Before we left for the Bahamas, we decided $4,000+ for a watermaker (desalinator) was out of our budget especially since we had to replace our roller furler. Catching water is just a matter of putting the maximum surface area to the task. Where do you get the most surface area? Use the entire deck! Most boats drain to a handful of scupper drains. If you clog the scupper drains with a hand towel when it rains, the water will pool on the deck. Most folks will choose to wait a few minutes (5 minutes or less) into the downpour before doing this to wash off the salt on the decks. Then, they plug the drains with a small towel or sponge. If you have deck fills right next to the scupper drains, then all the rain water will flow into your tank.
We installed a 30 gallon catchment tank in addition to our 70 gallon primary tank in case of any contamination. Nevertheless, some treatment with bleach and/or a high quality activated carbon filter before the drinking water tap should make the water good tasting and safe to drink.
When we were in the Bahamas, it hardly rained. What a tragedy! 🙂 Thus we did not really get to use the water catchment system much. Nevertheless, depending on the location and the season, water catchment could save a lot of money and time on the cruise of your dreams.
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