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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!!

- CD
 

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One other comment regarding other watermaker options: Have a gutter sown into your bimini with a downpout that can reach your water intake. In the tropics and sub tropics it pretty much rains every day in the summer like clock work. Course, better be ready to keep the gerry cans filled in the winter. It is usually quite dry.

- CD

PS I am not advocating this as the cleanest way to get water... just another option with a lot of filtering.
 

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There is a great thread on this somewhere, adn I do believe the comments on this are outdated.

I have absolutely no problem with making your own WM - if you have a large generator or can put it on your main. Not a great idea otherwise. You may also have some difficulty with getting a wm small enough on your own as most of the home models (IIRC) are 20gph minimum. Nice for a guy like me with a family, not a furry wombat.
 

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Well, I personally have seen that there is a price difference - but it is not massive unless comparing against a Spectra or other 12v, high end model. I have always felt the big positives are that you can make a LOT of water quickly, and if it breaks, YOU know how to fix it. Go look at a Spectra to get a feel for what I am saying.

The negatives are that it is labor intensive, it is much larger than the typical commercially available units, and it may make too much water for you. The rule of thumb I have always considered is that you want to run your watermaker everyday or every other day to keep them membrand nice. WHen you start pushing off to a week+ between runs, you may have a problem with junk building up on the membrane and a premature death.

Note: Dad has a watermaker, not me. His is the SPectra. Nice unit, totally automated, and if that appeals to you and money is not an object, it is a good choice and good product. It is also the most efficient. I am either going to purchase a unit that is of the homemade variety (go here: Aquamarine, Inc - Home as I have seen on eof their products and that is all they have done) or I am going to make my own. I can use the large water cap and I personally want something I can repair and diagnose on my own. This does not appeal to everyone though.

Brian

PS You need a generator (unless you are really creative and can run it off your main and have the power to do so). I am not sure a 'Honda' would push it. If you do not have one, take it off your list.
 

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We have a dehumidifier on our boat. Sure can pull out a lot of water when it is warm. I would have to be pretty thirsty to drink it and it sure wouldn't be much - and our dehumid is a large one (took the one out of the house we sold and use it here... waste not want not).

You are better off with a watermaker.

Brian
 
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