All in the same boat by Neale Tom

All in the same boat by Neale Tom

Author:Neale, Tom.
Language: eng
Format: epub
Tags: Boat living., Family recreation., Boats and boating.
Publisher: International Marine
Published: 1997-05-14T16:00:00+00:00

Flow diagram of Village Marine Tec’s “No Frills” watermaker. (Courtesy Village Marine Tec.)




this for me, it relied on electric probes in salt water and a stainless solenoid valve that, although it was of excellent quality, would stick because of the salt water. With my renovations, I have to check the water quality to be sure it is good, but I used to do this anyway. If a membrane or O-ring blows, I could end up dumping bad water into my tank, but this hasn't happened in around nine years of operation. Now Village's simple unit is similar to what mine has evolved into, it makes just as much water that is just as good, and its cost is comparable to what I would probably spend if I made it myself. The manufacturer's unit comes with a warranty and maintenance help, big pluses over building one yourself.

The following discussion describes how a typical reverse-osmosis watermaker works. From this, perhaps you can better judge whether you want one and, if you do, what to look for. The accompanying diagram is a basic flow chart of a typical system.


To extract good fresh water from the sea, one simply runs the seawater through a special membrane at high pressure, usually 800 psi. The basic components for a watermaker are a pump capable of producing that amount pressure with seawater, a membrane, a pressure vessel to contain the membrane, an adequate pressure valve, and the plumbing.

There are, of course, other components needed to make the system work well and safely. Most reverse-osmosis units also have prefilters and a feed pump to protect the high-pressure pump and ensure good water supply, gauges and flow meters to determine operational status of the system, a bypass valve for bad water, a water-quality sensing device that sounds an alarm and operates the bypass valve if the freshwater quality is poor, and special plumbing to facilitate cleaning.

The scope of this discussion will not allow a complete and detailed description of every procedure and component or of all safety considerations. You'll need to consult with the manufacturer and supplier of all items regarding intended use, warnings, and specifications; and follow proper safety procedures.

Although "survival" watermakers are available that produce, sometimes with just muscle power, a small amount of water strictly for survival purposes, this discussion is not geared to those units. The units practical for boating use are large watermakers that can supply


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