Drinking Water on Boat



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  • Drinking Water on Boat

    My boat has a fresh water system that holds 40 gallons. I have heard about some that use this for dishes, etc. and pack extra water for drinking, but one friend recently said that they drink their water onboard all summer long. Any thoughts on this? One idea I had was to carry a filter system and filter some water and store this for drinking in the refrig. Another idea was to put some bleach in the fresh water tank and then flush it a couple of times per summer to kill any bacteria.

    Any other ideas, or am I just being paranoid?

    2009 Seawolf 31'
    Fully Loaded

  • #2
    Drinking water

    When I bought my Bayliner, the seller had some great advice on this. I followed it to a T and never had an issue with de-winterizing it and providing safe water for my family.

    1. Fill er up with water and drain all Antifreeze, Fill her up at least two more times as the pump does not sit on the bottom. Turn the sink on, water heater as well and get it running clear.
    2. After this, put two caps of bleach(Probably put 4) and fill her up again, run this through as well.
    3. Put about a cup of concentrated lemon juice in the tank and fill her up. Drain.
    4 Put another cup(I poured probably 2 cups in it) drain it.
    5. 2 more cups and let it sit over night. Then drain.


    After that..you can fill her up everytime you go out and never worry about anything.

    Keeping in mind that I do carry a case of drinking water onboard. Just easier to toss one of those to someone that is thristy, then finding a clean glass..lol

    President of Alaska Waterfowl Assoc.
    [email protected]
    And God said, let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.


    • #3
      I would be very cautious. Cleaning the tank is necessary, but will not keep you from getting sick. Every time you put water in it, you are adding bacteria. It will multiply. You have to chlorinate the water itself. I don't remember the proportions or the frequency (temperature plays a part), but I bet you could find it on line. We are not talking about laundry room bleach here btw.


      • #4
        We buy the pre-filled 1 gallon drinking water carry jug's from Fred's. Cheep insurance and they can and have been tossed around and have not leaked.
        2005 20' Weldcraft Sabre XL 350 MP
        SD309 AT
        2009 Polaris Dragon 800 163
        Custom Mod's


        • #5
          So let me get this straight. You'll pick up a bottle of water off a shelf in a store and you have no knowledge of who handled it or how it was filled, but you hesitate to drink the water you put into your own tank? Wow!


          • #6
            We have a 120 gal tank on our sailboat. We filter the water when we fill it up. In Puget Sound I used dock water, in Mexico I get water from the water station.

            Each year we shock treat the tank with a couple cups of houshold bleach. drain and fill a couple times. We also installed a filter on the vent line that we change every year. Remember, as the water goes down it has to get air somewhere. The vent is usually close to the deck, or near someones exhaust, etc. lot's of nasties to get sucked down into a warm dark moist tube. Hmm, sounds like a petri dish.

            In Mexico, after cleaning the tanks, we add just enough bleach that my wife or daughter can JUST smell it. Anymore than that and you will all be tasting it.

            If you want a real treat, pop the inspection cover off and clean the slime out.

            Have fun out there and be safe.


            • #7
              What about using a normal water filter, such as a Brita or simliar? I am suggesting this in addition to the ideas mentioned here such as shocking the system on a regular basis. Do these cheap filters remove some of the risk?
              2009 Seawolf 31'
              Fully Loaded


              • #8
                We drank the water from the holding tank in our RV all summer, and drink from our boats holding tank now; 20 plus years and no ill effects. I try and remember to drain the tank after each trip, fill with fresh water using a white potable water hose; don’t use a regular garden hose! The only ill effects we’ve noticed is taking a drink from the first little bit that comes from the facet after the water has been in the lines for a while.
                In the spring I’ll fill and drain the tank simultaneously for about a half hour or so; you can toss in a cup of bleach but it takes a while to flush the taste out. Most domestic water supplies are chlorinated so this in itself prevents bacteria growth.
                I blow the system out with air for winter storage and never use RV antifreeze, only because it takes for ever to get the taste out of the lines—better to toss in a couple cheep bottles of vodka.
                07 C-Dory 25 Cruiser



                • #9
                  Smell can be a good indicator. If your fish smell...etc. I use the pink anti-freeze and flush it out with the garden hose until I can't taste it.
                  What's with this drinking water thing while fishing anyways, that seems odd?


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