Date: 21 March 2022. Watermaker Woes.
Truly I am so fortunate. Quite some time ago a generous captain made a
substantial donation to my
PayPal account. That seed money was received at the perfect
time. Almost simultaneously I was offered a Katadyn40 watermaker.
Due to the wonderful donation I had enough in PayPal to make a
deposit on the unit.
My friend Ken
↓ installed the Katadyn40
watermaker for me.
Skipper loves Ken...
I had a working watermaker my life became instantly Better. Much,
much better. No longer did I have to haul a heavy hose out to the
boat when docked. Heaving jugs of water up onto the boat when at
anchor became a thing of the past. And no more paying $5 to get
The OPENING FOR WATER TANK ↓ on Seaweed is
forward, near the bow of the boat.
Click on the photo for a full sized version of the picture below.
I am utilizing a plastic cover for the water fill versus the metal one
that was originally on the boat. I dropped the stainless one
overboard, never to be seen again. Pricing the replacement cap lead
me to a $2 plastic solution.
Over the years I have hired *Boat Boys to deliver water to me in
various anchorages. The going rate over the past ten years has been
$5 per visit. Each time Seaweed would have an additional 10 to 15
gallons of water poured directly into my water tank.
*Boat Boys are individuals who help out boaters. It is a generic
term and connotes neither gender nor age. Decades ago these folks
were called "boat boys" though by now there may be another term
I was born and raised aboard this 40' steel sedan cruiser. She was
built by my Daddy.
Photo ↑ taken of
Boot Key Harbor anchorage in Marathon, Florida.
The picture is from 2001, before the *mooring field was installed.
21 March 2022: Boot Key
Moorings cost $334 monthly. Phone: 305-289-8877.
were cruising decades ago, one reliable way to get insider
information was to hire a boat boy. The local would know where to
buy parts, the best grocery store, who fixes what, and which worker
is most reliable for a specific task.
Blue waters make island
hopping a real joy...
Many decades ago were anchored along the southern coast of Cuba. A
local man became our boat boy. He was a diver and delivered conch and
other delicacies including fruit.
I do remember that he brought his large family out to our
boat for a meal. We shared a massive pot of Cuban-style
(tomato based) conch chowder that Mother made. She baked
loaves of bread for dipping in the chowder too. That was one
of the most memorable meals of my life.
But I digress...
For the record, from a financial standpoint
buying a watermaker is not fiscally wise. Life however is not always
about the bottom line. Sometimes it is more important to weigh the
benefits of time spent obtaining a basic need.
Most have NO
IDEA what an ordeal
acquiring water can be when living off-grid.
I supplied Seaweed with water when at anchor:
(before the addition of my Katadyn watermaker)
Gather four 3 gallon
reusable plastic water jugs. Most boaters would want to
utilize either 5 or 6 gallon jugs. Be aware that water
weighs 8 pounds per gallon. I prefer the smaller jugs as I
simply cannot control the larger jugs.
Load said jugs into
Check the tides/current
so that rowing can be accomplished with the push of a
current versus fighting it. Slack tide, or when the current
is changing direction are the best options
Get to shore.
Find someone who will
grant permission to have some of their water. You cannot simply "take"
water. That is called stealing, and land folks HATE that.
Fill jugs. I am careful
to not run water onto the ground. That would make a mess for
the property owner.
Carry jugs one or two
at a time to the dinghy
Row back to Seaweed.
Secure Algae (my
dinghy) near the bow so I can pour the water into the water
TRY not to spill any
water. I almost always do spill some.
When all four jugs are
in the tank, I've added 12 gallons to my 50 gallon tank.
That is 2 or 3 days of
water for me unless I am in Ultra-saving mode (which means
no washing my hair) ... I like to have clean hair.
Once the jugs
are full, if I am ambitious, I row back to shore and repeat
the process. From empty to full takes FOUR trips. I have
never managed to do more than two trips for water in a day.
The whole process takes too much out of me.
Finally, go back to the
transom where I can secure Algae to the davit and climb into
Seaweed. By this time I am exhausted, hot and sweaty, and in
need of a shower.
From the time I first
began living aboard Seaweed, hauling water has been
the bane of my existence. Katy, the name I gave my watermaker was a
tremendous improvement in my life, comfort level and happiness. It
is physically difficult to retrieve and haul water. Filling my water
tank is just plain awful.
Having plentiful water is critical for Skipper too.
When we go swimming it is important to wash off the salt water.
Katadyn watermaker was such a major improvement it would be
difficult to understate the importance she plays in my
life/lifestyle. I continue to be grateful for having the watermaker
aboard Seaweed. Fixing the high-pressure pump or replacing same is
the primary goal for the week.
The ↑ high-pressure
Katadyn watermaker pump.
And then, the worst happened. I turned on the watermaker and
although the piston moved, no water came through the system. I felt the
black pump. It was covered with a thin sheen of oil. When I placed a
rag on the bottom of the pump, there was approximately a teaspoon of
clean oil. I searched under the unit to see if more had spewed out.
There was no other oil.
So, I did what
any sane person would do. Cried!!! This was such a blow...
Next, I dug out the paperwork for Katy. Troubleshooting indicated
that the seals in the high pressure pump do need to be replaced
after 1000 hours. Although I cannot document exactly how many hours
I have used this unit, 1000 is indeed possible over the past 5
The model number/details for Katy, my Katadyn40 watermaker:
could it possibly be to replace a
couple of seals inside a high-pressure pump?!?
The first sign that this
was not likely to be something I would want to tackle included the
detailed directions Katadyn provided. SIX PAGES of schematics,
diagrams and how-to's are intimidating, especially for a
novice such as myself. I would like to think I can do
anything, however this is fraught with places to make
mistakes. Thus I decided to hire an expert.
For those braver souls
than I, here is what needs to be done:
Nearby is *Depco Pump Company, well-regarded for their
pumps. I sought them out. Alas, they do not rebuild these watermaker pumps.
Pump Company, in Clearwater, FL 727-446-1656
The gent in charge of Marine Sales at Depco is Jim. He was kind enough to
send me current information on Katadyn. I did not think to ask if
Depco had a replacement pump available. That is a phone call
for this coming week.
This is the tube that holds the membrane that filters
out the salt to make fresh water for me:
North America Inc., 130 Cyber Court, Rocklin, CA 95765. Phone:
This week I will figure out how to get this pump working again. Now
that I have lived with a watermaker for all this time, I am really
anxious to have it again working for me. I had to haul out the hose
for the first time in months to fill my water tank. That was Awful!
The last time I had to use a
hose was during a red tide invasion. I told you about that in the
Red Tide and Forest Fires
After the hassle of filling my water tank with the
hose, Skipper and I took a nice long nap. We needed the rest.
I know, I am spoiled. Frankly I am so appreciative of Katy. She has
made a tremendous difference in my life. Now I cannot imagine
life without her. So, if you wonder what I shall be doing this week,
it will be seeking someone who can rebuild this pump.
If any of you have any recommendations, please comment or send me an
email@example.com Thank you!
the meantime, I have a few feathered friends relying on my supply of
The birds help to remind me of all that is good in
the world. These wild creatures trust me.
The white great egret, Charlie, will take hotdogs out of my hand
without biting my fingers.
Thank you for reading. And please, wish me luck in getting my Katy
back functioning. I need her!
Does anyone have any recommendations for my pump
This Katadyn40 is a 12-volt watermaker, which for my boat is ideal.
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