Water, Water Everywhere…  –  Water management is one of those boring-but-essential tasks that makes for a comfortable cruise.  Let’s face it—there never seems to be enough fresh water on board when you head out sailing.  Whether it is for three days or three weeks, you always need more.  Unless you have a water maker installed, you're going to need to conserve your supply if you want it to last.  Here are a few tips on how to make the most of the limited amount of water that you do have.

First of all, before you leave the dock, be sure to fill your boat's water tanks.  Most charter boats do not have water tank gauges and you can't always be certain that the boat-prep folks got around to it.  Therefore, make certain that at least one tank is always closed–consider this your reserve until you can fill up again.


If you are planning to eat meals on board and you don’t have a serious aversion to them, use paper plates.  Not only does this help cut down on water usage, but it also helps cut down on hot and stuffy galley time.

After you have finished whipping up that wonderful meal, whether breakfast, lunch or dinner, it’s now time for the designated dishwashers to get started.  Instead of heading directly to the galley sinks, think about taking all those pots, pans and dishes to the stern and doing the initial wash off the transom.  This saves an enormous amount of water and it makes you popular with the fish.  You can complete the job in the galley with a final fresh-water rinse.  Also, don’t forget to ask your boat briefer whether or not you have a salt-water galley pump before you set off.

Sooner or later you're going to need a shower. I’ll explain it very simply–turn the water on and wet yourself down.  Turn the water off.  Soap up and/or shampoo at the same time.  Turn the water back on and rinse off.  That’s it!! Now dry off and leave the head. You’re done. Don’t forget that it is possible to shower on shore at many of the places you will be stopping. Just ask. It may require tokens, quarters or be free of charge depending on the circumstances.  Also you can apply the same principles as when you washed the dishes.  Jump in the sea to get wet (or dip a bucket and pour it over your head), climb out on to the deck and lather up.  Dive back in to rinse off, then finish off with


Remember that the transom shower is fresh water. It is coming from the same tanks that you are using in the interior of your boat.  DON’T WASTE IT.  If you are at anchor or on a mooring ball for the day and are swimming, snorkeling, and generally having some playtime in the sea, it is not necessary to rinse off every time you climb the ladder to come back on board.  After the last swim of the day is enough.  Be sure to remind the kids that the outside shower is not a play toy.  Also, the stern shower is not to be used to wash the deck.  That is why you have a bucket and deck brush.  Use seawater for this purpose.  For small spills, use a little of the water that is lying in the bottom of your cockpit cooler.

Try using some of these tips; it just may make the difference between having and not having enough fresh water to finish your trip without going through the hassles of waiting in line at the fuel/water dock.  

Bon Voyage and Eau Revoir!