: I have replaced the hosing on the potable system though.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
845 Posts
I have 2, 70 gal built-in fiberglass water tanks on my boat with inspection ports. The nice part is that the tanks lids are glued and screwed on. Unfortunately my front tank has developed a leak.(Crack i believe)
The good part is that i can take the lid off with some piano wire (cutting the adhesive) and do repairs.
I don't know that FRG is the best, but, i feel that it utilizes the space well.

I'd go with plastic with any tanks if i had to replace tanks.
 
1 - 16 of 16 Posts
Top