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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...

The day 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 water delivered.

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 used.

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.

When we 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...



Memory Lane: 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.



How 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 dinghy

  • 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 tank.

  • 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.


Katy the 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 years.

The model number/details for Katy, my Katadyn40 watermaker:



How hard 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.

*Depco 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:

Katadyn North America Inc., 130 Cyber Court, Rocklin, CA 95765. Phone: 800-755-6701

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 article.

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 at janice@janice142.com  Thank you!

In the meantime, I have a few feathered friends relying on my supply of hotdogs.

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 situation?
This Katadyn40 is a 12-volt watermaker, which for my boat is ideal.

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2022, 2023

Categories:  Anchorages, Boat Talk, Characters, Comfort, Gear, Locations, Memory Lane, Money, Pets, Wild Things,

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