Watermaker – benefits & problems

Having a watermaker on a sea vessel can be incredibly beneficial, as it allows you to produce fresh water from seawater, ensuring a constant supply of potable water during long voyages. However, like any equipment, watermakers can also come with certain problems or challenges. Some common issues you may encounter with a watermaker on the sea include:

  1. Maintenance and Repairs: Watermakers require regular maintenance to keep them functioning optimally. The marine environment can be harsh, and exposure to saltwater can lead to corrosion and wear. Components like filters, membranes, and pumps may need frequent checks, cleaning, and replacement.
  2. Power Consumption: Watermakers rely on electricity to operate, and generating sufficient power on a boat can be a challenge. High power consumption may put a strain on the vessel’s electrical system, especially on smaller boats or during extended periods at sea without access to shore power.
  3. Water Quality and Salinity Variability: Seawater composition can vary depending on location and weather conditions, and this affects the watermaker’s performance. High salinity, pollutants, or suspended particles can reduce the efficiency of the watermaker and potentially damage its components.
  4. Clogging and Fouling: Seawater often contains debris and microorganisms that can clog filters and membranes. Fouling can reduce the watermaker’s productivity and increase maintenance requirements.
  5. Vulnerable to Seawater Contaminants: Watermakers can be sensitive to contaminants like oil, fuel, or chemicals accidentally spilled in the vicinity, leading to operational issues.
  6. Space and Installation Constraints: Installing a watermaker on a boat might require finding adequate space, and the installation process could be complex, especially on smaller vessels.
  7. Dependence on Seawater Availability: In certain remote or restricted areas, using a watermaker might not be possible due to regulations or limited access to seawater.
  8. Cost: Watermakers can be expensive to purchase, install, and maintain. If not used frequently, the cost-benefit analysis might not favor having one on board.
  9. Backup System Requirement: Relying solely on a watermaker for freshwater supply can be risky. It’s essential to have backup water storage or alternative freshwater sources in case the watermaker malfunctions or encounters issues.

Despite these challenges, watermakers are highly valuable tools for vessels that spend extended periods at sea, as they reduce the dependency on external water supplies and enhance self-sufficiency during long voyages. Proper planning, maintenance, and operational practices can help mitigate many of the potential problems associated with watermakers on the sea.

Similar Posts