Drinking Water, Food safety

I used to carry two dozen bottles of San Pelegrino water, but they took up a whole locker with some under the stove against the hull. But now I have a SodaStream CO2 system that makes carbonated water. A single CO2 bottle makes enough fizzy water for a month. Twelve are good for a year, and they take up very little space in the locker. With the addition of diet syrups, I can make tonic water, ginger ale and root beer.

Water brought from shore ought to be filtered as you fill up the water tanks. And if there is any worry about the water being contaminated, you must use iodine solution - about a teaspoon of solution per ten gallons. The iodine solution is made by laying some pure iodine crystals (careful- don’t touch) in a quart bottle and leave for a week. Shake occasionally until the water is brown. Read about it on the WEB. Iodine is the only protection against amoebas and cysts as well as virus and bacteria. Clorox is no good against anything but bacteria, and is no longer recommended for water purification.

All produce is contaminated. You must wash or treat it with iodine solution. To get rid of bacteria we spray the food prep surfaces with food grade peroxide and vinegar. You spray one first, then wait five seconds and spray the other on the same area. This method is FDA approved. Use the same to protect anything that will be used in food prep and eating.

In Mexico, lettuce was always contaminated and I couldn’t spray it, so put it in a big pot with the iodine solution and let it soak for 30 minutes. The iodine has no taste, and it won’t hurt you. In fact iodine is needed every day for good health especially outside the USA where salt is not required to contain iodine. Look it up on the web to see how to prepare it and the dosage ( a few drops a day.)

You need about 40 gallons of water for two people on the longest sail you will make in the Caribbean. You don’t shower in fresh water except for a small rinse at the end. We mostly sail nude in the Ocean to avoid getting clothes wet, and this helps us to keep clean also. Stay under the cockpit Bimini to avoid getting sunburnt.

I have a rain collection system, but since I always sail in good weather, I seldom get rained on, apart from an occasional squall. But in Bermuda there was plenty of rain to fill the tanks. At anchor a water spigot is only a dinghy ride away and we can bring back 12 gallons of water in a bladder. St. Johns was the only place where water had to be bought from the grocery store at $2 a gallon.

There is no sense in getting an RO system. They can’t produce clean water in murky harbors. Maintenance is a worry. They aren’t needed in the Caribbean.

Since you don’t need much water for a crossing, you won’t need huge water tanks - which aren’t installed on light displacement boats anyway. Always have several water tanks to safeguard your supply if one source of water is contaminated. I have three tanks 13 gals each.