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Showering from the vessels main water tank

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What is the issue?
When sailing in deep ocean or in areas where the water supply is uncertain or is a scarce resource, yachties have reservations about using a vessel's onboard reserve pressurised water system for personal showers. The problem with the system is that it is impossible to quantify the amount of water being used which leads to great unease and concern about drawing off water for showers.

Why address this?
There is nothing more pleasant and refreshing than a warm shower at the end of a hot day of sailing.
Some people use special soap with salt water and then rinse off with as little as 1½ litres of fresh water. But I have tried this and I, personally, could not abide the saltwater. So as to have a modicum of comfort, by my experience, you are forced back to fresh water which is a problem without a watermaker. Then you are back to concerns about water usage. This results in showers being rationed down to the minimum and each a parsimonious uneasy affair. Heating the water is another matter.

How to address this?
It is surprising how good a shower you can have on a modest amount of water. The key to this is to quantify the amount of water dedicated to the task and to make the best of it.

An excellent approach to address this is to buy a low-cost two-gallon plastic insecticide spray bottle with an integral pump and dedicating it to the task of being the scarce water shower bottle. The discharge spray wand that comes with an off-the-shelf product is not effective for showering. However, if this is substituted for a plastic hose fitted with a common variable, trigger controlled, garden spray head, an excellent system can be achieved.

Shower bottle using a plastic insecticide spray bottle with garden hose gun
Photo: Tony Gibson

Depending on your preference, 4 litres (just over a gallon) provides for a good wash off. Especially once pressurised using the integral pump. Warm water may be had by placing it in a black plastic bag and leaving it out in the sun, a copper pipe inside aids circulation. A better solution is to have solar heating black plastic jerry cans already set up for shore water showering Experience and to decant the water from these. Alternatively, the water can be simply warmed by pouring in some boiled water heated on the galley stove. A small thermometer can be dipped in if you want to fine-tune the temperature when heating the water from the stove. In either case, shake the container well and carefully check the temperature before spraying down.

The primary benefits of this system is the exact amount of water drawn off the main tanks and allocated to bathing can be quantified. Each individual has equal measure, and as the plastic sprayer is marked it is easy to see how much water is available as they rinse, soap up and shampoo. Once it can be measured, it can be managed, and with warm pressurised bathing thereby more frequently available a happy crew entails. Used in conjunction with a water catchment systems Experience to capture the last of the early run-off water for showering, usually makes the approach of a dark squall cloud a happy sight.

With thanks to:
Michael Harpur, Yacht Obsession

Showering on a minimum of water

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