Your Boat Cleaning Products Specialists Discuss How to Make Your Own Water Filter
Raritan Engineering your boat cleaning products suppliers would like to share with you this week some great information regarding DIY water filter ideas for your boat.
Your boat cleaning products distributors talks about how one of the first things that you realize after a few seasons of cruising is that approaches to life aboard vary between two wide extremes: cruisers who by choice or because of a limited budget live with minimal creature comforts, and those cruisers who sacrifice little more than living space when they move aboard.
Nick reported that most cruising boats he met during his first year of tropical cruising had some type of watermaker, but usually chose to take advantage of the local water supply when dockside or anchored in polluted harbors. When we were cruising abroad in the early ’90s, it seemed that less than half the boats we met regularly used watermakers.
The Nitty Gritty
All shore-sourced water supplies, either in the U.S. or overseas, contain particulate matter. This may be pipe scale, sand, small bits of grass, or other types of sediment. While not necessarily harmful, sediment builds up in your boat’s plumbing. It can settle in the bottom of tanks, only to get stirred up during an offshore passage. Over time, it can wreak havoc with water pumps, destroy ceramic water fixture cartridges, and prevent the seating of rubber faucet washers.
Nick learned this the hard way when his Grohe faucets started leaking after two years. Fortunately, replacing the cartridges was easy—once he found them—but after that experience, he became determined to reduce sediment in the entire water system.
Protecting Your Water Pumps
Your boat cleaning products experts talk about how if you do have a more sensitive impellor-type pump on your boat, protection is relatively simple. Just install an in-line sediment strainer just upstream from your freshwater pressure pump. Nick used a Par Pumpgard filter, positioned to be easily accessible for routine checking and cleaning. This is a compact, small-capacity stainless-steel mesh strainer in a clear plastic housing. Most of the toilets in our recent toilet test came with these filters, as safeguards against pump damage. They are relatively cheap—about $20 at any marine store.
A Simple Pre-Filter
In Grenada, Nick ran into a couple on a well-equipped Baba 35 who pre-filtered shore water before it even got to the boat, and he later adopted that approach. On a trip back to the States, he picked up a $20 Omni filter housing at a home supply store. GE makes a similar one, as well. The one Nick bought uses standard 9.5-inch filter elements, which he found available worldwide. For a few dollars more, you can get a clear filter housing that allows you to monitor the state of the filter element more easily.
Total cost of this handy gadget today is about $45, including a couple of spare 30-micron sediment filter cartridges. Flow rate through the filter is about four gallons per minute, so it provides minimal increase in your watering time.
All the drinking water aboard Nick’s Calypso, even the water they made themselves, went through a General Ecology Seagull IV purification system. This expensive filtering system—list price is over $700—will remove just about everything harmful from water, according to the manufacturer. Any water considered “bacteriologically acceptable for treatment” by the U.S. Public Health Service standards can be rendered safe by the Seagull IV.
So don’t forget these helpful tips for making your own water filter for your boat. 1) If you do have a more sensitive impeller-type pump on your boat, protection is relatively simple; 2) using simple pre-filters can be very cheap; and 3) install an in-line sediment strainer just upstream from your freshwater pressure pump.
Boat Cleaning Tips
Some boat owners go overboard (pardon the pun) when it comes to cleaning their boats. They seem to spend more time scrubbing and polishing their vessels than actually cruising or fishing in them. While keeping a craft clean is definitely an important aspect of boat ownership, it’s not necessary to spend long, backbreaking hours to keep your boat looking like new. You simply have to equip yourself with the right tools/products and clean your boat regularly and efficiently.
Choose the Right Cleaning Equipment
Before selecting your cleaning equipment and products, consider the type of boat you have and its composition. This will ensure that you have the right tools and materials in hand for the job. Choose cleaning brushes that are sturdy and will get rid of stubborn dirt, grime and salt, without damaging the finish or gel coat on your boat. A long, sturdy handle on a scrub brush will allow you to reach hard-to-clean areas without bending down, provide leverage, and help eliminate strain on your back and arms.
Select a Good, Environmentally-Friendly Soap
For marine use, you’ll want to select a soap that will be tough on dirt, grime, salt and fish blood, yet easy on the environment. Don’t use the same soap you would for cleaning dishes at home. Instead, select an effective, biodegradable cleaning agent with a neutral pH factor. If you use your craft in salt water, it’s especially important to use soap and fresh water to completely remove the corrosive salt build-up that can eat away at your boat.
Soak Things Up
Use soft drying cloths that are highly absorbent and will soak up water without stripping or scratching. Chamois cloths or drying mops made of chamois material are good choices. To avoid “spotting,” be sure to dry off your boat immediately after washing and rinsing.
Wax On, Wax Off
Once you have dried off your boat completely, you may want to apply a quality wax and buff to shine and protect the fiberglass. It’s not really necessary to wax your boat after every use, but this should be done at least once or twice during the season to preserve the luster of the hull and protect against the elements and impurities. Use a quality carnauba wax and apply several coats
Making Your Metal Shine
There are many quality cleaners and sealants available for keeping the chrome and stainless steel on your boat protected, shiny and bright. After applying a light film on your brightwork, let sit for about 15 to 30 minutes. Then, wipe off with a clean cloth. After cleaning, you may also want to apply a quality wax sealer/protectant to create a protective barrier against the harsh elements.
First, clean off your boat’s vinyl upholstery with a damp cloth to remove grime, dirt and salt. You may want to follow this by applying a quality vinyl cleaners/protectant and again wiping off the surface. Once the upholstery is free of dirt and grime, apply a light film of spray-on furniture polish and wipe with a clean cloth. This should help guard against stains and preserve the life of your boat’s upholstery.
Cleaning/Greasing Your Engine
It’s important to make cleaning your boat’s engine part of your annual winterization ritual at the end of the season. Some boat owners choose to do this themselves, while others opt to have this done, along with other winterization tasks, by an experienced mechanic. A quality engine cleaner/protectant, such as WD-40 or Boeshield T-9, used in combination with a cleaning cloth, is usually sufficient for removing accumulated dirt, grime and grease.
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